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Emerging Talents Programme:

Tom Robinson


15 September – 17 October

The Long Gallery, Messums Wiltshire

Exhibition goes live at 10am on 15 September
For advance information and a collector’s preview please register interest:

Register interest


Messums Wiltshire is delighted to welcome Tom Robinson to our Emerging Talents Programme and to present a body of paintings in our Long Gallery this Autumn.

Painting in his light-filled studio on the north Norfolk coast Robinson’s abstract oils evolve over months, to create complex, rhythmic planes of overlapping colour and space.

He starts with a one-dimensional idea of colour and form and gradually establishes a structure and colour key, describing his work as ‘reaching for something hovering behind the surface of the drawings’. The paint is applied thickly, soaking brushes in pots of paint rather than a palette. Then reworking the paint, scraping it back with chisels or small planes of wood.

It often takes over a year to finish a painting and Robinson places great importance on time for contemplation. He works surrounded by paintings at various stages of completion. It is an instinctive yet considered way of working. Each painting is balanced and compact, elevating rather than mitigating the tension and pure energy of his mark-making. His understanding of colour is subtle and often surprising. Colours bounce forwards and sink back, giving them a three-dimensionality akin to a carved relief.

Reliefs are important to Robinson’s understanding of rhythm and surface when painting. As a student in London sketching the collections in the British Museum, Greek and Assyrians reliefs soon became a favourite subject, and this understanding of composition and perspective has remained constant in his painting.

Titian, Matisse, Kossoff, Auerbach and Bomberg and among an extensive array of painters who are important to Robinson. Categories of representation and abstraction are unimportant here- this is paint, gesture and colour on canvas. He is a dedicated reader of literature and poetry and music is important too, particularly concerning rhythm in his paintings. Perhaps more surprising is his interest in virtual reality and art being made with technology that. Yet free from the history of painting and other art forms, it is finding new ways of creating imagined space. However the history of painting is important to Robinson. The set conditions or expectations leave a space to slip under constraints. His is also an imagined space; detached from any reference to figuration or topography, it is sculptural, fractured and overlapping.

Tom Robinson grew up in Dorset and trained at The Royal Drawing School in London. He moved from London to Jersey before settling in Norfolk where he now lives and works.