Chris is a figurative artist largely working in oils on canvas or canvas panel - canvas which he stretches and glues over wooden panels. These panels give him the ‘tooth’ or texture of a quality artists’ canvas while providing a much firmer and more stable ground. This is important for the glazing and stippling techniques he uses.
Recently Chris has been concentrating on the genre of still life, but also has considerable experience of figure and portrait painting. He continues to work on portraits whenever possible as he finds the difference in approach to each discipline helps to maintain variety in his work.
"What intrigues me about still life is that it’s essentially about an implied human presence. The way objects can create a narrative value beyond their individual worth simply by their relationships to each other in the same space. They can even suggest a sense of place and time without anything being directly stated.
I’m also fascinated with the way light reacts with objects; reflects in them, is absorbed by them, passes through them. The way this interaction, whether we’re conscious of it or not, for most of us defines the visual world around us and how we perceive any given object. What qualities make glass look like glass for example, or metal look like metal? More than this, how do I as an artist represent this convincingly in paint?
For me few have understood these two notions more fully than the Dutch ‘Stilleven’painters of the 17th century, especially those of the so-called ‘Pronk’ style. These artists frequently used quite a rich palette of colours, often setting their compositions of opulent objects against dark backgrounds to produce depth and an overall luxuriance of image. I have always been naturally and irresistibly drawn to their paintings and have spent much time studying and trying to analyse their techniques – trying to glean bits of knowledge to adapt and apply to my own practice.
Looking at the works of such painters both consciously and unconsciously inspires me. This study continues to inform my work which, while I make no attempt to deny is rooted in the past, addresses timeless themes and is thus very much about contemplating and reflecting ideas relevant to contemporary life. I am after all, a product of the modern world. A fact I seek to emphasise with the use of the objects I portray and the way I portray them."
Chris was the winner of the 2012 Norfolk Arts awards Visual Arts category