Beyond the Opening

-- Demystifying Contemporary Art --

Neil F Wyatt | retrospective

Hidden within the narrow passageways of a medieval French village I sneak a peek at a formidable exhibition - before it opens to the public. This collection of retrospective works by Neil F Wyatt showcases humanity’s search for something bigger and more meaningful than itself, transcending centuries, mythologies and cultures. Technically brilliant, Neil’s works are…epic.

Weaving my way through the cobbled lanes and passageways between adjoined town houses, painted window shutters ajar, it is the height of summer in southern France. I’m dodging flower boxes in full bloom, café chairs, tables, dogs and children on bikes. Clustered groups of patrons rally together over a coffee or beer, reveling in the sunshine. There is a familiarity here; people know each other. There is a way in which things are done and a certain swagger in the success of this township – surviving and prospering over centuries, and its current success fostering a lively arts community that includes a myriad of galleries.

I happen upon Galerie La Rose Noire, perched on a corner a few lanes back from the town square. Invited in I spotted ‘Recognition’, below, and soon enough was thrilled to discover a collection of works soon to be exhibited by Wyatt.

Recognition, 2011

oil and acrylic on canvass

1270x1870mm

Image courtesy of Galerie La Rose Noire and copyright of the artist

A practicing artist of over 30 years, Wyatt executed this collection of works using a combination of oil and acrylic paints. These large-scale paintings dominate the gallery walls, commanding your attention and your immersion. The stone figures depicted are juxtaposed against blazing skies. They seem bound to earth by the sheer mass of their carved stone bodies despite their assumed yearning for weightlessness and freedom – they seem to desperately crave the infinite and glorious sky they gaze into.

These dramatic figures are drawn from ancient myth, Roman history, and classic European sculpture. Many of the source sculptures can be found within the Greek and Roman Antiquities collections at the Musee de Louvre, Paris, where Wyatt gleans much inspiration. These works do well to remind me that the ancient past is indeed very close to the present, whereby an individuals’ pressures, vulnerabilities and dreams are common experiences across humanity, no matter the century.

Images courtesy of Galerie La Rose Noire and copyright of the artist

Wyatt’s work can be dramatic with cinematic inflections, also playful and whimsical, yet they are always technically correct and fastidious. He works across various mediums to accentuate a particular sensibility of a composition. For example, the large dramatic pieces above use layers of fine oil paint to create depth and magnitude. Whilst other smaller playful compositions are achieved through pencil, felt tip pen, and collage. No matter how they are executed there is a rigor to his work – in the composition, the palette selection, the technical planning, sketching and drafting, and this is all visible in the finished works.

Post Industrial Family, 2008

oil and acrylic on canvass

1500x1200mm

Image courtesy of Galerie La Rose Noire and copyright of the artist

Steeped in social and art history Wyatt’s works are contemporary expressions of the human condition from a masculine perspective. Although not available to attend the upcoming exhibition opening December 2019, I’m looking forward to a sneak peek at the next chapter

of his work.

Find out more information about Neil F Wyatt.

Neil F Wyatt | Retrospective

15 December 2019 or

rendez-vous by appointment.

This exhibition will be held at

Galerie La Rose Noire, Salies De Bearn, France.

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