Saturday, 27 February 2016


The Things We Forget
The Edge of the Wood II, oil on canvas, 120x100cm
Here that joyful upstretched arm draws us into the mystery of the sights and sounds and smells of  the wood. And we can feel the warmth of the day in the skin tones of the elegant figure behind her, bare shoulders braced, carrying the necessary clutter for a picnic or a swim.

Mark Entwisle treats his canvases as pages of a diary - his subjects are his family and their friends, and places familiar to them. But it is a diary not as we know it. He takes photographs with an analogue camera and develops the films in coffee. The lack of definition which results means that they can be read more as unrefined memories than crisp factual records.The photos, with their lack of precision, already resemble sketches or paintings.

'It is these qualities of imperfection that I want to bring to my paintings, a sort of diary but with an element of mystery. Not just painting things as they are, but of the impermanence of things, a way of preserving the things we forget.' 

Mark Entwistle, Scales, oil on board, 24x24cm

The Balcony Room, Adolph Menzel
When I saw the painting on the left I was prompted to look again at Adolph Menzel's  The Balcony Room, on the right, painted in the 1840s. In both works there is a magical airiness and silence, with dark wood standing firm against  playful light and soft pale fabrics. 

It wasn't until I read the title of Entwistle's work on the left that I noticed the scales sliding into this beautiful painting.    Scales hints at a different sort of reality, a shiver of anxiety for many of us as we approach a machine which cannot lie. They epitomise the artist's seemingly casual, uncomplicated honesty of observation, which fills his work with a palpable emotional directness.

Mark Entwisle began his career illustrating book covers, from the Vintage editions of P G Wodehouse to the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Somerset Maugham and Aldous Huxley.  He is also a renowned portrait painter. In 2002 his portrait Maria (oil on canvas) was on display at the National Portrait Gallery, having been Commended at the annual  BP Portrait Award competition.

 P.S. Entwistle's current work is on display at the Long and Ryle Gallery, 4 John Islip Street, handy to reach as it runs along the back of Tate Britain. There is a Private View at the gallery on Wednesday  2nd March 6-8pm - contact: