High Tide at Hipkin’s Beach (detail), 2016, acrylic on canvas, 140 x160 cm
Simon Carter Paintings
Simon Carter (1961) has dedicated himself to painting the landscape in his immediate surroundings. The contemporary paintings of Simon Carter stand in a tradition of well known British landscape painters like John Constable and William Turner. Besides exhibitions in England, Carter’s work has been shown in America and Canada but has never travelled to Europe’s main land.
Carter paints the coastal region around Frinton-on-Sea. The place where he was born and bred. It has familiarity to the Dutch coastal landscape as the countryside near Frinton is also flat and has similarity in vegetation and appearance. There is one distinct difference though. Compared to the Dutch costal landscape the light has another quality because the North Sea lies easterly in Essex and not westerly as in The Netherlands.
From an artist we expect that he works profoundly and that he travels exploring and investigating in detail the world around him. Carter does exactly that. He does not travel the world, he rather travels in his world. He investigates and paints exclusively the landscape that is so familiar to him. On foot, with the sketchbook and black crayons at hand, Carter explores surrounding nature extensively. He portrays his beloved muse, the sea and he draws and paints his other muses, the swampy marshlands, the meandering creeks with brackish water, grey mud pools and cumbersome vegetation. The artist calls for attention to the landscape through framing by presenting a chosen scene which is first filtered and isolated through observation and sketching. Some landscapes are depicted well over a hundred times. Moreover, because of the density in experience, over the years Carters colour palette has become increasingly restricted.
Carter’s way of working in close proximity of his home, the labour intensive way of production as well as the restricted pallet seems to set him apart from the current trends in contemporary art. However, the opposite is true as Carter concocts and adds powerful new entities in the contemporary. He scans the landscape and offers ‘metronome’ like rhythm to create grip. He strikes powerful combinations rhythm and form as his works are densely packed with light and time to reflect the contemporary within. His method of working is fascinating and arises from years of observation and collecting knowledge, transforming figuration of all seasons through dark and illuminated lines with action brushwork. As Carter’s way of working is based on passion it results in compelling work that posses a memorable intensity due to radiating awareness that touches deeply.
Landscape painting is a genre that in Europe, in England and the Netherlands stands in a great tradition. Painting landscape connects with the renewed emphasis on glocal authenticity and locally oriented production with emphasis on nature. At the same time, the spirit of nature, as painted by Simon Carter created a league of it’s own towards a new independent landscape painting genre.
Text: Robert Proost
Boudewijn Bakker, is a recognized expert on the history of landscape in the Dutch Golden Century. He has written several authoritative studies, including a book on Rembrandt’s landscape drawings. He studied history and art history at the University of Amsterdam and obtained his doctorate cum laude on the subject landscape and worldview.
On the occasion of the opening of the exhibition Simon Carter Paintings a catalogue and textbook have been launched (edition 30 signed and numbered). Text and poem by Robert Proost and designed by Yanda Li and Weiran Han (both students at AKV St Joost ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NL)). Also digital published on ISSUU.
Website Simon Carter