Our guest artist this month is Phil Naylor, who is exhibiting an exciting series of monotypes, drawings and etchings. These works, some of which were exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer exhibition earlier this year, reconstruct the landscape with contour lines, geological references and artifacts.
Stratamatic is a collection of works from a period of drawing and printmaking, exploring specific landscapes, and repetitive or ‘automatic’ methods of production. The intention is to re-present visions of natural or man-made environments through a range of adopted marks and motifs, to create equivalents for a particular terrain, in effect translations of the landscape. Whether responding to sparsely developed rural uplands or suburban settlements, my practice is to find common structures, repeated elements, patterns and matrices that can be discerned over a rock-strewn plateau as well as the roofscapes of an urban hinterland.
The distinctive qualities of these works are partly formed by the environments I walk, edgelands, urban marginals, rural settlements, post-industrial zones where archaeology lies on the surface, limestone pavements, heat-formed granite uplands, heathland, moorland and the coastal fringes. I look for sparse areas with ambiguities of scale, places that raise questions about spatial perception and our relationship with open spaces, reclaimed and re-lost marginal land where struggles with nature take place, rocky and reluctant landscapes, eroded areas showing their underlying histories.
In the studio my approach is deliberately speculative. As a printmaker I have always allowed the process to flavour my ideas, and although most of my projects start with observational work in drawing books, in many cases the process I use will modify my intentions, often adding something, sometimes beauty, sometimes discord, sometimes magic. In these works I have adopted formulaic approaches, repeating dotted and sometimes continuous lines across a surface, and in some cases painstakingly inserting different components into the gaps, forming an illusory space strewn with data. This use of close linework to create illusions of space harks back to steel engravings of the 19th century, and my interest in the Rocky Landscape as a subject for development comes loaded with symbolism not lost on me in studying the early etchings of Hercules Seghers in the British Museum. I am borrowing a range of different languages here.
Whether through silkscreen, monotype, etching or drawing, in Stratamatic I am asking the process to give me visual equivalents, coaxing new realities from traditional methods. Philip Naylor, 2011
Phil Naylor is Senior Lecturer at University College Falmouth, Programme Leader Foundation and Award Leader BA Drawing. He studied under Tim Mara as a postgraduate at Chelsea School of Art, and has exhibited widely nationally and internationally. The exhibition continues until October 1st. Please contact the gallery for further information.