17 Feb Ross Skinner
THE HONESTY OF PAINTING
Rarely as viewers do we get to see art that is profoundly honest, a personal vision that one artist has been true to for thirty-plus years. Ross Skinner is a painter, an artist who has a personal vision; a profound honesty that not only explores his interpretation of reality, but more importantly he also shows his relationship with the art of painting, his immersion into nature and his dedication to exploration of subject and materiality.
Ross is emotionally invested in the subjects he paints; he stops, sits and absorbs. This immersion allows him to become connected and involved in the landscape. Many works in this exhibition are painted near where he likes to surf, others a walk from his home; areas he knows well, areas he returns to again and again. He doesn’t repeat himself by returning, but to explore the changes of light, atmospheric conditions and the change of mood he has, as a reaction to these. He paints the edges of urban life, landscape that meets water and edges of urban habitat. Very rarely does he have people in the landscape, an irony considering he is also well known for his figurative works. He explores areas with difficult histories and others threatened by ever increasing urbanisation.
For Ross, the process of turning reality into art starts with drawing, following the structure of reality in a series of exploratory studies, before they are manipulated and changed, not for the sake of change, but to explore the non-obvious. This allows a true artist to manipulate reality to make art. This is not deliberate; it’s a part of who he is and the way he thinks; it’s never contrived. The paint, so precisely chosen in colour and tone, applied with exacting certainty, along with the mark is always a conscious decision. There is no ‘happy accident’, but there is room for meditation and involvement at a level where he enters a sense of flow, a moment when the artist and the art connect on a level where it’s automatic. This is only obtainable with the knowledge of painting and art, and that makes art possible. Far more than a painter, he is a true artist; the art is from him and part of who he is.
He is a master of tone.
He has a singular personal vision. His knowledge of the Western Cannon is enormous and he is more knowledgeable in this area than most painters. It’s this knowledge that feeds his constant questioning of his art and this makes art not only visually important, but also intellectually so. Every mark, every tone, every colour selection is a conscious decision.
Dr. David Middlebrook
Artist and Academic
Photo: Charlotte Skinner
In my work I find that I tend to respond to subjects that I find in my immediate environment. These are subjects I can come to every day, even if it is just to look and think. Local landscapes, shadows cast against a wall, or flowers in a vase against a studio wall. Here is a subject I can study at night, perhaps when the noise and distractions of the day can be left behind, and a subject that can be considered repeatedly. Through my use of the paint I have try to put down that which strikes me as about the subject, such as the fall of light and shadow, an arrangement of objects, or a resonant colour note. In painting I tend to proceed from a more straightforward depiction of the subject, to one where I have aim for a development of elements such as structure, shape, tone and colour in such a way as to reward continued contemplation. In this I wish to follow in the footsteps of artists who have worked from their own immediate environments and in doing so have created lasting images that I believe can enrich our experience of the everyday.
Born in Sydney, Ross has always had a love for drawing and painting. He has been successfully painting and exhibiting his work for over 25 years. Working in a variety of media and genres, he has lately worked predominantly in oils to produce his studio still lifes and plein air landscapes. Ross has won a number of awards over the years for his work, including the Glebe Art Prize in 2014, and has been included in a number of prestigious award exhibitions, including three times as a finalist in the NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Award.
2017 Land Between Water, Artsite Gallery (group exhibition)
2016 In a Marine Light, Artsite Gallery (solo exhibition)
2014 New Paintings, Artsite Gallery (solo exhibition)
2012 New Paintings, Artsite Gallery (solo exhibition)
2011 Art Almanac Exhibition Window, Glebe
2009 Taylor Galleries (2 person exhibition with David Middlebrook)
2007 Taylor Galleries (2 person exhibition with Jo Riley)
2005 Taylor Galleries (2 person exhibition with John Reid)
2004 Landscapes, James Harvey Gallery (solo exhibition)
2001 Landscapes and Life Drawing, James Harvey Gallery (solo exhibition)
1991 – 2004 Numerous group exhibitions at Artsite Gallery, Taylor Galleries,
James Harvey Gallery and Delmar Gallery
PRIZES & AWARDS
2019 Inner West Urban Edge Art Prize, Chrissie Cotter Gallery (Finalist)
2018 Highly Commended, Glebe Art Prize
2017 Georges River Art Prize, Hurstville Regional Gallery (Winner, Open Award)
2016 Len Fox Painting Award, Castlemaine Regional Gallery (Finalist)
2015 NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize (Finalist)
2014 Glebe Art Prize (Open Award)
Doug Moran Portrait Price (Semi-Finalist)
Kogarah Art Prize (Finalist)
NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize (Finalist)
2013 Kogarah Art Prize (Finalist)
NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize (Finalist)
2009 Painting Prize, Glebe Art Prize
2007 Pastel Prize, Port Macquarie Art Prize
2004 People’s Choice Award, Glebe Art Prize
1999 Commended (Works on Paper), Camden Art Prize
1998 Judge’s Prize, and Highly Commended, Camden Art Prize
Highly Commended (Still Life), Royal Easter Show
1996 Commended (Works on Paper), Camden Art Prize
Commended (Pastel), Camden Art Prize
1995 Very Highly Commended (Open), Hunters Hill Prize
Springford, Anthony; Julie Ashcroft & Ross Skinner at Artsite,
anthonyspringford.com, (transcript of talk at Artsite Gallery) 14/10/12
Dyer, Lyn: Open Gallery, Spectrum, The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 – 24/06/2012 (“The Likely Lads”)
Hill, Peter: Critic’s Picks, The Sydney Morning Herald, 4/10/2002
Perlman, Jonathan: Spotlight, The Sydney Morning Herald, 18/09/2002
Georges River Council, Camden City Council, Trinity Grammar School, Various private collections in Australia, U.S., U.K., Singapore and Japan.