"The mysteries and beauties of oil paint take quite a bit of coaxing to reveal themselves. Luckily for me, I know they exist." So says Julian Vilarrubi – whose latest bout of painterly 'foraging' is revealed in a superb collection of new works for Catto Gallery.
These landscape paintings are a delight. They are wonderfully ambiguous – somewhere between representative and abstract, flat and multi-dimensional. And the same goes for the colours – which are occasionally realistic, but can also be exaggerated as if from some 1950s technicolour movie.
This 'in between' effect is fine by Julian, who adds that the way he paints contributes to the ambiguity. He says: "I make drawings and colour studies on-site and create the work back in the studio. This means memory becomes a more significant aspect than the strictly observational...somewhere in between the drawings, the studies and the memories lies the point of it all. To get to that and express it is the challenge."
While Julian is traditional in his love of oil and his desire to work in the locations he selects, he is also willing to explore any technique that gets him closer to the desired effect. This explains his enthusiasm for the iPad. Indeed Julian now uses the tablet as his principal drawing tool. He even published a book on the subject in June 2018.
Julian's curiosity and talent has helped to make him one of the UK's most celebrated landscape painters. He has a degree in Fine Art from Newcastle University, and studied at the Royal Academy Schools where he won the Richard Ford Award. Today, Julian's works are included in the collections of Leeds City Council, TSB Group London Citibank, The National Trust and in private collections across Europe and the USA.
He currently lives in Brighton where he works in his studio, undertakes commissions and teaches drawing and painting.
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