Andrew Cranston is a storyteller of sorts, but one without a clear story to tell. His work is seductive in terms of its use of narrative and humour, but it is humour that seems to touch on the strangeness and pathos of ordinary life. He draws on a variety of sources, in particular his own personal history; questioning the veracity of memory. This autobiographical activity is combined with passages culled from literature, anecdotes and jokes, second-hand accounts, images from cinema and – sometimes - from seemingly insignificant observations of life. Often working directly onto hardback book covers his work is not pre-conceived but emerges through the manipulation of materials – paint, varnish, collage – and the suggestions that this activity provokes, layering and re-working the images until something essential coalesces.
Lorna Robertson’s densely coloured paintings, often made with a combination of oil paint and collage, have a distinctly nostalgic tone; shimmering female forms with swinging skirts from the 1950’s or bonneted bathers from the 1920’s jostle with richly described interiors; and crowded table- tops.
"My paintings" she says "sit somewhere between abstraction and figuration, a tangled game of hide- and-seek that plays with the visibility and readability of an image. I often paint to find out what to paint, creating harmonies and tensions through placement of shape, specificity of colour - the process itself becoming an act of revealing”.
The characters in her work are at once deeply evocative, and yet strangely anonymous. They conjure an unreliable sense of time and place, flitting between decades and moods from one moment to the next. Hints and glimpses of something tangible - a fashion model, for example, or a vase of flowers, appear and then fragment into painterly patterns and explosions of colour.
Lorna Robertson, Untitled, 2021, oil on canvas (detail).