MALL GALLERY, LONDON
The 2016 annual exhibition of the Royal Society of British Artists is presently on view in the Mall Gallery.
The inspiration for Brian George's paintings comes mostly from the East Anglian landscape. Lowestoft, situated on the North Sea coast, is the most easterly settlement in the UK. It's a piece of landscape I have known and loved all my life. I know the pier as a construction which has changed many times but continues to stretch far into the steel grey North Sea.
The pier was built in 1846 and was 1320ft long. It originally included a pavilion and bandstand,both of which were later destroyed by fire. Legend has it that while crowds flocked to nearby Great Yarmouth, the more discerning came to Lowestoft, quieter and more genteel.
This photo was taken in 1948. I imagine the pier was trashed during the Second World War(1939-1945) to prevent occupying troops taking advantage of it. A replacement pavilion was built in the 1950s which included a miniature railway, After further temporary closure the entire pier was reopened and now features a family entertainment complex and cafes.
Images of dereliction and the shapes created by decaying buildings (such as Suffolk Second World War coastal defences) are of particular interest to Brian George. His hard edge flat style of painting emphasises a stark reality, stripping away decorative, distracting detail. His colour palette in South Pier Lowestoft is muted, cool, subtle, exquisite. The paintings achieve their effect by the careful overlay of thin glazes of oil colour, creating subtle and often unusual colour combinations.
I always paint using oil on canvas with the use of brushes and rags. I paint by creating flat, even areas of colour and hard edges. I usually work on eight to 10 paintings at once because of drying glaze layers. I work from both my sketches and my photographs. It takes me about three or four months to finish works of art that have been commissioned.
With a wide, wide beach like this, with colourful huts keeping a watchful eye and its sand combed each morning, with an artist of the calibre of Brian George to show it as it is, what is there not to like?