Gloucester artist Christopher Steele's latest exhibition is an homage to his university days, as he revisits a practice he discovered during his masters research.
"I came to a point in my practice where I realised there are things I can do by hand that I can't do with a computer and there are things I can do with a computer that I can't do by hand, so I decided to extend the boundaries of mark making, which was the focus for my masters," Christopher said.
Essence opens at the Gloucester Gallery on Thursday, July 16 and is a recently created body of work which continues his exploration of the integration of analogous mark making combined with digital media.
"Mark making in this context refers to combining techniques, so I draw and paint and photograph, and then print images then work back into them post printing," Christopher explained.
"In the current body of work I have worked over the top of photographs with watercolours. It's difficult to work into a glossy/semigloss photo with as the surface is doesn't absorb any medium, so to get something to work over the top of the photo is cool," he said.
His works are compositions of water, trees and the female figure. Vertical lines are overlaid and used as a metaphor for life, energy and sustainability resulting in a range of diverse colourful images designed to engage the viewer to look in more depth for the subtle representations of the female form.
"I have always been a colourist because to me colour is life and energy," Christopher explained. "The female form is an ambiguous symbolism, standing for pure natural beauty as well as the origin of human life, mother earth."
The works are very complex and offer lots of avenues for interpretation, a concept tends to engage the viewer.
"The more time you spend looking at the work, the more you see."
Essence runs from Thursday July 16 to Sunday, August 9 at the Gloucester Gallery, 25 Denison Street.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, there won't be a public opening for this exhibition, but everyone is encouraged to come into the gallery and check it out during opening hours. The gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am until 4pm and Sunday from 10am to 1pm. Entry is free.