GALLERY LEFORT EXHIBITION 2009 'THE COLOUR STORY'
This latest collection of paintings by Artist Simon Hart highlights several different themes and approaches he has recently been exploring in his work. First of all we see him revisiting the collage technique he developed while at the royal College of Art in London. This time around he combines strong shapes with exciting areas of marking and pattern. There are very clear colour stories that capture the mood of a particular landscape. The time of day is an important factor when first considering a painting. Standing on a Cornish harbourside very early in the morning with the mist lifting around you the tones are softened and muted. In contrast, standing on the hilltops overlooking the Alhambra Palace at sunset, the colours seem to glow as the warmth lifts from them. These mixed media collages, with their strong imagery have formed the foundations for the abstract work that we also see in this exhibition. In these abstracts the artist has purposely chosen to ignore clearly identifiable images and concentrate on simple geometric shapes within the composition. By doing this he is able to focus on the subtle textures and layers of colour within an area. Equally important is the change in scale and a sense of space in these works. Despite the two very different styles of working, the collages and the abstracts are clearly linked by their strong colour identity as well as enhanced by the choice of the beautiful white frames on all the pieces.
In1991 Simon Hart achieved a MA(RCA) in Surface Pattern design at Staffordshire University before completing an MA in Printed Textiles at the Royal College of Art in 1993. After graduating he designed for furnishing textiles and greeting card companies and was a visiting lecturer at several art and design degree courses around the country. At the same time he began exhibiting his work in galleries and at Art Fairs and was quickly spotted by the 'Art Group', a major contemporary art publishing company who created prints of his work which have sold worldwide and featured in major stores such as Habitat and Ikea. His images have also been used for childrens books, magazine covers, wallpaper, rugs and stage sets.
The subject matter of his work has mainly focused on his love of fishing villages and harbours in Cornwall. He is drawn towards the brightly painted fishing boats and houses which provide such a wonderful contrast against the natural tones of the surrounding landscape. The work of the St Ives school of artists in particular can be seen as a major influence in his compositions and mark making, whilst the influence of Matisse can be seen in the simple technique of collage.The dramatic juxtoposition of ideas in his work can only come from Eduardo Paolozzi.
He is fascinated by the wonderful variety of architectural styles and the varying landscapes one encounters around the world and has travelled to destinations such as Marrakech, Venice, Barcelona and the Provence to gather a wealth of ingredients and source material that continues to inspire many collections.
Although much associated with his unique collage style that gives his work such a strong identity and which helped launch his career as an artist, he is someone who is eager to explore new techniques and directions and after several courses exploring Printmaking in 2001 he felt it was time for a change. He began Monoprinting, focusing on simplicity of line rather than shape and colour. His work became looser, more spontaneous. He coundn't work without colour for long though and in 2002 began to experiment with painting on board. He discovered the wonderful versatility of Acrylics with their opaque and translucent qualities and was able to layer paint easily and scratch into it while it was wet exposing many different colours in one area. Working on board he then found he could sand the surface after to soften tones and shapes.
In early 2007 Simon moved into a new much larger studio and is developing new imagery revisiting his textiles background and looking at bold shapes and pattern within his compositions. He has started to paint on canvas too and is enjoying working on a much larger scale than ever before.