Using a striking combination of stark geometry and color fields rich in expression, British painter Robert Holyhead has created a prolific visual language to question and investigate impressions of worldly encounter. His brand of abstraction is visually captivating, offering an often dramatic push and pull of color, sparse yet drastic white space and sharp edges that allow the eye to fall through the narrative of each painting.
Much like the work of Mark Rothko, Holyhead’s abstractions adeptly express moods, feelings, confusions, and revelations with the presentation of color fields. Holyhead’s style demonstrates an understanding of cohesion in contrast, creating works that not only explore the relationship of chromatic region and untouched pure white, but also the way in which tension can be felt as a comfortable balance. The unique process — the manipulation of oil paint before it dries, mainly by dragging, wiping, pushing brushing — creates semi-translucent regions that translate into a composition of monochromatic strokes which vary in lightness and shape.
The shapes and regions created in the process, sometimes lilting and suggested, sometimes perfectly explicit, are often contrasted by immaculately white borders, geometric shapes, or small blips in the color field. These sections are a gleaming quiet in the midst of the expanse of color and emotional exposé. This is the contrast, and indeed the confrontation of difference, in which both he and his audience can insert a narrative of personal expression and investigative thought.
Born in 1974 in the United Kingdom, Holyhead attended Manchester School of Art and Chelsea College of Art and Design. He lives and works in London.
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