A Different Perspective
In September 2019, Robert Mountjoy took an unscheduled trip to Spain, visiting Andalucía and its historic sites. He took a sketchbook and a camera and came back full of new ideas, minimalist forms and textures, but most of all colours— reds – both intense and bleached out, with deep yellows and dusty grey/blues.
He spent some weeks playing with figurative landscapes based on the drawings, but felt he was not producing anything new or exciting. Looking back through his photographs, he found a batch where he had accidentally nudged camera settings to wide angle and continued to shoot before noticing the mistake. The resulting images showed views through narrow streets from one plaza to another with ‘barrel’ distortion… and these resonated with a series of abstract collage sketches he had been experimenting with.
The artist adapted and scaled up some of his collages; overlapping convex sided lozenges and painting them with the hot dry colours and textures recalled from the recent travels. Working on HDF or canvas boards, he built up layers of colour and texture over hard edged forms with contrasting gaps. He showed two of the first paintings in the Penwith Gallery, St Ives with the South West Academy 2020 Exhibition. He destined another four to the 21 Group Exhibition that year, also at Penwith. The colours became more intense as the series continued and the stripped-down forms less architectural. Three of the later paintings in this sequence was included in the SWAc Reflection 2020 Exhibition. Four paintings were shown with the 21 Group at the Limekiln Gallery, Calstock from April to June 2021, two at the Artizan Gallery in Torquay and six more at the September 2021 Exhibition in St Ives.