Colin Park

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Colin Park was Born Dumbarton, Scotland, 1948.

Self employed painter and decorator for 27 years. He attended Glasgow School of Art 1996 to 2000. His degree show was a sell out. Since 2000 Park has been a professional painter, draughtsman, printmaker and sculptor.

Park uses energy and adrenalin to produce his oil paintings with a pallet knife in a single sitting. He approaches the canvas with a mind free of plan and distraction and allows the painting to develop as he moves the paint over the canvas.

His work is unique in style. This stems from technical ability, pure hard work, honesty, absolute self belief in his own emotions and the bravery to let these emotions flow freely and uninhibited (yet technically controlled) into his work.

Many individuals might have a technical ability, but much fewer have the necessary work ethic to become a professional painter. And beyond this is rarest of the rare is - he who can combine these traits with a fearless self belief toward expression of one’s own true emotions. It is this last point that can set a man apart. For in doing so, a man stands separate from the crowd and can feel very alone. But the truth is that an honest artist is alone when it comes to his work. Colin Park falls into this category of “rarest of the rare”.

Colin is an exceptional artist and man. His work is special. From drafting through printmaking, painting and sculptures, he is a modern day artist in the truest sense of the word. His art has the ability to divide a room. Those who need to feel part of a collective and those who don’t.

Critique

HEADS

Colin Park’s Heads are imagined portraits entitled as that of young boy, or a woman, or simply referred to by number. Under and over life-size (some at least more than half-fill a two square metre of canvas) they grab you by the lapels.

Working with the three pigments, cadmium lemon, cadmium red and cobalt blue (plus a minimal flake white) he achieves passages of bright, pungent, largely saturated colour as bold as the shapes they create and inhibit; contrasting blacks are formed from the mix of the three primaries. All laid-in with a knife.

The painter acknowledges a debt to Francis Bacon: fair enough, but there is no pastiche and what comes to my mind is not Bacon but Paul Klee, specifically his ‘Young Proletarian’ and crossing the media, the photography of Paul Strand in ‘Man, Five Point Square, New York’ and ‘Young Boy, Gondeville’ and of Diane Arbus in ‘A Woman with a pearl Necklace and Earrings’.

The pictorial structure is everywhere emphatic, demanding rather than entreating our attention, the portrait image imbedded in, as much as released by it, a structure compact in clearly defined shapes laid edge to edge in a manner of collage or explosive in lines which twist, turn and dart across the canvas. There is something with both of the primitive ritual mask, yet this is not primitivism, certainly not that of the Demoiselles or Avignon. These are people of our time, our world.

Amheim in his essay upon Picasso’s Guernica 1962 argued that....’the artist’s knowledge of the worlds being threatened by atomic destruction may reflect itself in his way of conceiving a human figure or a landscape’.

We will do well to take this on board in our response to Colin Park’s ‘Heads’.

Paul Strand:  Man, Five Point Square, New, York, Gondeville
Diane Arbus

Martin Baillie
Art Critic
Glasgow Herald