Andrew Cranston, Wilkinson Gallery, March 2017

Andrew Cranston

‘If I were a carpenter and other stories’


What did I like?

  • Interesting use of structure to create tension within the painterly areas. E.g. the ‘interiors’ depicted were all accurately represented, bringing in lines for flooring, or squares for tiles etc.
  • There was a finesse to Cranston’s work. His process, particularly the work using varnish, was exquisite. I felt in awe of his method of work and the effects he creates.
  • The potency of the energy of the work. For example, ‘The Sadness of Being Scott’ was deeply moving. The title provokes a level of understanding that changes one’s perception from a boy diving down underwater to that of seeing a boy that is lonely, trying to escape or even perhaps contemplating suicide. The weight of these reflections are then balanced with the absolute beauty of the painting and the varnishing techniques. The grid like structure of the swimming pool creates that tension juxtaposing the almost impressionist figures and sky. Tonally it is all blue – is that a choice to reflect sadness?
  • All the titles were interesting/intriguing/engaging – made me think further about noting ideas for titles myself so I have a resource/starting point for naming my own work.
  • Tension points therefore are:- sadness vs beauty, structure vs painterly qualities, colour palette choices

What didn’t I like?

  • I struggled with some of the colour palette choices, they felt jarring and texturally overwhelming (like the piece ‘Hurtigruten’). I couldn’t understand why I found the colour so challenging, I almost felt repulsion or aversion when looking at a couple of pieces – which was obviously unexpected and I, therefore, assumed this was part of the intention of the artist, that this was an integral part of the experience of the work.

I was particularly interested by the description of Cranston’s work as below because again, it is the evolution of forms and themes evolving from a sub-conscious place that intrigue and inspire me and give me another point of exploration for my own process.

‘His work is not pre-conceived but emerges through the manipulation of materials – paint, varnish, collage – and suggestions that this activity provokes, layering and re-working the images until something essential coalesces. Drifting between the conscious and unconscious – images that are encouraged to surface are sometimes taboo; sex and solitude, death, nightmares – the ultimate questions, not without a sly humour’.




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