Ahead of the exhibition opening for Under A Raw Sky by Richard Whadcock we would like to share a glimpse of the artist's philosophy in the form of an interview. We look forward to seeing you at the exhibition and please contact the gallery for information on 'meet the artist' events throughout.
Northcote Gallery 2017
Talk us through your ideal Sunday?
An ideal Sunday. I think I have only just discovered Sundays. Sundays never have the usual dread of going to work on a Monday. Now they revolve around good coffee, a walk on the Downs (usually taking photographs so still 'working') Broken up with a pub lunch and a wine.
Tasting The Winds
What role do you think art plays in our daily lives?
Name an emotion and that's a role it should play.
Where is your favourite place in the world to be?
Hard to answer when you haven't been to many places but Ballinskelligs, Kerry has to be up there and will always be a pivotal place. After a trip to Lagos, Portugal, the warmth (and coffee) attracted. Italy provided a backdrop that was tentatively explored but offered so much to go back to.
Do you have any quirky habits when you‘re working in your studio?
I'm sure I have but it usually takes someone else to point them out to you. Still waiting.....
When did you first see yourself as an artist and what changes have you seen?
I don't think I ever saw myself as an artist. I had aimed to be an architect but realised, in time thankfully, I had no interest in architecture as such. An arts Foundation course and especially a tutor on my BA course opened up a whole new side to art that I never new existed. That was when I was introduced to work by Cy Twombly and the American Abstract Expressionists with the timeline running from Turner and Monet. This has turned out to be fairly timely now with the exhibition on at the Royal Academy. Is it a connection that viewers would often see with my work if asked?
Hollow Lined Place
Why are you drawn to landscapes and what areas inspire you the most?
Well as far as inspiration is concerned, I have the South Downs on the studio doorstep to provide as much inspiration that one could want. Even closer the industrial seafront along through Portslade, Southwick and Shoreham. The east side of the Downs had been my stomping ground for many a year but now West of the Downs offers new possibilities. A drive along the industrial shore line can make a stunning backdrop for early morning or late Sunset. Within ten minutes, you are out of Brighton and on the Downs. The Downs are more of a rolling landscape, not craggy or rough.They are however subject to the distortions of coastal weather fronts sweeping inland and leaving their mark. If you walk along the ridge of the Downs through places such as Ditchling Beacon or Devils Dyke, you find yourself above the landscape almost and feel as if amongst the weather. From here scale can be ambiguous and transforms the landscape into an amorphous arena. What you think is there one minute is swallowed up in long, deep shadow or burnt out in the glaring sun. It’s enveloped and muffled in an early mist or battered by an incoming front. It creates what are in essence marks, lines and shapes that are constantly moving and shifting. These conditions are what inform my work. The landscape needs to be broken down into its basic components that will express its evolutions. These aren't stationary moments though.
Do you work from memory and imagination or photographs you have taken?
It isn't very often that I paint onsite. Most of the time, I walk around with a camera. These only act as memory aids as we don't see the landscape like a camera does (or I choose not to) - all in focus for a split second. The photographs serve as a starting point for some of the paintings which in turn develop in their own direction and leave the snapshot behind. So it isn't painting from a photograph, they are just pointers, something you can keep referencing as a piece develops. I suppose this is where you could say the images are abstracted, although I'm not entirely sure that would be accurate either. This cross over point in my work was only highlighted more to me with a recent visit to the American Abstract Expressionists show at the Royal Academy. They have always been a big influence on my work from very early on. I look at the scale of their work, colour fields, mark making and presence in front of the viewer. Their paintings move and hold an energy that is brought in from the outside. Trying to capture something by painting onsite is not a factor. There is no point in painting on the spot to capture something that is already escaping you. I think it should be less about speed and more about building momentum that drives the painting, during the initial stages at least. I have likened elements; tree lines, footpaths, valleys, fences in the landscape to marks; marks that have evolved and not been planned. This is to a certain degree how the marks, shapes and imagery should develop in the painting. To organically develop around a frame work of the memory you hold. Learned intuition.
Finally, do you have a life philosophy?
Life philosophy: Treat everyone as you would wish to be treated yourself as life's too short for any other crap!