Sam Branton’s delicate pencil drawings reference the mezzoprints of English artists such as George Stubbs and John Martin. In his gentle but surreal works, Sam develops the romantic and exotic themes of his source materials, presenting fantastical animals in much the same way as Stubbs depicted Australian fauna, but with the dramatic lighting of Martin’s landscapes.
As he often works in groups of drawings, Sam then produces his series as a book, crossing the line back into the realm of print from yet another angle. In this way Sam plays with the idea of the drawing & print as a connoisseur’s reference material, albeit in the context of an imagined world of surreal absurdity.
Makers of Marks
James Freeman Gallery
08/03/2018 – 31/03/2018
Drawing and printmaking have much shared history and enjoy a deeply interwoven relationship, but even so, contemporary artists still find new ways of making them play off each other. In ‘Makers of Marks’ at the James Freeman Gallery, three artists who experiment with this relationship against a background of classical references: Daniel Hosego, Sam Branton and Jon Braley.
Daniel Hosego’s drawings uses Renaissance compositions as a stylistic template, into which he inserts contemporary issues – social media, selfie sticks, art references – to lend them the same importance and intensity given to moral allegories centuries ago.
From these drawings, Daniel then creates large pop-art screen prints executed in seven different colours in a thoroughly postmodern style. In combining two distinct artistic eras and sensibilities both in his content and in his modes of production, Daniel bookends his practice beautifully: the work travels a long timeline, from the 1400s up to the present, in an endeavor to apply the moral gravitas of our forebears to 21st century consumerism.
Whilst originally an abstract landscape painter, Jon Braley’s work has always stemmed from the tradition of plein air drawing. In his most recent work Jon has taken this one step further by cutting the lines of his drawings directly into the surface of the paintings, creating objects reminiscent of woodcuts or the engraved surface.
His tactile method of painting – applying the paint directly with his hands, no brushes – lends his works a sense of atmospheric texture and depth in the true Romantic tradition. And for the first time there are also small prints to accompany his larger paintings, engravings that focus on the simplicity of the lines in constructing the landscape composition.
‘Makers of Marks’ opens on Thursday 8th March, 6:30 – 8:30PM and is on show until Saturday 31st March. For more info please visit James Freeman Gallery.