Bernard J Charnley

Artist Painting

Bernard Charnley works primarily in paint with an emphasis on colour and materiality. The imagery engages with ideas of impermanence and change as a metaphoric space.

Artist Statement

There is a play in my paintings between signs of a past or ending human imprint, often with overtones of upheaval, and an otherwise abandoned minimal environment. Clouds, water, horizons, fire, object fragments, walls, ruins are the symbolic actors.

Out of this strange hinterland of nature and yet intrinsic to its imaginary, the act of painting and the levers of light, colour and surface mediate a different visual life.

It is this process, often over long periods of time, that I find compelling and which leads to a painted resolution of a kind that works for me. This begins when a straightforward reading of these depicted bare, abandoned or conflicted places is complicated by this emerging expansive visuality. The aim is an ambiguity where the act of painting affirms and denies the image in a metaphorically active way.

For me this energy resonates with issues of human crisis, displacement and habitation. While identifying with that, each painting inevitably has its own voice and life as a thing in the world, so there is no overriding claim to meaning. They are open invitations.

The Artspace Exchange was developed with funding and support from: