Thursday, 10 December 2015

Dave Vigor and the The Forgotten Art of Landscapes

The 20th century, in art terms, certainly for me, began after the Great War finished. Until that point, and with the arrival of Freud, the constant denial by Victorian society in accepting that mental health issues was not someone merely slacking or an avoidance of hard work but, in fact, were very real, saw things begin to change. This coupled with the trauma witnessed by the front line troops provoked an inward look at what was and what wasn’t real. Dada, Surrealism and Modernism along with a plethora of other ism’s, explored the inner workings of the mind and also how absurd life was at times. It was a glorious time, naïve in many ways, as artists challenged accepted thought, poems battled with assonance and metre while authors looked beyond linear narrative.

At this time, traditional forms of art fell out of vogue. Landscape painting was thought blasé, clichéd, old hat. Tommy-rot of course. I like landscape art and would like to see more of it. Perhaps not in the manner of Constable and Turner but with a modern twist. An old friend of mine, sadly a friend no more, works in portraiture. His work falls under the name of photo realism. It is undeniably good but so are the photos this man delights in taking of London, of the home counties, of any damn place he walks into. When he paints portraits he works from photographic copies adding paint canvas, capturing each subtle nuance and expression. Far better in my mind if he took one of his photos of East End London and pulled the same trick. Landscapes don't have to be pretty pictures of lush meadows or rolling hills. It can present urban and cityscapes in just as captivating fashion.

Sadly I have nothing to show you. If Dave has painted any urban decay, vacant buildings, tumbledown tenement blocks, then I have not seen them nor can I find any on the internet. The only painting of his I found is a good example of how modern landscapes can look but is not in the same mould as those I had in mind.


Dave has an incredible eye for detail. I can imagine his painting of peeling posters or paint. His ability is such that that the corners or edges of paper or plaster look convincingly real. You might suggest such definition lacks emotional depth but it is the very way in which Dave emerges himself in the detritus and decay, capturing it so perfectly, that roots him heart and soul into his subject matter.

Following our short-lived 'London' series of which his art truly stole the show from my words, I hoped to, having first visited the East End, to allow him more freedom by my reducing my text input, having him paint images rather than manipulate them, thereby granting his work room to breathe, to be seen. Sadly just a fading thought now.

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A Utility Fish Shed Blog