I have, as an admirer and collector of Ange Mullen-Bryan's paintings, embarked on an exciting adventure in the evolution of her work and while I watch her language develop with impressive confidence, fluency and precision, I see her expanding vocabulary of colour, texture and marks empower and free her to become ever more playful and adventurous.

 

In this exhibition a number of very recent works are on show.  They are her most colourful to date and the most potent that I have seen. The shy hints of warmth of her previous palette have now burst into bold heat and are set to leave a mark on us all.

 

Instinctively we know her landscapes; we have always known these places. These are not only images that evoke Uccello's Deer Hunt, Edvard Munch's Cry or in which we hear echoes of Peer Gynt; they are somewhere buried in us, in our memory and subconscious, somewhere we pause and ponder and where we often return.  Each time we venture in deeper, into the forest of our imagination, we look for a clearing and seek a whole, hidden and silent world.

 

In these paintings the artist articulates the memories filed away in our psyche and takes us on a journey to celebrate our innate sense of discovery and curiosity for the mysterious.  In her world, no one has been seen for a while and there are no foot prints since snow last fell, everything is pristine; we are the first one on the scene.  The crisply drawn silhouette of the shadows, the pure and sharp layering of the paint and the immaculate and still water and sky of the bare canvas all contribute to setting the scene.

We are silent, absolutely still, in awe; this is where it all happened, we know.  All that red is cold in the shade of the dark tall trees in the painting, Bländande-Dazzling/Glaring.  It is eerie and dangerous, yet we are overwhelmed with curiosity and excitement.  The hut on its stilts appeals to us for its warmth and shelter.  No one's in. Who lives there?

 

On the edge of the lake, in Wolf and I, all is still and frozen; all is quiet.  The absence of life is tangible, we are looking at a place most familiar and are unnerved by the presence left by the fire.  Who comes here? Who fishes here? Every one of us.

 

These paintings are evocative and contemplative and skilfully strike a chord in our personal repertoire of memories.  It is the mood that prevails and triggers in us a sense of belonging, which haunts us.  Although we are given clues in many of the works that human life is not far away, by leaving out life itself, Angela leaves us to choose how we wish to complete the scene and gives us the freedom of our own imagination.  

 

Claude Koenig (2012)  

Co-Founder of Pangolin Editions bronze casting foundry.