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"Violet is such an unnatural colour. It has connotations of poison and death, but it can be quite warm and forgiving, yet retaining a sense of menace."
Callum Innes is known for paintings created through a process that involves the repeated removal as well as the application of paint, where a deliberate act of destruction is part of the making. In an ongoing series of ‘Exposed paintings’, a dark and pungent green, for instance, might reveal its gentler, softer qualities through dilution and erasure.
Innes hopes to make paintings which continue to reveal themselves far beyond their first impact. They exist in their seemingly simple, final state, but resonate with the complex passage of time; the history of their making is often evident, but in paintings such as the ‘Monologues’ there are evocations of nature’s forces at work, of waterfalls, mudslips, rock faces. In paintings which he calls ‘Agitated Verticals’, he brushes turpentine up through a field of colour and allows it to trickle down, forging channels to reveal again the canvas ground. Hovering between the abstract, and figuration and landscape – elemental in both senses – the same painting can combine speed with immense slowness.
Fast and slow, adding and subtracting, solid and robust, yet fragile and disintegrating, Callum Innes’s paintings are built on such paradoxes.