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'If I Could Say it in Words'

Richard Best

Alan Rankle : Further Tales from the Beach House at The Blackshed Gallery Robertsbridge, UK
5th April - 17th May 2014
 

Against the ebony walls of the blackShed Gallery Alan Rankle’s gold leaf and oil experimentations are bold and dramatic. The reflective quality of the gold intensifies the presence of the work while individuality and depth are obtained by the canvases continuous chemical erosion. Rankle’s long running series, Further Tales From The Beach House (1995-), was borne from his stay at Pett Level. Surrounded by views of cliffs and beaches the artist was struck by the rapid erosion of the rocky landscape jutting in to the English Channel. Weather beaten and helpless against an ever-worsening climatic environment, large sections of the south coast fall into the sea lost forever and eventually forgotten. The golden surfaces of the canvases on show are pitted and scuffed, corroding under a constant state of chemical effect. Dark cliffs are painted directly onto the gilded surface in a style reminiscent of 19th century sepia landscapes. The gold is then subjected to a controlled wash of sodium hypochlorite producing an instant chemical erosion, verdigris colouring and sedimentary deposit. The pieces are literally mirroring the environmental weathering process visible in the subject; organically developing through the passing of time, ever decaying, ever dulling, the gold has a life span to match our coast line. Way beyond our own but present as a conscious reality.

The show of Further Tales… is accompanied by an untitled collection of landscapes evolved from work created in collaboration with Kirsten Reynolds: traditional landscape elements are haloed by fluid abstract movements and painterly accidents.  This fusion of natural form and expressionistic freedom create a contemporary romanticism that is visually captivating whilst conceptually exploring the ethereal quality and temporary condition of our environment. The paintings tell of nature’s constant organic self preservation against mans’ unintentional yet evident destructive presence. Alan Rankle’s latest offering presents an enchanting description of a world in infinite decay; the canvases are both conceptually poignant and visually striking 
 

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