drawings, paintings sculptures - Gordon Dryden Portfolio 2008.pdfdrawings, paintings sculptures by g o r d o n d r y d e n . Gordon Dryden studied Fine Art at Leeds College of Art

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  • d r a w i n g s , p a i n t i n g s & s c u l p t u r e s b y

    g o r d o n d r y d e n

  • Gordon Dryden studied F ine Art at Leeds Col lege of Art and qual i f ied as a teacher at Bretton Hal l in the late s ixt ies .

    Throughout the eight ies and n inet ies he ran regular l i fe drawing and sculpture workshops in the Department of Adult Educat ion at the Univers ity of Le icester in the Studio which subsequent ly t ransferred to the Richard Attenborough Centre for D isabi l ity and the Arts .

    A lthough he has had a studio in Nott ingham before, he moved to h is present studio just of f Nott inghams Market Square two years ago where he spends as much t ime as h is paral le l career as a d isabi l ity pol icy specia l ist a l lows.

  • the drawings

    None of the drawings are finished works in the sense of being produced for exhibition. They are sketches, either exploring some aspect of the body or, sometimes, illustrating a technique when Ive been teaching. This applies as much to the larger drawings as much as to the sketch books. They are usually about structure with some concern for form and transition from one form to another. The drawings are not uniformly treated. Some parts might have a high degree of finish, tracing a particular form in detail or picking out differences in hardness of a surface. Other parts are only lightly indicated. To some extent, it simply reflects what I was interested in at the time.

  • the drawings

    continued

    In drawing I try to emphasise the structure and implicit strength of figures with an emphasis on the architectural qualities of backs. There are other poses and in the seated figure opposite (d02-Elaine), although it is a woman at repose, I have tried to dispel any idea of passivity with the strongly drawn hand and arm.

  • the drawings

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    Several of the drawings, (d10-Seated Back) for example, have been preliminary studies for subsequent paintings when they have been used to block in the painting before asking the model to come back to complete the work.

  • the paintings

    A general point about the paintings is that the paint is applied in patches and progressively refined by successive layers. There is no attempt to achieve a photographic effect but Im trying to get an equivalence to reality that explains the features that I want to emphasise. The result should be an open texture that looks rather more spontaneous than it really is.

  • the paintings

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    More specifically, in the paintings of build-ings I want to catch the sense of space, not by mechanical perspective but by leading the viewers eye around the painting, in and out of virtual space. The painting of Fargeas rooftops (p01-Fargeas Roofs) is a good ex-ample of how the haphazard development of French villages provides an incoherent space and the resulting flow of the eye over rooftops, walls and fences is more rococo than classical.

  • the paintings

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    In the painting of Santiago in the sun (p04-Santiago Sun) I try to achieve a similar sense of space, contrasting the curvilinear per-spective of the peripheral buildings with the static central perspective of the faade. I try to emphasise the movement by, for exam-ple, painting the balustrade across the roof with irregular spacing and having people walking across the space. I hope that the viewers eye eventually comes to rest on the tiny figure blocking the door to the cathe-dral.

  • the paintings

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    The life studies are still concerned with space but Im more concerned with the forms of the figures themselves. Some of the paintings are based on traditional iconic images. The curled, seated figure (p15-Sandie) uses the curve of the back to emphasise the line of the hips in a very traditional image of femininity and I use contrasting yellows and mauve/pinks to heighten the form more strongly than naturalistic skin tones would have achieved.

  • the paintings

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    The seated figure (p09-Julie) is another traditional pose but this time Ive tried to avoid any suggestion of submissiveness by emphasising the arm and the strongly painted hand to counter the smooth line of the curve around the hip and leg.

  • the paintings

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    This preoccupation with trying to combine images of women with a sense of autonomy and self-confidence is most fully developed in the series of Liv paintings that were produced over a period of about a year. I have no interest in illustrating a known narrative but, inevitably, if a life study has some sense of a personality, there is an implicit narrative brought to it by the viewer. The poses in the Liv paintings, including the formal elements, are an attempt to challenge the viewer. The reclining figure (p21-Liv reclining) is an image of a woman who is comfortable with herself and indifferent to the viewer. I arranged the pose over a number of levels that I hope present some complex foreshortening for the viewer to work out and this is the work where Liv had the least input.

  • the paintings

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    The other reclining figure (p22-Liv seated) is arranged like a classical landscape with a low valley sweeping round a large clump of trees overviewed by a castle on a mountain on the opposite side. In this painting the curving valley is replaced by a leg lying level and curling round the other leg, substituting for the clump of trees. The torso replaces the mountain slope, overviewed by a head looking out directly at the viewer. The compositional elements are traditional but, as a life study, the sitter is coolly challenging. This is Liv saying Im in charge, so what.

  • the paintings

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    The seated figure(p23-Liv seated) is clearly in a relaxed, confident pose but presents a barrier of arms and legs over which Liv looks out, again, directly at the viewer. The complex of interlocking serpentine shapes was refined and increased by Liv choosing, for example, to curl her right foot under her chair to heighten the curve. I would hesitate to ask any model to adopt such an uncomfortable position.

  • the paintings

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    The small seated figure (p24-Liv seated) depicts Liv looking out over a fortress of knees and powerful arms and hands, reinforced visually by the arch motif of the background. Again she has a secure, steady gaze.

  • the paintings

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    The standing figure (p25-Liv standing) simply pauses, not as a passive recipient of the viewers appraisal, but appraising the viewer. I dont think the result is a narrative painting but a starting point for the viewer to engage with the implicit attitude of the model. The paintings are not portraits although working with the same model does result in a certain family likeness. I am simply trying to convey a range of different moods and attitudes with a common core of a confident woman either indifferent to, or appraising the viewer.

  • the sculptures

    The sculptures are effectively three dimen-sional sketches focusing on whatever ele-ment was of interest at the time.

  • the sculptures

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    The finishes used differ depending on whether I was concerned with the surface form, in which case they have a traditional clay pebble look (s08-Pregnant woman).

  • the sculptures

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    Where the work was more concerned with the energy and tension of the pose, they tend to have an open, cut texture (s02-Seated bronze). The sculptures exploring tension tend to have a mechanistic structure whereas the ones concentrating on volume and form tend to be at repose, rather like landscapes. Larger work, like a half life size work that Im working on at present, goes through stages involving both approaches.

  • enquiries

    Enquiries should be made via email to the following address. enquiries@gordondryden.co.uk

    2008 Gordon Dryden