Russell Frampton

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Nautical and maritime themes have often resurfaced in my work over the past 30 years of painting mainly because of associations with my childhood, being brought up on the River Hamble within a stones throw from the busy international shipping port of Southampton. The Solent and Cowes as seen from Warsash were formative landscape memories and the regular passage of tankers, passenger ships, ferries and yachts against the backdrop of the flaming refineries at Fawley etched a painterly structure into me. As a child I sailed and rowed and was part of this life on water and experienced this world from the inside, so details such as the decayed surfaces of old boats, multiple paint coated hulls rubbed back each year, the smell of blowtorches and varnish, the craft of the boatbuilder all had a major impact on my creative vision. Details such as knots and cleats and bouys, the shape of a rudder or transom, the elegant profile of the last of the ocean going wooden racing yachts still moored in the mud at Crablecks, became an aesthetic yardstick, a visual vocabulary to enable the articulation of a way of life. Much of my recent work seeks a process of painting beyond representation, where texture, layering and collage evoke some spirit of these places and memories, where colour and form as well as the incised marks of knives and drills conjure some form of ancient calendar or journal of the passage of time and tides of weather and sea state. Informed by the sheer charisma of Alfred Wallis and the elemental nature of Antoni Tapies, my latest work seeks to turn a painting into an object, perhaps a charm or a page from an unwritten alternate library, one which references both the lore of the sea and our ancient connection to it, something that offers hopes of escape and a form of reconciliation or reconnection with the primordial force of the ocean.

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