Brian Neish is fascinated by painted surfaces, particularly surfaces having to endure the extremes of sunlight, wind, frost and rain.
His work is ultimately about time and invites consideration of how time impacts upon us – the stages in our own lives from childhood to adulthood and old age, phases we all go through, experiences that seem to form us one way or the other..., and the evidence of these experiences buried or covered over only to be peeled away again when we pause to think about memories and the journeys we have all taken.
In recent years his work has sought to reveal these ideas through allegorical references to the ageing and worn out surfaces on architectural features such as walls, doors, shutters and panels, particularly those that have had to endure the elements over extended periods of time. He calls the appearance of these debilitating effects ‘Noble Decay’ to suggest a sense of them displaying increasingly expressive visual qualities over time.
Initial ideas usually develop out of the close study of these features, especially in ancient hilltop towns in Italy and France. His work does not refer directly to original architectural features, rather he processes compositional ideas gleaned from them, and attempts to express something of their essential nature.
The layering of paint, colour and texture is an important process for him. He aims to express the actual properties intrinsic to oil paint as a medium in its own right. The artist explores the pull and push between the his own artistic control and the paint’s innate, surprising qualities. The artist never removes paint once it is applied; his practice is all about the considered application of paint, each layer at a time. Each series of treatments, conducted over many months, reveals surprising and unexpected moments.
Brian set up his own home and studio in the High Peak, returning to Derbyshire in 2014. Prior to becoming a full-time artist in 2010, Neish worked as a Senior Lecturer in Art Education at LSU College of Higher Education and the University of Chichester. This followed his time in Primary Education, specialising in Art & Design. Brian graduated in 1985 with a First Class Honours Degree in Art & Education and later completed a post-graduate year of study at Dartington College of Arts in Devon.