For Oliver Marsden’s third show with the gallery, Vigo is proud to present Everything is Everything including some his most accomplished works to date across several bodies of work, including the Liquiform, Dub, Fade and Ohm series.
Marsden’s latest series Fade, a logical extension of the Harmonic series in which he attempted to capture the movement of water and sound waves in circle paintings comprised of dozens of layers of glaze and thinned paint. The Harmonics played on the way our brains process information, the effect of surrounding light levels, and the viewer’s state of being as catalysts for the way the works are experienced. They would feel totally different according to these factors, the outer blurred edges of the circles, which tended to hover in a state of flux, rendering the work sculpturally dynamic.
Marsden’s first specific exploration into Fade paintings was completed in 2004 for the foyer of a residential apartment building in London. The commission was to produce a painting capturing the light on the surface of water. At first he experimented with limited figuration, actually painting ripples which ultimately failed to convey this. Painting actual ripples perhaps captures a moment but not the restless nature of water. His focus shifted from surface patterns towards the phenomena of its light. He took out the ripples and instead looked to create a gradated experience of the phenomenon. The Fade was landscape in format and experience in these early experiments, painting vertical fades light to dark / top to bottom. Light seemed reflected from above to the dark depths below but somehow this never translated from large installation to smaller formats. Marsden left the works he made at that time in the studio and revisited the idea during his residency and Museum show “In Praise of Light” in Koumi, Japan during 2009. These works again were landscape in format but now inspired by the Japanese mountain scenery. However the paintings were withheld from the show and not exhibited. He knew he would return to them but that they were not yet resolved. During this residency he looked at a lot of ancient and historical Japanese art. Hokusai’s woodblock prints were a big influence with their faded skies and seas and Marsden began researching structurally the mist and fading within nature which occurs through weather and distance.
It was only late last year that the new series emerged and they could only have been realized with the experience of almost a decade of making and perfecting his Harmonic series and the resultant growth in colour sensitivity. The new works came from trying to dream of, or remember a particular light and feeling from certain experiences. The breakthrough came when he shifted from landscape to portrait – a more human form from which to address this otherness. Marsden suddenly felt that the colour and gradation were more immediate in terms of engendering feelings within the viewer. Whereas the Harmonics were always variants of monochrome or blended colours, the Fades now look at the harmony between colours, finely tuned sensory experiences.
As with all Marsden’s paintings, there is a complexity beneath the apparent simplicity. Marsden possesses a deftness of touch and subtle understanding of colour, which is evident in these new works.