Artist Rod Kitson unveils an exhibition of ‘escapist’ paintings that began as a reaction to his life in lockdown.
The brightly coloured work explores mythology, symbolism and delves into memory, with animals and half-human creatures taking centre stage.
Rod, who is artist-in-residence in a former shop at the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, south-east London, which is also his gallery where he works with the public and often paints their portraits, opens his latest show, Blue Lotus, later this month.
“During lockdown, I couldn’t go into my studio or invite people over to my apartment to paint their portraits, so I started having fun painting over old life drawings, and it developed into something more solid over time,” he said.
The exhibition is made up of 30 paintings and the non-realistic style in ink and oil paint marks a departure from Kitson’s representational painting to a more imaginative approach.
He added, “I was thinking about the countryside, the sea, all of the places I couldn’t be… I became interested in mythology and symbolism, I got inspired by imagery from books and TV and working from memory. It was a very direct way of making art. The ink seemed to create the characters on its own, with very little input from me.” Rod confessed that it is the first time that he has painted from his imagination.
“I was keen to use oil paints in their purest, brightest form and the result is a lot of joy and vibrancy in these paintings. They also don’t take themselves too seriously.”
He now reveals these paintings are his favourite work that he has produced.
Why Blue Lotus for a title? “The lotus is a very optimistic image, and I liked the symbolism of something beautiful coming out of the mire.”
The Art of Isolation, Surrey Quays, Redriff Road, SE16 7LL from October 28 to November 7. Free Admission.
Private View 5-7pm on Oct 28 5-7pm, rsvp firstname.lastname@example.org
Open 12-7pm Mon-Fri, 12-6pm Sat, 12-5pm Sun, (5-7pm only on Oct 28)