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Before the Gathering Storm - SOLD

Before the Gathering Storm - SOLD

By Rosalind Robinson


Oil on canvas

Original artwork


Framed size:  H:70cm x W:35cm



Three figures stand in a seemingly impenetrable field of grass, the stems whipping around them in the wind, while storm clouds gather above. They are searching for a way out - or do they seek answers to the existential threats posed by climate change, pandemic and war?


One of them looks out of the picture to the right, the middle figure looks to her neighbour and the left-hand figure looks out of the picture plane, shielding her yes from the sun to get a better view.


The setting is another of Rosalind's ambiguous scenes. Are they trapped or are they exposed in the open space? Do they look for a route out or are they fleeing a pursuer? Questions of fate, destiny and control are woven into the surreal narrative. 


"A pivotal moment came about ten years ago when I was reading a book about the painter Edgar Degas in which he was quoted as saying, 'We were created to look at one another weren’t we?' This seemed to me to be a profoundly moving question and motivated me to begin to observe more closely the people around me.


"Since then I hope that my work has been progressively evolving as I continue to examine the possibilities of expressing human interactions in figurative painting."



Another version of this painting was sold in Bath in 2021.



    In art, the direct gaze can be compelling, disturbing or disarming, offering frank emotional engagement. But, in life, in our remote and digital age, this vital physical connection between us is increasingly absent .


    Rosalind Robinson is a figurative painter who seeks to redress the balance. In distinctive and arresting images, laden with symbolism, she explores personal space and human proximity – or distance. The imaginary, sometimes surreal, portraits she creates convey the mystery and ambiguity implicit in facial expression and the tensions between individuals: we, the viewer, are held in the figures' gaze and wonder about about their story and their relevance to the present day.


    One of Rosalind's trademarks, emanating from her theatrical roots, is the extraordinary way she completes the costume and identity of each figure with a headdress that replaces hair: she gives many of her figures a paper or ribbon-like head form which she paints based on full-size models that she makes, meticulously, from twisted and folded paper. The faces morph into these structures and the head-top adornments become part of the symbolism and characterisation of each figure.


    "I started out adapting my love of natural form to paint hair that looked like tree bark or roots and then I moved into adapting still life forms. It was a progression and gives me plenty of scope to adapt style and shape to each figure, group or series."


    Her award-winning work is represented nationally and internationally in public and private collections, and is exhibited regularly in London, Bristol and Bath. After studying for a BA in Fine Art in London, she was a scenic artist for the BBC before pursuing a career as a mural painter.


    Since 2010, her focus has been on producing paintings and drawings in her studio. She was elected as a Member of the Society of Women Artists in 2017 and in 2020 she was elected as an Academician at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol.

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