Sea Front

Sea Front [1998]
Oil on board, 47 x 45 cm

What interests me is the encounter of the borders or edges of the subjects in each picture. I am curious about the unease in the meeting of sea to town (not sea to city, they are too similar in power), or sea to no-man’s-land…These meetings become potent when seemingly incidental. The views I show are a peripheral, sideways look for all that they are panoramic.

Carol Rhodes [1999]

The six paintings illustrated on this page have been chosen to reflect these words of Rhodes’s about the encounter of sea and land.

‘Sea Front’ was one of the six paintings that formed Carol Rhodes’s first solo show at the Andrew Mummery Gallery. This is the text of the press release for that exhibition, which opened in November 1998. It remains a good introduction to her work.

Carol Rhodes paints small oil on panel landscapes. They usually depict, from above, roads, paths, car parks, bits of scrub land – the edges of urban developments where the landscape has been manipulated. The aerial view, high horizon level, looseness of perspective and abstraction of detail increases a feeling of miniaturisation. Roads and paths are laid out like circuit-boards. There is no obvious point to what is being depicted, no implied narrative. The works possess a marked fictionality. They read as neither “real” or “imaginary” places, but as invented purely painted sites. Rhodes’s working method is highly precise. There is always a single paint layer, often wiped back to the hard white ground. The paint is applied wet into wet and the colours are synthetic, generally muted and possess a cold luminosity. The light in the paintings is strange, unnatural, bleached out. Land, in Carol Rhodes’s paintings, becomes a kind of socio- topographical diagram spelling out the structure of human interaction with nature.