Artwork of the Month: August

August's Artwork of the Month has been chosen by Maxine Relton RWA. She has picked Restless Zebras by Neil Murison RWA (Hon) from the RWA Permanent Collection. Maxine writes:

In all Neil Murison’s work, the sheer verve of his brushstrokes is in evidence: we readily sense the speed, pressure and purpose of his hand. I love the dynamic movement, the embodied drawing and the strong compositional structure intrinsic in his work.

In Restless Zebras, the artist keeps us also moving ceaselessly around his subject: the ripple of the zebras’ markings are picked up by the spare black lines of tree branches which frame the animals so successfully on either side and more subtly, form the triangle of warm colour which lies at the heart of this strong composition. The third effect of these linear diagonals is to lead us into the blue-greens beyond, whirled into a circular dance of thorn bushes. We might find ourselves trapped in this vortex were it not for the conga of slightly darker, more defined swirls that catch our eye on the right, leading us out and back down to the pinnacle of the yellow pyramid marked with a larger, almost central, shrub.

The warmth of the yellow hues is brought out by muted violets; more dramatically, the vivid blue on the left is intensified by its complementary orange below, which in turn is sustained by the quiet crimsons adjacent. The last pair of complementaries, red and green, plays a minor supporting role on the far side.

Murison has resisted adding still more to these visual ricochets by providing instead an unmodulated border of neutral colour top and bottom of his canvas. And so the momentum begins afresh: from this quiet baseline, the brisk, broken strokes of foreground grasses whisk us up and around the zebras, the whole propelling process skilfully enacting the essential restlessness of his subject.

Neil Murison's painting will be on display on our upstairs landing throughout August and up until the end of In Relation: Nine Couples who Transformed Modern British Art and Togetherness on 9 September.