Just back from the opening of an excellent new exhibition of paintings by Peter Roebuck at the Arison Gallery in Chorlton, Manchester.
Peter has I think made a unique and very distinctive contribution to the English vision of landscape – though he also paints still life, people and many other subjects. But to me, landscape is the heart of his work and he has worked with enormous dedication and integrity over many years to refine a most unusual way of seeing, and showing, the world.
The hallmark of Roebuck’s work is a combination of radiant intensity of light with a quality of visual softness, created sometimes by mist, sometimes by frost, sometimes by distance or sunset light, but always conveying a sense of stillness and fascination. Perhaps that’s the outcome of the very close and long-continued observation which you sense has gone into these paintings.
Working in both oil and watercolour, Peter Roebuck returns often to certain favourite subjects: the waters, and the shores, of Morecambe Bay, the lesser-known areas of Lakeland, and the Mersey Valley, centring on Chorlton Meadows not far from where he lives. The radiance of his colours and the intriguing simplifications of landscape forms, which make the places portrayed appear more, not less, fascinating, mean that these paintings are haunting and, in their way, inimitably strange as well as beautiful. The longer you look at them the more interesting they get.
If you’re in South Manchester between now and 9 October, and have even a few minutes to spare, do go and take a look, to see fine work by a greatly underrated and totally individual artist.
The Arison Gallery is at 512 Wilbraham Road, Chorlton, Manchester M21 9AW (0161 881 6734).