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Stilleven exhibition interview with artist Chris Kettle

The stilleven exhibition – an interview with artist Chris Kettle

We have had a fantastic response from the public to Chris Kettle’s solo show ‘stilleven’ – thank you to all who have visited so far! In this interview, Chris gives us an insight into what stilleven is about….

1. Why did you choose ‘stilleven’ as a title for this exhibition?

‘stilleven’ is Dutch for Still Life. I liked the feel of the word and the connection to The Old Masters, who initially inspired me years ago.

2. How would you describe this exhibition?

A showcase for my ‘Festoon’ series on Linen, with some serious back-up, I hope!

3. This is the first time you have experimented with painting on raw linen. What was it that made you want to try it out? How did it differ from your usual primed linen? Are you happy with the result?

Linen is in some ways the ultimate fabric to paint on – it’s thin but strong, has a great texture and weave and a beautiful natural earthy tone in colour. It’s kind of the ‘Rolls Royce’ of surfaces, but is temperamental and tricky to size and stretch. I love the results though – particularly leaving some raw linen on the surfaces.

4. What is your favourite piece in this exhibition and why?

I can’t pick one favourite in particular (like children!) but I have really enjoyed the new ‘Festoon’ series.

5. What was your creative process for this show? How did you get from blank canvas to finished piece?

I’ve been developing ideas and concepts for years now so new work is always the next step on a long (hopefully) journey… but the art of knowing when a painting is finished is an odd one, it’s all instinct in the end – but the painting will let you know if it needs more work!

6. Where does your fascination with Still Life come from?

I’m fascinated by Still Life because of it’s endless ability to challenge me – finding ways to draw human emotion, drama and an interesting composition from inanimate objects feeds my apparent need to be on a road less travelled!

7. What do you hope people will take away from this exhibition?

I always hope to give people an experience they haven’t had before – maybe a new angle on things or at least the viewer’s perception of Still Life. I like the idea of a new concept but with a firm nod to the past – the unknown with the known I guess?

8. In what way do you hope to change people’s attitude towards Still Life art?

I hope people can trace the history of Still Life and then understand what I’ve done with it, pushed the genre a little. I think Still Life has been seen as a bit stuffy and traditional – I’d love people to rethink that.

9.  Pick a painting from the stilleven exhibition – what meal would you make for the Naked Eye staff out of the ingredients in the painting?

‘Festoon 7’ shouts roast vegetable bake, followed by a Bacchanalian grape festival where I would hand-feed the Naked Eye staff grapes, many grapes… It would certainly be a vegan affair.

The stilleven exhibition runs until the 28th September 2017

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