-the small portal paintings of Roddy Bell and Brian Catling
Roddy Bell (UK/N) and Brian Catling (UK) have been friends, working colleagues, and mutual sources of inspiration for over 35 years. They have worked together both in their respective roles as art educators and in their individual exhibition production but have never before collaborated in making an exhibition together
Brian Catling is a Royal Academician, former professor of sculpture at the Ruskin School of Fine Art, University of Oxford, and one of the foremost performance and installation artists in the UK. Catling is also a poet and author and has recently received international acclaim for his “Vorrh” trilogy. Roddy Bell is a former professor of drawing and form at The Norwegian University of Life Sciences and has a long national and international career working with installation, painting, video and performance.Over the last 10 years, both artists have been working with painting as a process for re-generating their ideas and exploring new conceptual standpoints. For various reasons, the time now seemed ripe to produce a collaborative show together. Each artist has produced a series of small paintings and related objects and theproject has been carried out through a process of mutual exchange. Using Skype meetings and face to face meetings, the artists have exchanged images and thoughts, instigating a reflective discourse which has provided the basis for the production of the show. Thematically, the works often have literary references; In addition to his authorship of the Vorrh trilogy, Catling has produced a series of books and performances exploring the boundaries of what is imaginable. In his paintings one can discern an atmosphere containing elements which seem to have grown out of this complex, lyrical and surreal universe.
Brian Catling – “St Christopher´s other story”. 30 x 30 cm. Egg tempera on panel. 2021
Bell´s paintings are also small with literary references, both historical and contemporary. His work is quietly subversive, exploring areas of spirituality and metaphysics. There is a balance between humor and an undermining sense of fright that requires several viewings to become apparent.
Both artists celebrate the enigmatic, using these small paintings as portals through which one might glimpse a sense their sense of wonder and belief in the power of the imagination.
Roddy Bell – “St. Jerome and the lion (after Master of Osservanza)” 27 x 22 cm. Acrylic on canvas. 2021
Brian Catling – “Visitation” 30 x 40 cm. Egg tempera on panel. 2020