On this wonderful day right at the beginning of the new year – but more importantly at the start of the life of a beloved newborn (!) – we will begin our writings in 2016 with a great find of some months ago. With a newfound introspective focus on what really inspires us, rather then just sharing those projects which are universally considered to be relevant or influential, we turn to the art of painting once more. British artist Kes Richardson started figurative, but for some years now has moved all the way beyond most familiar shapes into the geometric abstract, through which he really caught our attention when we discovered his incredible ‘Garden Paintings’ series, which was presented to the public by London-based Fold Gallery in 2013.
In the series Richardson took formal garden design as a starting point, having created a series of large paintings with a central geometric motif subjected to varying levels of erasure, repetition and concealment. For the artist, formal gardens represent a miniaturization of nature as an attempt to contain and confine the Burkean Sublime. He sees parallels with man’s impotent desire to tame and control nature and the attempts to mimic it throughout the history of painting.
The sharp geometric shapes to be found in his most recent works have hints to street and maybe even pop art (the cherry shapes/silhouettes), but modernism clearly prevails as the most recognizable relating theme to be observed in his canvasses. Although, contrary to the rather strict stylistic preconditions of the movement, Richardson’s colorful shapes and patterns are always free, applied in a confident and nonchalant manner. Moving his paintings beyond the rules of the grid, showing a distinct contemporary and most of all very exciting aesthetic.
Richardson’s paintings sit somewhere between the spiritual and the corporeal. Their means of construction is laid bare without technical trickery, a process of scaling-up small drawings with detached paint application. The resulting works brazenly reveal their simplicity and dumbness yet also evoke quietude and reflection.
Kes Richardson graduated from Bath Spa University College with a BA with Honors in Fine Art in 1998. In the years that followed he became an internationally successful artist, having been featured heavily in both British and international press. In these earlier years Richardson’s work was featured in magazines like GQ, The Face, Design Week, Metro and the Evening Standard, amongst other publications.
Although his work had been exhibited in galleries mostly based in London, when his aesthetic focus shifted towards the abstract work we particularly love, he found representation in the Fold Gallery, which was marked with his very first solo exhibition ever in 2013, followed by several group exhibitions in the London-based Gallery in the two years that followed his solo debut. He also showed as part of group exhibitions at Frontviews Temporary in Berlin and Horatio Junior in London in 2015. With hopefully more to come in the years to come.
All images courtesy of FOLD Gallery and the artist.
For more information and work by Kes Richardson see here