In 2011 we began filming gallery artist Christopher P. Wood as he embarked on new work in his studio and our print atelier, exploring the expansive interior world of his colourful imagination.
With footage taken over a two-year period, Wood discusses some of the mysterious themes behind his work, his broad range of artistic influences, and the many novel techniques and innovations he’s recently begun playing with.
‘The Old Road’ – oil painting by Christopher P. Wood
Originally hailing from Leeds, Wood graduated with a master’s degree in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art back in 1986 and has since had frequent and consistently successful one-man shows, his work now being held in numerous public and private collections.
‘Goddess of the Shadows’ – oil painting
Today, he produces pieces filled with magical figures and symbols, often with few clues as to the connections between each otherworldly element. As Wood notes in the film, his goal is not to dictate to the viewer what they should see in his images, but rather that they should piece together their own narrative from his strange characters and landscapes and find their own way into the work.
‘India Tears’ – oil painting
The ethereal, dreamlike quality of Wood’s oils is in part due to his labour-intensive techniques. He spends long periods of time priming his canvases, often four times over, before starting work on his images. Once begun, each painting is slowly built up, some areas requiring extremely fine, methodical, self-conscious layerings of paint, other elements demanding spur-of-the-moment strokes of spontaneous abandon. His canvases are completed in single sittings, an emotionally and physically draining task.
In addition to his many oil paintings, Chris is also an extremely proficient and experimental printmaker. As well as producing exploratory work at home in his studio, he has worked closely with our local print atelier over the years to produce some truly innovative prints, pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved in etching and monoprinting.
Other printed materials and loose ephemera inevitably make their way onto bizarre collages that exhibit Wood’s natural sense of humour.
Recently, he has been experimenting with gesso works on paper. Gesso, a primer paint mixed from various materials, is usually used to prepare canvases or wooden boards before further painting with oils. Highly brittle, it can easily split or crack when laid down on a surface, particularly if that surface isn’t rigid, and requires multiple thin layers to create an even tone if coloured.
In these new paintings a bold gesso ground is laid over the paper, an extremely difficult and time-consuming process, before runs of paint are poured over the surface to create strange, ethereal cloud-like shapes. Figures in the foreground are then carefully worked in, resulting in images of disarming depth and arresting colour.
strange bird-like creatures in ‘The Magic Egg’ – oil and gesso on paper
An artist of special imagination and real technical ability, we’re always pleased to see new work from Chris come through the gallery doors.