Exhibitions Reviews and Press Releases


Two Landscape Artists of Idiosyncratic Style

Daily Telegraph, November 1976

by Terence Mullaly

Two artists whose approach to landscape is not only personal but also idiosyncratic are having one-man shows in London. Both have much to offer.

They are Lawrence Preece, whose exhibition continues at the Redfern Gallery, 20 Cork Street until 1 December, and a few doors away at the Mercury Gallery, 26 Cork Street, Jack Coulthard, whose paintings can be seen until November 27th.

Both artists render details of landscape with scrupulous attention. Yet naturalism in the conventional sense of the word plays only a modest part in their work.

Their affinities are more with Surrealism that with academic practice. This statement needs qualifying, however, for these artists avoid the conventions and cliches of Surrealism.

Coulthard juxtaposes glimpses of landscape, or figures, painted with precision, with large areas of flat colour or with bold abstract patterns. Sometimes all three are combined in one picture.

The result avoids being merely decorative. On the contrary, he achieves an impression of strangeness, of tension, which becomes compulsive. I know of no parallel in the art of our time.

Clearly there is an unusual mind at work. Equally it must be said that Coulthard is not always successful, for occasionally he is unable to express what he has to say in pictorial term.

Despite this we are seldom bored. Just as with the best poetry of the sixties, to which he makes allusions in his work, there is a union of vision and technique which, even when imperfect, commands respect.

The same can be said of the best of Lawrence Preece's paintings and drawings. In telling fashion he suggests hidden cosmic forces.

In part his work is about a sense of wonder conjured by material facts of nature, such as landscape and clouds, and by the debris of space exploration, while at other times it explores the way in which the vision of the sculptor can impose geometric shapes upon the everyday world.

Coulthard is 46 while Preece is only 34. They could develop into two of the most independent and also worthwhile of contemporary British artists.