Coffee House Exhibitions
29 September 2015 - 3 January 2016
Carlisle based artist Robin Oliver is attempting through his artwork to keep the act of Remembrance on everyone’s agenda, both in his region of Cumbria, and further a field, whether this is through his writing, exhibition work, or more personal ways of paying homage. For example visitors to this latest solo exhibition can observe Robin’s mixed media work titled ‘Bombed out before Christmas’.
While researching the First World War leading up to the 2014 Centenary year, Robin was so moved by his research and discoveries about those shocking events of the Great War that he felt compelled to travel to The Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, in June 2014 to pay his own personal tribute to the fallen during all conflicts. Robin’s ‘Poppy showing black anthers’ painting was laid upon the Cenotaph; ‘In Remembrance’.
Robin has stated that;
“I am interested in both History, and Art, and it is impossible to consider one without the other. Especially when it comes to the role which Artists have in attempting to record that which is all around them; a moment in time!
The good, the evil, the pretty, the grotesque! The imagined!
Or the Artist simply records the facts of life, as we are experiencing, or observing them. It is these images that we can look back upon, in the same way that we look back at an Artists archive.
It is also true that Artists attempt to draw attention to the significant, and what can be more significant than life, suffering, and death. I believe that it is significant that we remember at least some of what took place during World War One, and its aftermath. Remembering those who gave there lives, and highlight the fact that conflict and suffering continues across the world today.”
“In terms of Art History it is significant that the government during Word War One, in effect became sponsors of Art, and the Arts, initially bourn out of the need to provide images to feed an increasing propaganda machine. However it went on to chronicle much more”.
A further art work currently on display at Abbot Hall is titled; ‘For England’; a Mixed Media Collage which began life as one of Robin’s WW1 research and preparatory sketch book pages. The page begun in 2010 has been gradually re worked; with new elements added, taken away, or painted over, and eventually evolving into this final image, completed by Robin, in August 2014. Overall the work was inspired by Cecil Spring Rice’s 1908, poem, which was post, Great War, set to music, and has become a much loved hymn of the artist; I vow to thee, my country!
Incorporated into the collage an ailing tree, one of Robin’s photographs recalls the damaged trees of the French, and Belgium countryside, as a result of the Great War; however, other elements either painted on, or incorporated, bring the image up to the present day, in terms of our armed forces service, through peace time, and subsequent conflicts.
Robin Oliver takes his inspiration from his native Cumberland the place where he was born. His images represent his slow and gentle evolution as an artist, recording what is observed after looking, and looking again. They are representations of what the artist both sees and imagines.
They are experimental, constantly changing and evolving. It is Robin’s desire that they reflect his memories of growing up at the family hill farm, nestling at the foot of Cold Fell, in Cumberland. This is a landscape he feels he is ‘hefted to’ like the Sheep, Cattle, and Wild Deer which have long roamed there.
The Artists work on display at Abbot Hall Gallery includes three different colour combinations of his now iconic ‘Cold Fell Goose, Cumberland’ image.
Other works include his;
A Crest for the Cold Fell Shepherds, Cumberland.
And his; Guardian of Cold Fell, (Version Number; 1) Cumberland,
FOR ALL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES & SPECIES. The artist has also captured the likeness of one of the local Deer population which is presented in three different ways. The artists image A “Sprig of Holly from Geltsdale” (Ilex Aquifolium) is available as a Christmas card during the exhibition.
Robin is also a published poet whose work ‘It’ captures his feelings about The River Eden near his outskirts of Carlisle home, where he can look towards Cold Fell. This particular stretch of river has also become the focus of some of his paintings, and is an area of the River Eden which the artist walks, enjoys and observes on a regular basis.
Robin was born in Brampton (1961), in the County of Cumberland. (Now Cumbria).
- 'Guardian of Cold Fell Cumberland'. Original painting by Robin Oliver for all indgenous peoples & species. Copyright image Robin Oliver, all rights reserved.