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Janice Russell - A Painter of Landscapes
Written by Geoff Hall
Thursday, 09 August 2007

I'm a painter of landscapes. A few weeks ago you might have found me on a remote forest track in Galloway, South West Scotland, fighting off flies, struggling to hold a drawing board down against the wind. I had to grasp this interval of fine weather before the rain set in again - the torn clouds were almost apocalyptic, sudden vast gaps of blue, moments of grace allowing light to flood the vast spaces again. All this would provide key imagery for future work, my photographs reminders of an internalised experience. In the studio images could be selected and transformed into painterly marks, textures and colours. Hard work, direct gutsy stuff; resolved in visceral, sensual oil and pigment.

All this a far cry from the alienated urban art of many of my contemporaries - minimal, stark, sterile ,colourless – over-bloated wordy pretentiousness....or alternatively it's brash, hard, raucous comic strip. All of it ultimately in the service of market-driven galleries grasping fast profits from art commodities.

One way that hunger comes to expression is in the huge numbers of amateur and professionally trained artists working from nature represented in small galleries and Art Trails (work and exhibition spaces open to the public every year on a regional basis). The work is sincere, often well-crafted but you cannot get away from the fact that almost all of it is lacklustre, clichéd, and devoid of a convincing vision and content. Within this domain there is a great public yearning for symbols and images of an environment people wish to feel deeply connected to and want to affirm.