“Colour is universal, but at the same time no one really knows what it is; it’s very familiar yet also entirely strange.”
The main temporary exhibition showing at Compton Verney during our visit was Colour is, the first large-scale survey of work by Scottish artist and writer David Batchelor, featuring 40 years of painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, animation and tapestry.
The Gallery website tells us that
Including work in a wide range of media, from sculpture, installation and drawing, to painting, photography and animation, Colour Is will take visitors on a journey through Batchelor’s career, starting with his pre-colour works from the 1980s. These give way to his earliest experiments with colour and found objects in the ‘90s, and vivid multimedia installations during the 2000s. The exhibition culminates with recent work, including a glowing animation, in which sentences beginning with the words ‘Colour is …’ are projected in a continuously changing colour-saturated space.
Colour is, is certainly a good title for the exhibition – the later works, in particular are very bright and colourful with primary colours dominating the paintings and 3 D works.
In the first room we entered there were giant balls of electrical flex on the floor, looking like enormous balls of wool – a work entitled Dog Days (2005-06)
Most of the paintings on the wall were misleadingly simple brightly coloured “eggs” sitting on pedestals. The simplicity was misleading as a closer look revealed a complex textured surface. To create these, the artist had poured household gloss paint on metal panels allowing it to dry while being gently tilted by the artist, forming interesting wrinkled patterns as they dried. I though they were very effective
This painting reminded of the molecular models we used to construct when I was studying chemistry at University
On his website, the artist tells us that
In almost every city I have visited, I have at some point come across a mid-height wall topped-off with shards of broken coloured glass set in concrete. That observation was the starting point for these sculptures.https://www.davidbatchelor.co.uk/works/sculpture/concretos/
In the next room we visited there were a number of these works on show, made of punctured perspex, all bright primary colours
I liked the way they cast complex shadows on the wall enhancing the 3D effect
There were several works from his Covid Variations series of paintings made during the pandemic
I liked this tapestry
The remaining photos show some of the earlier works