In a time in our kingdom's history, when the sense of Scotland as a place has been heightened to such extremes of awareness amongst its inhabitants, it is perhaps right that it falls to that country's artists to offer a much needed temporal perspective. A reminder to those currently so furiously contesting its future that long after humanity and its selfish preoccupations have returned to dust what will remain is the land. A land of great sweeping contours, layers of rock deposited by geological events that have moulded and scarred the physical landscape over millennia, to arrive at the great natural beauty that is modern Scotland. Beyond the land of myth and legend so regularly embalmed by Hollywood is a landscape in flux, persistently recoloured by each season and under perpetual assault by the elements. Beneath these kaleidoscopic variations the landscape has remained a constant, something dependable and durable for generations of Scots, none more so than Chris Bushe.
Coming of age in rural Aberdeenshire Chris responded artistically to his surroundings from his earliest years. Although his fascination with the history of the place led him to read archaeology and ancient history at Edinburgh, his passion for painting the landscape eventually won out and in the early 1980s he attended Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen. Robbie Bushe, his younger brother and a fellow painter has written movingly of Chris' determination to plough his own furrow at Gray's, contrary to the prevailing vogue for conceptualism. In the ensuing years Chris has worked hard to remain true to his original vision and today much of his painting experience remains as a solitary figure, face and easel to the wind on some of Scotland’s remotest shorelines.
Few painters today display such a raw connection to their environment, his feeling for the landscape is intense to the point of visceral and his handling of the paint, particularly in his larger works is more akin to a potter working clay than an academic easel painter. The sheer relish that he conveys in this very physical process is evident in his distinctive paint surfaces. He churns and blends a thickly textured icing of oil pigment that seems to invite the viewer to indulge more than their visual sense - more often than not a client's first instinct is to reach out and touch the paint surface, an instinctive desire to completely engage with the work.
It is a credit to Chris’s integrity and maturity as a painter that, in a world where otherwise conceptual art continues to hold sway, he continues to draw such a strong and consistent following amongst serious collectors.
11 June - 26 June 2015
Panter & Hall
11-12 Pall Mall
Monday to Friday
10.00 AM - 6.00 PM
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
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