Friday, 2 November 2012

Alex Gough Erämaa Exhibition

Alex Gough is a talented Finnish/British painter whose work has previously brought me to tears.

I first came across Alex through a good friend who's been following his progress for some time. A couple of years ago, she took me to his exhibition at Orion Contemporary Gallery in St James's in London. One look at Alex's paintings depicting the blue hour (the time between dusk and complete darkness) in Finnish Lapland, and I felt a lump in my throat. I'd just returned from a skiing trip to Ylläs at the time, and the landscape had made me so homesick that looking at the excellent way Alex had captured the essence of the place and time made my eyes well up. (Even now gazing at the image of Polku, which means 'Path' in English, I have to fight back the tears)

OIl Acrylic and Indian Ink on Canvas. 35x65cm. 2009
Alex Gough
Last night's private preview showed how Alex has developed as an artist (and here I must admit to being in no way an expert at art - I'll have to refer you to History-of-Art-student Daughter for that). Instead of painting the actual landscape, Alex has taken a completely abstract route and shows us instead the feel of nature. He wants his work to reflect back to us, so that we experience optical illusions and a deeper sense of landscape.

His methods are varied, he makes his own acrylic colours, and then pours them, mixes them, dabs them and 'lets the chemicals react with the canvas'. In his largest piece, a painting which filled most of one wall at the exhibition, turquoise and deep black is combined with white and all shades in between.

No.17.  180x245cm

Cobalt Turquoise, Spinel Black pigment, acrylic binder, gesso, gouache canvas.
Alex Gough
But my eyes were drawn to a smaller piece which to me, under the excellent lighting of the gallery, looked salmon pink, but which Alex said was actually orange. Here, and in all the other smaller pieces, the canvas was covered with a fine nylon netting, allowing the colours to shift and shine. At the left hand corner, the artists had placed a matt spot of turquoise, which draws the eye and in a pleasurable way distracts and disturbs the movement of the painting. He'd also painted on top of the netting, giving the work even more depth.

No.15. 78x110cm
Irgazine Orange, Cobalt Turquoise pigment,
acrylic binder, gesso, gouache canvas and polyester.
Alex Gough 2012
I must also say how wonderful it was to hear Alex speak Finnish. He was born in the UK but has the fluency of a native speaker. Some feat with a difficult language like ours!

Me with the Artist last night.
Do go and see Alex Gough's excellent exhibition, if you are anywhere near London before the 11 November 2012.

****Extended to 21 November*** 
10 Georgian House
10 Bury Street
St James's
London SW1Y 2AA
By appoinment only


Imogen said...

By damn, those are gorgeous!

Helena Halme said...

Aren't they! You must go and see the canvases, they are even better in real life.

Anonymous said...

They are truly fantastic and the way they were
lit at the gallery almost made them shimmer, just magical!
The pictures do not do them justice, you really have to go and see them if you possibly can.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Helena for coming and this excellent response!

Anyone wishing to come on Sunday, just email me, I'll be there all afternoon.

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