Axisweb Selects: Iain Andrews


Axisweb, the online contemporary art resource, selects the North’s most promising new artists.

Vestiges of staring eyes, body parts and flesh peep through the gestural swirls of Iain Andrews’s vibrant impasto paintings. Inspired by imagery as wide ranging as old master paintings and Tolkien, and from the harrowing stories he has encountered as an art psychotherapist, Andrews reworks and transforms these original sources, layer upon layer, until the border between figuration and abstraction becomes blurred, and the painting process takes over.

“It is vital that pictures are not sedatives, but are capable of awakening feelings”

Andrews, a Manchester-based artist who has exhibited internationally, has attracted the attention of critics, curators and collectors. His work is intentionally provocative: “It is vital that pictures are not sedatives, but are capable of evoking sensation and awakening feelings… I want my works to be sensuously addictive, worldly and material,” he says. On looking at his paintings, Andrews wants us to think about the relationship between the spiritual (or immaterial) and the sensual or bodily. He provokes this thought process through painting “high art” narrative themes with sensuous, painterly marks.

The artist is about to open a new solo show – called Re-view – at Castlefield Gallery; it’s a chance to see the paintings that have won Andrews national acclaim, such as being shortlisted for the prestigious Jerwood Drawing Prize and winning, in 2011, the intriguing Marmite Prize. These are works that are vivid, disturbing and layered – and are well worth viewing and re-viewing.

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