Richard Talbot

Richard Talbot

Richard Talbot is an artist whose work includes large-scale drawings, sculpture and video/installation. His research and studio practice is centred on contemporary drawing, but he brings to this a particular interest in the theory, history and practice of perspective, in relation to current Fine Art practice and to culture more generally.

Talbot’s own drawings are constructed using the strict rules of perspective, but play with and incorporate the tensions created between the plans and elevations, generated construction lines and marks, and the resulting spatial image. His approach is comparable to that of the building of a medieval cathedral: a relatively rigid two-dimensional ground-plan is put in place, and the ensuing structure is then developed organically, its form being the result of varying amounts of intention, pragmatism, accident and ambition. The drawings continue to celebrate the physical sculptural pleasure found in construction and building, cutting and carving, but the images and structures within the drawings can exist without the constraints of gravity, scale and materials.

Talbot’s reflection on his own practice and his research within Renaissance painting and associated theories, are closely linked - the one informing the other. He has become particularly interested in the essential ambiguities in the geometric methods of linear perspective, which he believes may help account for the uncertain spaces that historians find in key renaissance paintings. Rather than the very fixed thing that linear perspective is portrayed to be, he suggests that it is a much more fluid entity. In his own practice Talbot attempts to engage with this ambiguity, enabling a multi-layered creative process where the white space of the paper becomes an open-ended place for speculation. Fundamentally, and unlike previous art historical understandings of perspective, Talbot assumes that more than one model or interpretation can exist for a given drawing and that the drawing is, and remains, a relatively open-ended entity.

Consequently, his drawings evolve unplanned on the paper, using a complex and almost transparent matrix generated from perspective constructions, within which forms associated with architecture, maps, landscape, water, vessels and containers are brought into being. The thinking, or ‘pentimenti’ are left on the paper and become essential and integral elements alongside the more structured perspective constructions. Acting as a vehicle for the imagination, this almost chaotic matrix acts as scaffolding, which both creates and then holds the imagery, and enables Talbot to have an almost purely intuitive response to space, ideas and images as they occur, whether on the paper or in the mind.

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