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Mark Kermode on Paul Wadsworth

May 26, 2017 - Mark Kermode

A Paul Wadsworth painting hangs in our living room – a shard of sunlight leaping up from a Cornish moor, a bright streak of yellow bursting from an earthy Celtic landscape. The painting changes during the day; as the light shifts around it the image seems to dance, a bold swathe of dark green coming in and out of focus, the clouds in the sky billowing and rearranging. Sometimes I can see figures moving along the ridgeway at the point where the land meets the sky. At other times, I just see an explosion of colour.

The paintings which emerge from Paul’s time in India amplify that sense of colour leaping from the canvas - the rich textures of verdant foliage, the humid warmth of the air, the dripping fullness of the trees. Water is a recurrent element, reflecting and intensifying the life which throngs through the paintings. And just as these images are vibrant with adventure and personal narrative, so they are peopled with figures who emerge from the landscape to tell their own stories; working, walking, worshipping, dancing. At times the paintings burst the confines of their own canvasses, affixed to larger boards which allow them to continue expanding, shrines at the centre of a world which is fruitful and multiplying.

There is nothing ‘touristy’ here; this is the work of someone who has immersed himself in these landscapes, succumbed to them, become intoxicated by them. They are overwhelmingly positive and life-affirming. A painting of trees over water shimmers and shifts, the colours constantly rearranging themselves, reflections moving as if still fluid. I think that’s what I love most about Paul’s work – the sense that each painting is still growing, still evolving, still finding its own story. I could look at them for hours, days, years. I am sure you will feel the same.

 

Mark Kermode


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