Leeds based artist Christopher Woods’ new collection Unseen works is currently available for viewing at the Stanley and Audrey Burton gallery and is well worth a visit. The collection boasts a variety of media including collage, sketches and magnificent oil paintings. Influenced by artists such as Graham Sutherland and William Blake, Woods’ work explores the abstract and the unknown with vivid use of colour and brush work. One of the larger pieces in the collection Observatory depicts a dream-like scene with deep rolling mists, bright stars and beautiful rainbows. A sort of fantasy utopia of peace, while other smaller pieces such as the sketch Is there a bird on my head are simple and playful, almost like the sketching of a child.
A key theme throughout the works is a blend of the material reality with fantasy. Woods uses realistic landscapes and motifs to portray more undefinable, less solid ideas and symbols and uses contrasting colours and textures to juxtapose the two together, creating a fantastical and visually stunning, surreal picture. The range in style of the pictures is certainly striking, positioned on the same wall is the incredible abstract almost Dali-esque Lef Roh, with its heavy layering of acrylic on certain symbols and playful use of colours; and The psychic which is much more realist in style and shows a lone figure on the Yorkshire moors. While most of the sketches and collages will probably fail to capture much of your imagination or interest the real allure of Unseen works lies in the large paintings. With each one forcing imagination and reality together in a slightly different and varyingly abstract way they all provide significant food for thought; and of course if discovering meaning in art isn’t your cup of tea then a lot of them are just very pretty.
images: courtesy of the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery
words: Jocelyn Cheek