Mark Edwards at the Catto Gallery
Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 2nd October, 2014
The painter Mark Edwards, who has a solo exhibition at the Catto Gallery in Hampstead until 21 October, has been exploring a mysterious imaginary landscape, the White Wood, for the past seven years, the result of which is a captivating, eerie series of images of stark trees, empty buildings, steam trains, crows and a black Scottie dog, along with a cast of anonymous men dressed in long coats and wearing bowler or Homburg hats, sometimes singly, sometimes in pairs or small groups, occasionally chatting, but more often staring up at something out of shot or down on the ground. The couples inevitably remind one of the Thompson Twins in Hergé’s Tintin, and there are other Belgian echoes — of Magritte and Delvaux, though all nonetheless in Mark Edwards’ own singular voice. Photographic reproductions do not justice to the complex texture of the originals, with their trademark snow, piled on with a palette knife so thick one could reach out and touch it. The artist lives in Scotland, staring out at the North Sea from his kitchen widow, but his landscapes are set in nowhere and everywhere in Europe, wild and desolate. The Danish flag that produces a bright flash of red in one picture is mere happenchance, for tonal effect. This is not a nod to Nordic noir, but a lighter and yet still somewhat disturbing reality. Well worth a visit (and a purchase).