ARTISTIC INSIGHT – RAPHAEL BARRATT
These three large oil pastel drawings, completed in May this year, stand at an important juncture in my life and work.
A puzzling sense of weight and of nascent, shifting landscapes is a fundamental element in these pieces. The high perspective and organic forms where developed from my observations and memories of the steep rocky hills and deep valleys surrounding the Iron Age hill fort and strawberry farm where I grew up in Kent. Although the relationship to nature is a very important part of my work, the drawings are not reflections upon an idyll, but rather explore the tensions of a familiar landscape bisected by human interventions; a motorway, burnt and oily fields, or agricultural structures that, nevertheless, retain something like quiet nostalgia and tender memory. The drawings shift through different times of day: early morning, deep night, or hot afternoon.
They involve both the private internal landscapes of my imagination and the collectively understood landscapes of certain paintings. I paid close attention to the compositional, colour and narrative techniques of early renascence painters such as Piero della Francesca and Giovanni Bellini. The third drawing in the series, Landscape Portrait is directly influenced by Piero della Francesca’s double portrait The Duke and Duchess of Urbino. I was also very affected by the tilted perspective and deep, flat spaces in the work of De Chirico. The line between narrative and non-narrative also dips into this work. It seemed to me that all three paintings could resemble scenes from mythical, biblical or even Indian Mughal Miniature painting, in which the figures have got up and walked out, leaving behind a strange stylised landscape, the scene of their narratives. I also have found that although these drawings where produced at the very end of my three year degree, they bring no closure whatsoever, but rather pose more questions.
I am currently doing a drawing postgraduate course at The Royal Drawing School in order to nurture my interest in drawing and expand upon my ambitions.
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