Robert West
Contemporary British Painter
Robert West. Genesis. 2011. Gloss and Enamel on Canvas. 200 x 252cm.jpg

Series One

Robert West Series One Painting Series Overview.

Series One

Representing a moment of time, placed within the context of history is how I see Series One, painting my ideas about critical periods in time is important and the condensed nature of the paintings creation only compounds my thoughts about the work.
— Robert West

Robert West. Into the Abyss. No.05. Series One. Gloss and Enamel on Canvas. 166 x 218 cm. 2007 

In his quest to find a greater and more meaningful way of removing representation West began Series One in 2007 and continues it to this day. Prior to commencing this series, West had had a discussion with a group of mathematicians from Loughborough University who had predicted the financial meltdown of 2008. This act of soothsaying fascinated West and the paintings of this series began to focus on the inevitabilities of undefined chaos and the effects it can have on society. To look at this course of paintings, is to almost be within a dense forest of confusion and misrule. Occasionally though, you will stumble across brief pockets of calmness and rest, where everything is once again right in the world.

This sense of unrest and the loss of identity are ripe throughout West’s practice. This heterogeneous way of erasing representation has driven West into becoming an artist who is no longer interested in just the process of painting but the potential of what a painting can become.

Series One was West's first foray into creating works in series, shifting his practice away from creating uniquely singular works in a divergent range of styles, instead he began to develop a deep understanding of what West calls the "critical techniques that could be put to the most use to create the next cycle in contemporary painting" he later states "I am a painter I concern myself with painting, it is time to put what I have learnt to good use by creating bodies of work that represents the World of today and the human condition within that vast environment"

Robert West. Genesis. No.46. Series One. Gloss and Enamel on Canvas. 200 x 252.5 cm. 2011 

Series One | Q & A

At the time what did you think about changing the way you worked so much back in 2007 ?

Painting in a series was a strange notion to me at the time, I enjoyed creating truely one off paintings, it put more importance on the execution because you had one shot to represent the potential of a series within that one painting; this made me rework paintings quite often until I was satisfied, consequently stretching the painting process considerably. Creative destruction is an important element in my painting process and is something I still do regularly with my practice; I believe you should not be afraid to destroy the things you create in search for something which has the potential to have more meaning, the down side is risking what you already have, and sometimes what you have is already very special.

Can you give me some insight into the painting process on such a large scale within a limited time frame ?

I always prefer the large format canvases because it fits me better, the way I paint, perhaps just the way I am, I have never been disappointed with a large scale work. The ideas I have are big for the series and the scale reflects that. The time element was one factor which I had to work within, the main issue was limiting "mistakes" whilst using this fluid painting process, the technique does not allow for many; to execute these paintings requires a lot, taking me to the fringes of what I could achieve with paint and a canvas within such a short time frame. 

What is the focus of the Series ?

Representing a moment of time, placed within the context of history is how I see the Series, painting my ideas about critical periods in time is important and the condensed nature of the paintings creation only compounds my thoughts about the work. The two periods which I focused on so far was when the Country was on the verge of financial melt down and the other was when we where beginning to coming out the other side of the what I believed was the worst of the turmoil.

What are your Future plans for the Series ?

I can see this Series spanning and evolving over a long period, I have some ideas drawn up for the next installment which may be executed in 2016, though Borderline and Into the Forest are taking priority.

What do you think are the most important qualities a painter should possess to achieve "much" within Contemporary Painting ?

Well apart from being highly skilled, have a extensive knowledge of useful information, on top of that always be dynamic in everything you do. Be very patient masters are not born they are moulded through hardship and determination. The ability to see potential in anything is critical. Be a great observer, many people are too busy to see the World passed their own line of sight so you need to frame it for them. Explain what you do and do what you say. Most importantly keep your word careers are built on trust and mutual respect.