BA (Hons) MA (RCA)
Colin would describe his work as primarily mixed-media and landscape-based.
Even though he is inspired by physical places, it is within his studio that a piece will come together and take emotional shape and where the ‘spirit of place’ is realised. Working with a variety of materials that include oil, acrylic and water-based paint, oil pastel and collaged imagery, especially maps, he will add and take away until the required ‘rightness’ is achieved, using the creative process of distillation.
His last three solo exhibitions have used the landscape motif in very different ways. The most recent, ’Sacred Yorkshire’ was inspired by ruins of monasteries and priories, exploring the uneasy juxtaposition of their simple creative architectural geometry with the destructive irregularity of decay. Previous exhibitions were titled ‘Imagined Landscapes’, conveying its seemingly idyllic beauty and ‘We have chosen a one-way road’, seeing landscape as a place across which refugees made their escape from danger but away from the place they called home.
The English artist Samuel Palmer considered his Shoreham a ‘valley of vision’. It was a sacred place in which the very objects which made the landscape, shone, hummed and pulsed with divine presence.
Colin’s work locates the unlocatable, maps our inner experience and seeks to present personal intuitions shared experience. The conceptual metaphor of the map: the grid, traces of longitude and latitude, north and south is overlaid with the language of colours both intense and sonorous, which evoke both place and mood. There is a nostalgia for the landscape’s history. A time before it experienced the weight of metalled roads when life was simpler and when its silence was not trammelled by noise.
All is expressed through the subtle overlay of collaged papers, washes and scumbles of gouache through which secret fragments and remnants of drawn and printed imagery peep. They invite you in to explore the map of Black’s vision as if you were finding your way.
Palmer wrote on the back of one of his sketches some lines from Shakespeare’s As you like it,
“This our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything”
WE HAVE CHOSEN A ONE-WAY ROAD
The title for this exhibition came from the words spoken by a refugee fleeing the Middle East, taken from a television series called Exodus-Our Journey to Europe, broadcasting August 2016 on BBC2. A number of individuals of different ages were given mobiles to document their journeys from different locations including Syria.
The work in the exhibition was about borders, boundaries and restrictions. The works were called ‘landscapes’, because it was there that events were acted out. I used the physical shape and structure of a folding paper map as one of the collaged materials because it already has an established and recognisable visual language of landscape. The physical collage construction of picture-making, such as planes, edges, overlaps and underlaps and margins become equivalents to the tensions and dynamics that are played out when a population is on the move and being confronted by an existing structure of obstacles. The act of creating a work is always in a state of flux until a conclusion is achieved.
The works were a combination of printed map, screen shots from the Exodus series, Internet images, holiday brochures and printed ephemera. They were a response to Britains’ dilemma about Brexit, hard or soft, independence and interdependence, Trump’s wall. We seem to be becoming insular in our thinking as a fearful means of self-preservation. How do we square our fears of invasion with humanitarian aid?