THOMAS GILLANT










When the weather is indecisive, subtle shades of grey blend with more vivid tones in the sky. A sudden shift in the atmosphere, and a shaft of light breaks through the fading veil of the clouds, slashing them like a giant brush. Settling under those skies, this series of paintings explores the possibilities of working with multiple layers of oil paint, and exploits the tension created between colour gradients and brush marks.

Inspired by the idiom “every cloud has a silver lining”, these abstract paintings are experiments resulting from happy, and sometimes unhappy, accidents, attempting to take advantage of the outcomes. Emulating the process of working with image editing software, layers of acrylic paint form the foundation for subsequent layers of oil paint, altered by scrapers and brushes to reveal the silver linings of each canvas.

This influence of the digital on the analogue creative process is present in the earliest stages: sketches on paper are scanned to make colour variations on a computer, then transferred onto canvas with brushes, rollers and spray guns. And so we see expressive gestural strokes contrasting with aspects that resemble the aesthetics of CGI: the blurriness of lo-res JPEGS, pixellation, and colour gradients.

While the surface remains mostly flat, like a screen, the use of gradients gives dimension to the space. Here a line glows like a neon tube and advances; there a light emerges burning like a flare... Similarly, passages of colour create a sense of depth: iridescent paints illuminate the muddy tones, whereas vivid colours are muted by darkish fogs. Blunt flatness and artificial depth are in constant dialogue. Titles such as ‘Shimmers on an electric pole at night’ and ‘Haze of hot and cold hues’ encapsulate the analogies between natural phenomena and painting experiments.

Text edited by Paul Rowland