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China Town V
China Town V

2006, Oil on wire on board, 50cm x 65cm

Caged Bird
Caged Bird

2017, Oil on wire on board, W120cm x H120cm x 14cm

Big Late Night Lemonade Moment
Big Late Night Lemonade Moment

2014, Oil on wire on board, 103cm x 121cm

Self Portrait IV
Self Portrait IV

2016, Oil on Russell's boots, W62cm x H28cm x D28cm

Large Odd Sock Monster
Large Odd Sock Monster

2016. Oil on wire on board, 101cm x 107cm.

Plinth III
Plinth III

2008, Oil on wire on plinth  

Lingerie X
Lingerie X

2016, Oil on wire on board, 40cm x 85cm

C²

2012, Oil on wire on board, 56cm x 48cmx 10cm

Soho IX
Soho IX
2010, Oil on wire on board, 43cm x 75cm (including shelf)
Wonderful World
Wonderful World

2015. Oil on wire on Mio's shoes, 50cm x 24cm x 7cm.

Tondo Landscape
Tondo Landscape
2012. Oil on wire on board, mounted on easel, 92cm x 173cm x 79cm.
The God Particle II
The God Particle II

2012. Oil on wire on board, 90cm x 90cm.

Neighbourhood X
Neighbourhood X
2017, Oil on wire on board, W80cm x H100cm, Mount: W90cm x 105cm
Favela
Favela

2012, Oil on wire board, 139cm x 72cm x 10cm

Wrath of an Indian Summer II
Wrath of an Indian Summer II
2014. Oil on wire on board, 142cm x 155cm (including shelf).
Little Boxes XIV
Little Boxes XIV
2017, Oil on wire on board, 44cm x 83cm (Mount: 55cm x 85cm)
The Happening
The Happening
Oil on wire on board, 59cm x 80cm x 10cm, Mount: 68cm x 88cm.
Downtown Kowloon
Downtown Kowloon

Electrical findings, 145cm x 202cm x 25cm.

Chunk
Chunk

2008, Oil on wire on board, 66cm x90cm

Gnab V
Gnab V

2017, Oil on wire on board, W60cm x H81cm (Mounted)

Neighbourhood IX White
Neighbourhood IX White
2017, Oil on wire on board, W52cm x H74 cm (with Mount: 60cm x 80cm)
Light Slab II
Light Slab II
2015. Oil on pins on board with floor panel and the artists tins. 136cm x 180cm x 30cm.
Tin Flowers VIII
Tin Flowers VIII
2016, Oil on wire in tin on board, D25cm x H25cm x D30cm
Neighbourhood Close

Imagine a city devoid of its people.

Not somewhere bleak and decaying, but a city whose inhabitants had lived lives so vibrant, so full of energy that the city they left behind couldn’t help but reflect that energy.

Casting your eye over the surface of one of Russell West’s works and letting it be drawn into the interiors created by its many layers takes us on journey to that city. As with any painting we start with visual impact it makes.

Make no mistake about it, Russell’s works are beautiful to look at. There is enough here in the interplay of colour, light and shade – both figuratively in the pigment used and literally arising from how the base medium is arranged – to keep us occupied far longer than many other artists working today.

These paintings look impressive. Russell invites us to think about the physical act of making them, how he controlled the flow of pigment across the base medium, a lattice of wires, mathematical lines and their extension into planes parallel and perpendicular to the wall behind.

Light Slab II Closeup

But Russell goes further.

Starting from a transformative moment in 1993 when he witnessed the destruction of the city of Kowloon, he takes us on a journey to the city of the future. Imagine if every building of a city reflected in its colours and shapes the life of the people who lived in it; how they lived – alone or with others – maybe found love, maybe raised children; how they cared and were cared for, ate their meals and shared food with one another; how they kept some things private and made others public.

Imagine a city whose inhabitants were set free from the constraints of the city of today; where planners and architects designed buildings which could be reconfigured; where engineers delivered materials which could be customised; where building codes kept us safe but didn’t constrain us.

And while you’re thinking about that, come back again to the physical painting in front of you, because Russell has something else for us. When we look at the flow of paint in an action painting we are taken back to the instant of its creation, and the same is true of Russell’s work.

Gnab Close Up

The pigment which flows through his sculptures flowed over many hours.

The tools by which he could exercise control over the finished product are the same as for any other dynamic artist, but the end result arrives more slowly. Even after it has left the gallery and is hung on the owner’s wall the painting is still hardening.

So finally, perhaps, this thought has something to tell us about how cities evolve. We make our home in a physical structure; we paint the walls and arrange the furniture, we knock through walls and build extensions. For many years our homes keep us safe.

But eventually we pass them on to someone else and the city changes again; this small record of our life is recreated, always new, a living document of the lives we lead.

Tim Cooper

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