2012.09.18 By Art Folio
Visitors to Robin Gillow’s exhibition CONTEMPLATION are invited to not only view the work being shown, but to experience it as well. Standing in front of a piece, one is drawn in, as if becoming part of the scene. Each painting has a wonderful calming effect on the viewer. Each too, has perhaps a subtle message within.
Typical of her subjects, is the artist’s painting Escape. It depicts an open birdcage, devoid of its occupant or any sight of it, an old rickety bicycle and a broken wooden fence with an endless backdrop of rolling hills and billowing heavens. Has someone left, leaving behind their hint of humanity or does the bicycle belong to the person visiting? Did this person free the bird or did the bird simply escape when the cage’s lock fell off through weathering. Perhaps there never was a bird? Perhaps it is not the bird that escaped, is it the artist’s retreat and place to escape to?
As with life, there are so many questions. Robin’s palette observations though, do not always query it at times they almost mock it or make quiet comments, especially as how most view it, as if blind to the realities around them.
In her painting ‘The Tourist Observer ‘, a simple painting, of a woman sitting on a porch watching tourists pass by and a scene often photographed by those in transit, is perhaps mocking in its portrayal.
A woman watches, bemused as well as slightly annoyed as tourists stop to take photographs or meander past in lost fascination, never once, pausing to reflect on their invasion. Is the woman simply relaxing, arm on a simple stool, sitting on bare cement with legs outstretched or is their more to the pose? In many parts of Asia; sitting with one’s feet pointing towards someone is considered impolite.
The saffron wall, reflecting branch shadows denote the intrusion of foreign cultures and its many quietly invading paths. The simple white daisies growing from the step represent the un-flattering way foreigners symbolize themselves when travelling to foreign shores. We think we dress as flowers but are often not award winning blooms.
The reflection in the door windows is one of a past life. The artist is not reflected here as it is YOU who are absorbing this scene and being questioned.
Yes, there is often far more to Robin’s paintings than first meets the eye.
As always though the artist’s technique and style; hedging on Impressionism are easily recognizable. These current oils, as with all the mediums this prolific artist has mastered, are a delight. Bold brushwork, splashes of tropical colour, its gleaming tones; hints of green and gold and contrasting subtle blends create a wonderful blend and depict a life fast becoming lost or forgotten.
Waving acres of paddy fields, rustling rubber plantations, lotus ponds and a simpler life are not only well observed and understood, but beautifully presented. CONTEMPLATION’s collection are both calming and thought provoking and well worth your escape!
Note: CONTEMPLATION will be the last solo exhibition in Thailand for at least 2 years as Robin will be studio bound preparing canvases for a show in the UK. Robin has been asked to represent her work in a charity exhibition against *Ecocide and involves internationally recognized and invited artists from around the world. They, like Robin will be donating their work for sale at the fund raising event.
*(The neologism ‘ecocide’ is used to refer to any large-scale destruction of the natural environment or over-consumption of critical non-renewable resources.)
See you all at the most -awaited event to be graced at Boat House Hotel, Kata Beach, Phuket, Thailand on the 1st -30th of eEcember 2012.