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Nick Samsworth, Dominic Samsworth
Until 15 July 2012
Down Stairs, Great Brampton House, Madley, Herefordshire, HR2 9NA
Friday-Sunday 10 a.m. –5 p.m. or by appointment
‘WE ONE ARE TWO’ brings together recent work by Herefordshire-based artist Nick Samsworth, and his son, the Glasgow-based artist Dominic Samsworth. While Nick’s large abstract paintings draw on the elemental forces of nature, Dominic engages with the urban environment, using found materials to make paintings and sculpture. His work will be made partly in response to Nick’s paintings. This is the first exhibition the two have had together.
Nick Samsworth is showing a series of paintings triggered by an emotionally-painful period in his life. The illness and subsequent death of his father required frequent visits to his parental home in the coastal town of Herne Bay, Kent, where he grew up. During this time, the sea became a powerful source of meditation and solace for the artist. The scale and ambition of the paintings, was encouraged by the opportunity offered by the opening of Down Stairs, on Nick’s doorstep in Herefordshire.
The sea is a recurring metaphorical motif. Light, space, colour, and the natural elements are fundamental to Samsworth’s work, and he cites Turner, also from the North Kent coast, as the artist with whom he has greatest affinity. Other influences range from Caspar David Friedrich, to Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell and Cy Twombly. Rhythm as a metaphor underpins and is intrinsic to the work. Fluid lines are scored into the gesso followed by layers of transparent paint that are washed over the surface.
Representing a very personal trajectory, and at the same time reflecting on the inner and the outer world, this body of work deals variously with themes of melancholia, mortality, movement from darkness to light, and rebirth and renewal.
By contrast, Dominic Samsworth looks to the urban environment for his inspiration, finding resonance in what is derelict or abandoned. He works predominantly with found materials, using what he finds on the streets in and around Glasgow to make paintings, assemblages and sculptural interventions, informed by the visual language of architecture, street furniture, refuse and graffiti of the inner city.
The whole process, from finding and transporting the raw materials to responding to the site where they are found, shapes and informs the work and is intrinsic to the finished piece. In this way, the artist aims to question ideas about value and ownership, gesturing toward something lesser, more fragile and impermanent. Together, the exhibition is a conversation of sorts between father and son, and from one generation of artists to the next.
Says Dom: ‘I have seen Nick’s art change over the years – and how closely events have shaped periods of production and series of work. This most recent body of work is a particularly important and personal one. The combination of the two bodies or generations of work will show the importance and value of learning from a generation to the next’. For Nick, the show underlines the importance of being able to pass on experiences learned from those who taught him. ‘I have a strong sense of a continuum from one generation to the next and a great respect for the calling on each new generation to take what is learnt and make it their own.’