Acrylic on paper
The artist gives us this insight into the development of his relationship with the landscape genre:
‘I remember an official visit to the main Russian art schools in Moscow and Leningrad in the late 1980s. There were no landscapes to be seen. They were frowned upon…. “Landscapes are for the summer holidays” I was told. Landscape painting had no place within the Soviet Union’s prevailing aesthetic orthodoxy. Socialist realism meant pictures of the revolution and party were the approved subject matter.
‘I thought a bit like that myself during my student years when everyone in Scotland painted landscapes…what about painting people instead…what about making some kind of statement about the human condition like Goya or Picasso. Painting landscapes didn’t seem right at that time.
‘Fifteen years ago I travelled to China to take part in a Li River expedition with a group of Chinese artists and poets. It was a rare privilege to spend a couple of weeks concentrating on drawing what was literally in front of me…the spectacular karst mountains that towered above the river. Exchanging ideas with my Chinese colleagues was also beneficial…their ‘landscape tradition’ goes back much further than ours. In Beijing and Xi’an I was able to see examples of painted landscapes from the 11th century and earlier. The entire trip provided further impetus for a more extended period of landscape study.
‘Gradually I came round. Sooner or later the main genres of western painting – still life, the nude, landscape all present distinct challenges that need to be addressed.’ – Alexander Moffat
From a series of 10 studies of this volcanic spur overlooking Edinburgh, visible from the artist’s studio, painted between 2016-19.
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