An Uplifting show

Ken Cuthbert - Recent Oil Paintings is at The John Russell Gallery, 4-6 Wherry Lane. Ipswich until November 24.Ken Cuthbert's fascinating oil paintings primarily focus on the landscapes of England and France.

Ken Cuthbert - Recent Oil Paintings is at The John Russell Gallery, 4-6 Wherry Lane. Ipswich

Ken Cuthbert's fascinating oil paintings primarily focus on the landscapes of England and France. In a range of sizes and styles; they evoke an emotive response. Glowing yellow skies adorned with bright suns; multi-layered paint full of light and reflection; kites, swooping birds, bedsteads, and flowers all add to their unique intense beauty.

Cuthbert's style appears conditioned by his subject, and his emotional response too it; impressionistic, expressionist and also semi-abstract.

In the beautifully sunlit Garden Frame an old metal bed head, tangled and curling, becomes the focus of the image; its form contrasting with the tall terraces in the background. A medley of rich greens, dragged in all directions, emphasise the wildness of the garden and its cast off frame. As in Straw Bales the paint is multi-layered and textured, combing a rich mix of colour. In the latter work the composition plays with the vertical, the tall bales rising like obelisks of nature. In The Bridge In Winter and Tapiola, two works, Cuthbert's use of elongation is even more pronounced; in the former tall trees are reflected in the river, in the latter towering trunks forming a mysterious gateway into a dense forest.

Goldfish and The Kites are more abstract. In Goldfish cyclical movement is conveyed through a whirl of swirling colour. The Kites is less intense, lighter in hues and application; the emphasis being on flight and wind.

Cuthbert's paintings of sunflowers have a savage beauty. In Au Bord De La Route their drying jagged petals strike out at soft yellow air. A cross in the centre of the work, pointy and circular, echoes their shape, while a large black bird swoops above, like a portent. The sun glows bright as it does in Chair With Sunlower; a painting of rich expression and contrasting forms. One feels warmed by its glowing hues and somehow caressed.

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Ken Cuthbert was born in Ipswich, and began his training in 1950 with Ipswich- based Dutch artist Cor Visser, who was to have a lasting influence on him. In 1985 he visited France for the first time and was so taken by its beauty he bought a home there, dividing his time between England and France. He returned permanently to Suffolk in 2000, and now lives in Felixstowe. Previous exhibitions include; The Haste Gallery, Ipswich, Gainsborough's House, Sudbury, The Taplin Gallery, Woodbridge, and The John Russell Gallery, Ipswich. A truly uplifting show.

Sonia Carvill

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