In this video, Denis Clarke speaks of the significance of painting from nature in the context of his exhibition, Force of Nature (2015).
"Objects we know will always obey the name that we give them. What I aim to do in painting is to tell another story, one that is not what our expectations, through habit, demand.
This exhibition concentrates on work closely observed from nature and is driven by my belief that marks inspired through all the senses, particularly sight and touch, convey the dynamic and feel of what I am observing.
My way of working involves both observation and experiment, madness and discipline. In creating work from natural subject matter, it is paramount that I work in front of it, in it, and surrounded by it. The outdoors becomes temporarily ‘the studio’. I don’t see this as restrictive - on the contrary it is the life source for making art - it gives me a chance to react to and define the essential structure, space, movement and shifting patterns.
In nature I am looking at something unknown, as if previously unseen. There is at the same time the power of harmony and balance but also a rich impending chaos. Things present themselves in the moment, as oddly configured, deformed and beautifully formed - all at once.
The late British art critic and writer, David Sylvester, referred to the opposing forces in art of the wild Dionysian and the measured Apollonian. This makes sense to me as an underlying score, as I puzzle over all the abstractions that can be brought to bear, in order to create a painted image. As Henri Matisse believed, it takes real effort to look at life and to see things anew and uncluttered." - Denis Clarke