An essay by Cliff Burtt about Richard's exhibition PAUSE

Qdos Arts Lorne

7 January - 20 January 2018

The paintings in this new body of work by Richard Manning share several
powerful threads: foremost among these is their connection to the rubric of
landscape in art. But these are no simple translations of the natural world into
paint; still less are they examples of plein air painting. They are, rather, scapes of
the imagination, distillations of countless hours the artist has spent in the the
forests of the Otways, Gippsland and the central ranges of Victoria. These works
are the result of the alchemy that is possible in the painter's meditation cell - the
studio, whereby impression and sensation undergoes a transformation into the
formal language of art.
Through tireless application and subtraction of skeins of paint, while still allowing
room for chaotic processes to enter into the building up of a picture, Manning
arrives at a liminal vision, capturing that fleeting moment of apprehension of
scene: that moment between our attention being drawn to a view and its coming
fully into focus. It is Manning's talent that allows him to register our nascent grasp
of the sublime and draw forth its seduction. For there is no getting around the fact
that these works are, quite simply, seductive. The artist's deep response to the
beauty of forest and glade, river and waterfall- and the conundrum of finding
appropriate visual expression to this suscitation- is realized through exquisite
colour contrasts and harmonies. That this use of colour should contribute to the
dream-like quality of these works is a measure of Manning's control over his
medium, finely balancing between abstraction and description.
These are works that eschew many of the issues that occupy contemporary
artists; politics and polemics are absent. In their place, in these troubled times, is
the response by an artist to the question of how to respond to the world as we
find it, and especially, that part which strikes the deepest chord within. In these
oneiric works, Manning gives us his truth. 

Cliff Burtt 2017




An essay by Cliff Burtt written after a visit to my studio in November 2022. New works from 2021/22.


An essay by Leslie Sprague


An essay by Cliff Burtt about Richard's exhibition PAUSE


An essay by Raymond Gill about Richard's exhibition PAUSE


An essay by Cliff Burtt about Richard's exhibition VIVID DARK