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Chris is an artist whose professional creative career has taken him from commercial design and art direction to free and personal exploration in painting. For years he has been eager to return to a more liberated form of creative expression which began with a First-class BA Hons Fine Art Painting decades earlier. His return to the brush fills him with a lucky dip of excitement, relief, trepidation and anticipation of the possibilities. For Chris, painting is innate, an intuitive reaction to a deep and indescribable compulsion – compelling him to interpret and articulate feelings, thoughts, observations and ideas through abstract expression. 

 

Chris' approach to painting merges spontaneous automatism with deliberate gestural abstraction. Through a balance of conscious intention and unconscious instinctiveness, he aims to build a connection between process, materiality and surface which is both impulsive and intuitive. 

Born in England in 1975, Chris moved to Australia with his partner Angie in 1999 – where they now share a life, a creative business, and a much-loved daughter with their sheepadoodle, Peggy Puggenheim, 

 

His studio is an inspiring light-filled space in the Inner West of Sydney, Australia.

THOUGHT PROCESS

The following paragraphs are Chris' current thoughts regarding process and will inevitably evolve alongside the work.

 

"The paintings are built on bursts of painterly gestures often sparked by thoughts of landscapes, seascapes – remembered, seen or imagined – or a lyric heard and scratched across the surface. Although looking to avoid representational content, landscapes become an inevitable reaction but remain abstracted and seek to reach further than it's place in my memory or experience. 

 

Each piece is a stepping stone to the next, with the experience of making dragged between works. Although I do not set out to create a given series of works, jumping between surfaces and returning to previous artworks to input new discoveries allows the paintings to have a visual conversation with each other. It's important for me not to overwhelm this process with logic and to set myself apart from the work to allow each piece to complete itself. 

 

Returning to painting after a sizeable hiatus has been both necessary and deeply fulfilling. The time away has given the process energy, which undoubtedly comes from life experienced, urgency and the need to uncoil from life's unnecessaries. When putting aside the vector tools of a commercial creative career, I must reject hesitancy and maintain the contradiction between order and flux, direction and spontaneity, perfection and acceptance. Over time, I aim to see the fierce urgency to act replaced with an openness and freedom of energy. Years of unnecessary overconsumption of manufactured clutter must be stripped away and replenished with a deeper reality and truer manifestations. 

 

In the same way I found myself in Australia, my painting practice is a wanderlust. The adventure this time comes from not knowing the destination, just a deep sense of direction and a certainty that there will be conflict and revelation along the way. Perhaps the only certainty is that the act of painting – my mode of transport – becomes better at navigation, handling surfaces and materials – adapting confidently to the terrain and allowing myself to grow as a painter and a human."

NEAP 2023 Finalist Exhibition

Michael Reid Art Bar, Sydney  Oct 2023

Riverside Centre, Brisbane  Nov 2023

EDUCATION

Southampton Institute of Higher Education

1995 – 1998

BA (Hons) Fine Art – First Class Honours

Epping Forest College

1994 – 1995

BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies Art and Design

Pass with distinction

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