A N D R E W F I T C H E T T
I studied Art and Design at Salisbury College of Art in the Early eighties, which lead to a career in Graphic Design and later Art Direction in the Advertising Industry. I left London in 1992, moving to Lewes to concentrate more on my own paintings and drawings. I like artists who hold out against trends and pursue their own personal vision. I am uncomfortable with being directly influenced by other people's work as it feels like contamination. That is what painting is to me, a deeply personal journey where I am the one I am trying to surprise most.
From a technical perspective I think that the visual composition skills that I developed during my design and advertising career have a strong presence in my paintings but draughtsmanship is at the centre of my work. Whether I am working on a small ink drawing or large oil painting, detail is unavoidable. Inspiration often comes from the atmosphere of a place. I am particularly drawn to moments of stillness and isolation. These are the things that make a landscape interesting for me rather than any particular type of terrain. The painting that follows is a kind of enhanced memory of that place which is developed in my studio from sketches and photographs made on location. My long-standing fascination with Crows is more folklore than ornithological and they often make appearances in my landscape paintings, sometimes as a deliberate narrative device.
My portrait paintings are driven by the same fascination with those moments of stillness and isolation and are a kind of distillation of what I know of the person as much as what I see. Compositionally, where I position someone on the canvas is always significant.
This exhibition offers me the opportunity to show new work that I have mostly produced over the last year. During this time my interest in landscape painting has developed into more of an obsession. The physical size and complexity of my work has also increased, so the chance to exhibit in such a generous space as the Foundry Gallery is greatly welcomed.
I am also delighted to be exhibiting along-side fellow artists whose professional approach to their own work I greatly respect. But what really separates this exhibition from any others that I have taken part in is the wide range of additional activities and events that are attached to it. A number of the artists including myself are offering tutorial courses in painting and drawing and leading a community-wide workshop called 'The Long Draw'. It is very exciting to be involved in such a dynamic event. It is a lot more than an exhibition and offers people the opportunity for real and rewarding participation.
My work is in private collections in UK, Holland, Germany, Norway, America and Canada and I have had recent exhibitions in the Foss Gallery in London and the Leith Gallery in Edinburgh.
Andrew Fitchett August 2010