Galleries Magazine, April 1998
||It is a brave and tenacious artist who deliberately paints the landscape
in the late 20th Century and still wishes to be considered a 'modern'.
Why, in a world filled with ethnic cleansing, religious bigotry and
looming environmental disaster, paint the landscape? And how? It can
and has, been done - Sidney Nolan and Peter Lanyon for starters. Nonetheless
the critical anxiety surrounding the subject must go some way to explaining
why an artist like Alan Rankle, now into his 40s and painting landscapes
so eloquently and unmistakably of our own time, is still not much
better known than he is.
It is not for want of trying on his part; his published exhibition
catalogues and writings of the last fifteen years or so confirm
his own clear understanding of what he is aiming to do as well as
containing some weighty critical contributions from other writers.
But there is nothing, as yet, from the critical world at large,
that shows any real signs of recognition for the contemporary character
of his achievement.
My instinct is that, both as a painter and writer, he really needs
to forget all about that and focus instead, even closer and tighter,
on those particular qualities in the work itself that make the best
of the paintings on show here, paintings like Study after Claude
Lorrain 1 and Journey of the City III for example, such memorable
images. In them his intuitive passions and natural gifts as a painter
weld all his intellectual, philosophical and artistic concerns,
which range from Chinese painting and the Tai Chi to the English
landscape tradition, and much else besides, into paintings which,
in their obvious love of the wild places of the world and of the
spirit, render discussions about Post-Modernism, Conceptualism and
so on, so much art-historical chatter. Danielle Arnaud is showing
Alan Rankle's landscapes at Clink Wharf from April 3rd to the 26th