Richard Barnes’ work on exhibition at Staithes Gallery

When York artist Richard Barnes returned to his studio after spending Christmas 2015 in Australia, he found it under 3 feet of water after the Boxing Day floods. So he de-camped to Staithes and spent the rest of the winter painting here while his York studio dried out. The result is this series of beautiful paintings capturing the village in winter at dusk, with the lights coming on in the cottages and reflected in the water.

Based in York since 1984, Richard Barnes has worked in the UK and abroad, producing smaller works and anything up to 64’ long pieces for the public arena. Ever interested in the use of colour and space, the surface of the image along with the illusion of what lies behind it, Richard’s work takes on a multitude of settings, from the obvious beauty of the wild and windswept Yorkshire landscape, the richness of a Mediterranean seascape, the desolation of a bombed out tower block in a former warzone, to the energy and visual excitement of the world’s cities, in the day and at night, including that of his home town. These are ever evolving, looking to highlight the sensations of life and light, movement and stillness, the changing and new juxtaposed with the permanent and prevailing history.

His PhD, completed in 2006, explored the use of digital intervention within a traditional painting practice. Whilst this partly convinced Richard as to the potential value of digital technology to a painter, it more importantly led him to value to an even greater degree handmade intuitive pure painting and drawing within a complex digital world. As well as completing works outside and in situ, the development of Richard’s images often also involves drawing, photographing, printing, working on top of this print, re-photographing, re-printing, re-working, many times over until a final image is arrived at that captures the visual, tactile and haptic nature of the experience of being in a particular place, at that particular time.