De Lank III - Aragonite with Cadmium Red Floating, Oil on Canvas
Studied Plymouth College of Art 1959 - 1965, NDD Painting Special
Elected Plymouth Society of Artists 1964
Elected Executive and Selection Committee Member 1985
Elected St Ives Society of Artists 2005
Elected Chairman 2009
I would consider my painting to be much closer to the natural
world than is at first apparent. It is landscape-based, or more precisely the hidden world
of landscape revealed by anthropologic activity. However, though landscape is the first point
of reference my primary concern is the exploration of colour and texture on the picture plane,
heavily dependent on observation of natural colour relationships and of qualities of surface,
to the point where these become the subject of the work. Reference to scale is deliberately
avoided in order to allow these painterly characteristics to predominate.
De Lank XI - Manganese and Phthalo Blue, Oil on Canvas
Mineralogy and the hidden world to be found in these landscapes-in-miniature have
been a theme I have explored for more than a decade, basing the compositions
principally on the granite quarry faces of Bodmin Moor. More recently this
interest has widened to encompass Welsh slate and limestone quarries and
the volcanic 'tuffstein' of south west Germany. Some of these themes are vigorously
abstracted, others are more demonstrably figurative but the unifying thread continues
to be expression through a use of fully saturated chroma.
I use a technique involving multi-layered lakes and glazes and body colour cut heavily
with a medium. These are applied through filters or masks, allowing for the fortuitous
and accepting an element of surprise, akin to pulling a proof in printmaking. Though
composition is always a first consideration, it rarely subjugates anything impromptu
revealed by a mask's removal. It is absorbed into the composition as a consequence of
process and no longer thought of as random. I would not wish to over-paint the spontaneous
and vital simply because it was not part of the original design: in order to sustain
the painting's life it is much better to find a conclusion by other means.
The 'Quarry Series' exemplifies the modern Cornish School's investigation
into the hidden structure of landscape. Pursuing the perpetual exploration of landscape as a repository
of geological and social history Cann brings venerable tradition up to date with a contemporary relish
for intense, saturated colour.
...[the] work speaks unequivocally about the plastic equivalence between the materials of art and the
physical processes of landscape evolution.
Peter Davies (2007), St Ives 1975-2005: Art Colony in Transition. St Ives Printing and Publishing Co.
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