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Critique:


'Heads'


Colin Park's Heads are imagined portraits entitled as that of young boy, or a woman, or simply referred to by number. Under and over life-size (some at least more than half-fill a two square metre of canvas) they grab you by the lapels.


Working with the three pigments, cadmium lemon, cadmium red and cobalt blue (plus a minimal flake white) he achieves passages of bright, pungent, largely saturated colour as bold as the shapes they create and inhibit; contrasting blacks are formed from the mix of the three primaries. All laid-in with a knife.


The painter acknowledges a debt to Francis Bacon: fair enough, but there is no pastiche and what comes to my mind is not Bacon but Paul Klee, specifically his 'Young Proletarian' and crossing the media, the photography of Paul Strand in 'Man, Five Point Square, New York' and 'Young Boy, Gondeville' and of Diane Arbus in 'A Woman with a pearl Necklace and Earrings'.


The pictorial structure is everywhere emphatic, demanding rather than entreating our attention, the portrait image imbedded in, as much as released by it, a structure compact in clearly defined shapes laid edge to edge in a manner of collage or explosive in lines which twist, turn and dart across the canvas. There is something with both of the primitive ritual mask, yet this is not primitivism, certainly not that of the Demoiselles or Avignon. These are people of our time, our world.


Amheim in his essay upon Picasso's Guernica 1962 argued that....'the artist's knowledge of the world being threatened by atomic destruction, may reflect itself in his way of conceiving a human figure or a landscape'.


We will do well to take this on board in our response to Colin Park's 'Heads'.


Martin Baillie - Art Critic, Glasgow Herald.

 

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