Richard Manning artist painter melbourne st kilda
"My art practice is based around my personal environment and explores location and narrative. I currently work across a diverse range of mediums and techniques to produce a chronicle of images and textures on linen and wood."
Richard Manning 2013
Cliff Burtt has visited the studio and previewed the exhibition:
Richard Manning, painter.
In an age when artists race from the art school blocks, sprinting for success, our attention may be directed away from those who develop their ideas and craft with less swagger and noise. So doing, we deprive ourselves of the satisfactions to be gained contemplating work of depth and finesse. Both of these terms are wholly appropriate in describing the paintings of Richard Manning.
A graduate of Fine Art at Monash, Manning has rigorously pursued his vision, with the landscape as his central motif- most particularly, the coastal environment, the intersection of land and sea, earth and water. Manning coaxes his subject matter into an aesthetic hovering between representation and abstraction. Some works are clearly representational; others tend to read as abstracts, while retaining certain features- composition, hue, tone- of the starting point. The resultant works have the quality of palimpsests, with traces of land or sea, foliage or structure shaping the eventual outcome.
Above all, Manning is a painter, exploring the possibilities afforded with oil paint and graphite, canvas and board. Manning often works on a small, even intimate scale, yet the application of pigment and glazes, and use of brush, palette knife and scraffito- even sandpaper- suggest a grander scale. This boldness of working method necessarily means risking failure; many do not survive the rigors of the studio. The surviving paintings are carefully worked, but not fussy. It is possible to detect traces of past landscape masters in Manning’s work, though he is too much his own man for these to be direct. Yet in his use of a muted palette, and commitment to registering the light of pre-dawn and dusk, one might recall what Whistler was up to in his nocturnes. A century on, Manning shows the pursuit of crepuscular mystery is still valid: the proof is in the paintings.