3 – 26 June 2023


“A couple of years ago I started to change my painting habits.  Not a huge change – still the same concerns and subject matter, the same palette – but a reassessment of how I go about this interest.  Like a lot of us post covid I had given myself permission to be less “productive” in a measurable sense.  Less productive but more engaged – these works are me trying to get to grips with that concept.

Firstly I changed the scale of my works, or more precisely ceased doing large scale works.  My last show here I had to hire a trailer to transport the works from my home.  This time around the whole show will fit in the car.  For me a large work was around two metres on the longest side.  Not huge by painting standards, but in my tiny bedroom studio, pretty big.  Of course they shrink when the get to the gallery.  In my head I was having thoughts around why we think large/expensive works are somehow more important or worthy than smaller intimate works.  As a painter there is the challenge of getting to grips with large paintings, but I was thinking solely in terms of that tetchy boarder where creativity and commerce meet.

Secondly, and partly because of the first change, I only worked on one painting at a time.  Once a work was started it remained my sole focus until it was complete.  Don’t ask me what “complete” means.  I have no idea.  If the painting was not working, or I didn’t know where to go with it, I didn’t put it aside to do a different work.   The work would simply sit and wait.  I’d look at it every day, before or after work, maybe adjust parts here and there, and wait.  I think I was trying to mirror nature and time.  Not a lot happens a lot of the time.  Then something does.  Then nothing happens again.  Although the nothing is something – just on a slower timescale.  I am aware that a lot of this thinking might well be simply aging – taking stock, sorting priorities, a kind of mid-life artists’ crises.  But my guess is that I am simply refining what I am on about, which is what I’ve always been trying to achieve.”

– Brent Forbes 


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