Fellow Castlefield Gallery Associate member and Manchester-based artist, Ian Rayer-Smith, is enchanting audiences in both Stockport and Warrington this month with two exhibitions running concurrently.
Taking inspiration from the Old Masters, Rayer-Smith creates his own abstract forms and compositions. By playing with classical references and historical imagery, you can see how his paintings work, rework and combine until all the pieces are revealed.
‘Making up for Lost Time’ at Stockport Art Gallery features many of Rayer-Smith’s large-scale abstract paintings, whereas ‘The Destruction of Anything Familiar’ at The Gallery at Bank Quay House focuses on a new series of small paintings.
His work gives off a kind of other-worldly poetry. It rollicks in and around the spaces. Inhabiting their immediate surrounds through their visceral force and energy. My mind seems to concoct magical underworld scenarios of Hellenic swan song, ritual dance making and jungle ceremonies. These imagined dream worlds are multi-layered and mesmerise with a depth of meaning gesturing towards ancient history and storytelling.
Reminiscent of lost worlds with his large, sometimes volatile, brushstrokes, they symbolise prehistoric undertones. I can’t help but see dazzling waterfalls and serene oasis which lap at your feet. An atmosphere of rain lashing, sun-soaked vestiges of lush beauty, pride and purpose. Some of my personal favourites are ‘The last things you see’ and ‘I am Daylights’ created this year and echoes of exotic declaration before me.
How his smaller paintings manage to contain themselves within their frames is beyond me. The raw energy amassing from these volatile explosions of dark matter, are polished yet penetrating. For me its a case of bearing witness to a beastly, fleshy and carnal attack to the physical senses. Both exhibitions show off a huge body of work created by the artist and are easy to be explored by car in the same day… if you’re a glutton for punishment like me.
I also went to the Preview evening at The Gallery at Bank Quay House and here’s all the images…
‘Making up for Lost Time’
Stockport Art Gallery
To 18th September
‘The Destruction of Anything Familiar’
The Gallery at Bank Quay House
To 25th September