For a number of years the English painter Graham Crowley has been creating these striking paintings inspired by the landscape of Rineen on the west coast of Ireland. Often described as “one of the most distinguished living painters in the UK today”; Crowley is a painter’s painter – an artist completely caught up in the world of paint. He is an artist whose work can be read as reflections on what it means to be a painter, and particularly to be a painter who is living and working at the start of the 21st century.
One part of Crowley’s practice that I find particularly interesting is how, over the last 20 years, he has completely changed his style. His landscapes of Rineen look almost unrecognizable when compared with the work he had been producing during the 70s and 80s. This idea of an artist changing their style is something which has been discussed on this site before, and it is something which I find really interesting.
In an interview with a-n Magazine in 2010, I was delighted to read Crowley’s response when asked about this change in style. “It’s only right that [these paintings] should be different to those that I made when I was 26” he says, “I’m a different person.” Crowley also talks about how his work isn’t wrapped up or guided by what he describes as ‘product identity’, he just creates what he feels he should be creating. If people feel that this might betray his market identity, then so what “..if that’s all they’re worried about then tough”.
It’s refreshing to read of an artist of Crowley’s calibre who still just cares about staying true to their own creative voice and who are willing to change creatively as they change as a person. You can view more of Crowley’s work (including images of earlier work) online here.