“The clouds are like golden tea, and underneath the limbs flow rhythmically, the cupids blue feathers beat musically, and we dally and dip our spoon in the golden tea”
Simon Casson’s 2022 Autumnal exhibition at Long & Ryle Gallery, seamlessly blends the lightest powder pink peony boudoir frippery of Rococo, with a darker inky palette of deep mesmeric Folklore, inspired by the rural Somerset setting of his studio, alongside a language of wider European sensibility. As the pioneering forerunner of a revolutionary form of figurative painting, an evolution of the Classical, the Rococo; a Fragonard reborn entwined with a radical Richter, Casson made a profound mark on the new wave of British narrative painters launching on the scene.
Amongst the smeechy cider orchards of stumpy trees holding close their diminutive, bone hard apples, within the ancient lands of Hardy’s fabled Wessex, lies Simon Casson’s atelier. Beneath the floorboards of this chimerical theatre, brazen in their glorious beauty, the paintings elude description, allowing a marriage of skill thought lost to long dead generations and an intensely contemporary knowingness.
The glaze is sometimes shielded and other times positively glares with impunity at the interloper viewer. Perhaps the players are crossing the phantasmal threshold from a 17th century faux farmyard or a Dickensian tome to parade across the canvas. Liminal doorways step between intense emblematic figuration and pure abstraction, causing a frisson across the piece. Swaths of luminous paint, lay upon flesh, pawing at dainty ribbons, revelling in the dance.
Old West Country dialect bequeaths another lime-layer, with paintings christened with lyrical songs of a yesteryear. Poetic frisky additions to the narrative, they intensify the quixotic nature of the beast with chronicles romping. gluttonous paint mountains sit aside bottles fit for an alchemist’s reverie.
Unveil the players, leave the poetry in disarray and uncloak the ciphers, Casson has mastered the language of exquisite painterly virtuosity. Arrive at the canvas and you are met with pulchritude and the attar of Somerset woodsmoke, adorned with a sleek Boucher bow.
Sheridan Casson 2022
Published by Long & Ryle 2022
Introduction and essay by Sheridan Casson
17 colour photographic catalogue
Design by Graham Rees
On line publication UK