Searching for Meaning and a Sense of Place
Exhibition Catalogue for Solo Show May 2019 Contents Biography Searching for Meaning and a Sense of Place Narrative and Memory
Recent Work 2018-2019
Biography Born in Germany to army parents, Ronnie initially studied under the Scottish colourist, John Nelson, at the newly opened Stevenson College in Edinburgh. Living in garrison towns in both England and Germany, summers were spent in Berlin with his German family and while negotiating the impact of both a divided Germany and the Berlin wall, he developed a taste for modernism and an understanding of place: admiring the work of the architects Hans Scharoun and Mies van der Rohe as well as the art of Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline.
Moving to Dundee he studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design before graduating with degrees in Architecture from Dundee University.
After working with the internationally acclaimed architects Percy Thomas Partnership in Bristol and winning accolades for his public sector projects he set up CODA Architects, where he was able to explore themes that would also inform his Art: intellectually generated, poetically inspired and reflecting the â€™genius Loci â€˜ of a place.
Wining numerous architectural awards at CODA, Ronnie maintained his passion for painting by incorporating art wherever possible in his projects and by creating abstract paintings rooted by an architect's understanding of place and the importance of line to explore identity through memory and the human need to tell stories.
Now working full time from his Bristol based studio he works directly on the canvas; a work emerges, which is then followed and shaped: line is the prime signifier with a focus on the paint. Canvas is often left untouched, sometimes to crowd the paint, sometimes left as vestigial space to allow the paint space to breathe, from a belief that what is not said also has value.
Searching for Meaning and a Sense of Place. Topography is an essential definer of natural and manmade places-the genius loci.
Although the three physical dimensions lock us into a place , the addition of time and information enable us to develop meaning:
creating new associations
allowing a new understanding
Marking marks help us explore the roots of our being and enables new layers of meaning.
Narrative and Memory Narrative is perfected by retelling to develop new layers of understanding.
Memory works this wayâ€”it is only what you choose it to be:
It is a truth wrapped up layers of emotion and self-deception:
This is where art lies.
Recent work 2018-2019 ...and a few older ones
Solitude Acrylic on canvas 1000 x 1000
All memory is filtered by subsequent events to the point that others may not recognise the alternate reality that has been created. In re-telling a story events are added, distorted and modified to suit both audience and teller. These works explore the disparity between what was and what was remembered. Figurative landscape elements that create a notion of place merge with fixed points and specific memories to create a single abstract expression.
Mynydd Du Acrylic on canvas 1000 x 1000
Canvas is left unpainted either as vestigial space to allow the subject to breathe or from a belief that what isn't said also has value; the canvas merely records a fleeting moment.
Fracture Acrylic on canvas 1000 x 1000
These recent works are part of a series based on my memories of Berlin during the late 60â€™s when, as a child, I would spend summers visiting my German grandparents and have to pass through a series of checkpoints run by the occupying troops, the first to enter East German, the second to enter Berlin . The Russian checkpoints were always the most difficult to negotiate, setting up the backdrop to weeks of contrasts: blissfulness in an environment of enforced isolation and division,
Bible Black Acrylic on canvas 1000 x 1000
with days spent negotiating the impact of both a divided Germany and the omnipresent effect of the Berlin Wall. Although the embrace of family and community was strong ,these visits were permeated by much that was left unsaid,
Red Acrylic on canvas 1000 x 1000
stories told in a foreign language with much that I didn't want to know,
Red nr 2 Acrylic on canvas 1000 x 1000
places where access was recently denied.
Division Acrylic on canvas 1000 x 1000
While listening to radio free berlin, I preferred an imagined reality,
Interzone Acrylic on canvas 300 x 400
a reality based on incomplete memories,
Starless Acrylic on canvas 1500 x 1000
and partial truth,
Homeland Acrylic on canvas 1500 x 1000
achieving a form of reconciliation only by leaving.
Triptych Acrylic and oil on canvas 3 x 280 x 350
Black and Black on White: three different versions to create a single work. I used the ultra black paint, Black 2.0 from Stuart Semple, in these paintings. It really is very black and very matt and sets up a play on blackness. Stuart developed this paint in response to Anish Kapoorâ€™s appropriation of the world rights to use Vanta black (the blackest paint ever made) solely for his own use.