The British landscape can be a place of rapturous beauty, bleak majesty and occasionally supernatural mystery. Catto has travelled across meadows, moors and mountains to bring together some of today’s finest landscape work.
These breathtaking landscapes, full of atmospheric light and colour, confidently celebrate our relationship with the environment and its mystery and ambivalence.
Haydn Cottam's paintings often depict landscapes, which come from the experience of walking or cycling. The more recent work has an intimate feel and sometimes implied narrative created through atmospheric light, a sense of foreboding or contemplation. Scenes bear a silent witness to an event, which the viewer can direct. This may also be a formal construct, which pays tribute to the landscape that he has either journeyed through or delighted in.
The landscape paintings of the Scottish Highlands and South Wales have the graphic device of boxes or windows within the picture plain. These are the attempt to visualise the notion of looking at landscape with all our received wisdom, whilst acknowledging the distance which modern life places on that experience, despite the close proximity of the elemental force of nature.
After graduating from St. Martins College of Art in the 80s and having worked and exhibited with painters such as Gavin Lockheart and Peter Doig in both California and London, Haydn concentrated on figurative work. In 1990 he was commended in the BP Portrait Award and in 1991 followed this success with winning the BP Travel Award. In 1995 he was the winner of The Carole Foundation at the Mall Galleries in London. The move from figure painting to landscape was gradual and reflects a general desire to be near open spaces and away from the urban environment.
Haydn takes the purity of these fugitive moments and re-tells them through the slow and meditative process of painting.
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