22 August – 8 September 2012: Ian Wells – Risk & Certainty


Gallery 3

The artistic works of Ian Wells are primarily concerned with paint and the act of painting as an end in itself. Balancing the notion of risk taking with the certainty that comes from experience is a core tenet in his work. His process oscillates between embracing moments of serendipity, chance and accident and relying on known quantities. As such, the picture plane is a constant site of negotiation.

Wells produces modernist work of a self referential nature that is concerned with the formal qualities that occur within the parameters of the pictorial field. The proportions of the picture plane are intuitively selected for their awkward dimensions, frequently referencing a root square or root cube ratio. By contrast, previous works incorporated the golden ratio, ISO ratios or cinema screen or aspect ratios such as ‘Panavision’.

Engaging with the rigorous science of century old traditional painterly techniques, the artist’s practice demonstrates an intimate relationship with materials. This resolute commitment to process is evident in the diverse array of mediums used, these include hand ground pigments, watercolour, oil paint, Indian ink and metalpoint that is applied to a gesso ground, frequently bound with linseed oil, gum arabic and casein.