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The title that Ross Loveday has chosen for this show is indicative of his energy and his constant forward momentum. He is always advancing, onto the next step in his artistic journey and onto the next development, whether that be conceptual or technical. Ross brings something new to each of his exhibitions at Eames Fine Art, and he is justly proud of these constant reinventions, whilst also being aware that there must be ‘a coherence which provides structure to my works overall, no matter how different.’ Ross encourages his own innovation by regularly pivoting, making both subtle and drastic alterations to his style from year to year. This high-energy process is sustained by Ross’s own curiosity, which according to him ‘is one of the most important tools: it provides the ability to change.’
Those following Ross’s career will be most surprised by the new abstract, graphic aspect of this exhibition, seen in the print Special Secrets and the painting Flow. Even though Ross has always flirted with the line between figuration and abstraction, these works make the leap into pure form. Special Secrets has the grittiness and colour palette of some of Ross’s earlier sculptural works while eschewing both landscape and the human form in favour of shape and gesture. The mark making in Flow is reminiscent of Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings, but with Ross’s unique flair for nature-inspired depth and texture.
Whilst discussing this new work, Ross revealed that one of his main goals and greatest accomplishments within this new series was ‘to break the horizon line.’ He has been making primarily landscape-inspired works for thirty-five years, each painting or print containing a horizon, even when the piece veered toward the abstract, and he admitted that he sometimes felt trapped by this line. Ross wanted, with this new series, to shatter that barrier—and he has done so beautifully with pieces like Special Secrets and Flow. With this new style, he feels that he has made works that are much more emotional than representational, works that are about Ross himself rather than the land around him. But he adds a caveat: landscape is still an important part of who he is as a person and as an artist, and these seemingly purely abstract works that have ‘broken the horizon’ will still contain references to nature, weather, and water.
Some of the new works also allude to Ross’s past, for example, his print Cascade is named for the village in which he grew up in Wales (also called Penpedairheol). The name of the village comes from a little waterfall, a ‘cascade’, that Ross remembers playing in when he was a child. The process of visualising this print, creating it, and then seeing it again in its finished format has brought many happy memories back to Ross. Of course, this is not the only possible interpretation of the work. We might know that Cascade has to do with Ross’s childhood, but one viewer could love the print because it reminds them of ice and snow, while another could be enthralled with the work simply because of its gorgeous abstract textures and tones. In part, Ross achieves this open-endedness by giving sufficiently vague titles. Ross admits that choosing his titles is difficult, as he wants them to ‘suggest, but no more.’ His favourite pieces of art are those that he can return to time and time again to find a new interpretation; therefore, he wants viewers to have minimal guidelines in their own reactions to his prints and paintings.
From year to year, and from show to show, Ross’s collectors are kept on their toes, and Ross relishes that effect. He gleefully states that he ‘enjoys the theatre of surprising an audience.’ He wants them to be caught off guard with each exhibition—while still knowing, without a doubt, that it is Ross Loveday’s hand that they can see in the marks of the paint and the incised line of the drypoint.
Christine Slobogin, November 2019