Paintings by Colin Orchard
In Time and Space
Thankfully, after a period of indecision Colin Orchard has picked up his brushes again. His muse proved stronger than his resolve. This has prompted a subtle re-appraisal of purpose. Rather than work under pressure of a given exhibition, this body of work has been painted entirely for personal pleasure in what has proved to be a relaxed and enjoyable year. This, the subsequent exhibition, is Orchard's first for almost three years. Those emblemative, tonal, misty early-mornings in Cornwall, Suffolk and Venice linger still but are being overtaken by a more dramatic palette and altered subject matter. His people have changed both in time and place. In earlier work Orchard's camera recorded unknown people in their place. In this imaginary world his people have turned to confront him through the echo of time.
Orchard has abandoned his own camera in favour of others; his recent journey began with two back and white photographs - one of Marcel Aron and Tristram Bernard, the other of Pierre and Martha Bonnard at Vermont in 1920 - both by Jean-Edouard Vuillard. In both, the subjects are face on to the camera. In the manner of Vuillard himself it is as if Orchard has picked up the brush laid down by past Masters and unashamedly run with it. His portraits and the settings in which they are placed are entirely fictitious. Orchard has re-worked and distorted the principle of confrontation to suit his newfound purpose. Nevertheless his 'dramatis personae' and the sense of place are disarmingly familiar, each seeming to conjure its own illusive story. It is as if Orchard has given us a Janus-like view of those 'fin-de-siecle' times. There is a sense of hisotry incumbent in these paintings and yet the mark making will define the artist to anyone familiar with Colin Orchard's work.
- David Wilkinson, St Ives, September 2013.
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