Common Ground


In November 2019, Andrew Roberts and Benjamin Hope will present Common Ground, a two-man show featuring approximately 60 works painteden plein air in various locations around the UK and Europe. Both Andrew and Ben strive to ‘paint the day’ – its transient moments and moods - one of several shared motivations that unite their work.

For Andrew, painting is about suggestion rather than statement. Favouring expansive, rural scenes that feature a lot of resting area and a notable absence of figures, there is a looseness and an abstract quality to his work. He looks to the Blues for a point of comparison: ‘A piece of art and a piece of really grungy Blues should be the same: always on the brink of collapse. In any Blues melody, there is always one note that holds it all together. That is how I want my paintings to be.’

Like Andrew, Ben likes to paint outdoors: ‘Painting from life is my modus operandi – I love the immediacy, the time pressure and the liveliness of the result’. He will sometimes wander around for a long time until he feels ‘that tug’ - perhaps prompted by an interesting bit of light or a juxtaposition of vertical lines - which tells him that a particular moment within a particular scene is ready to become a painting.

Though his paintings have a realist sensibility, Ben is increasingly interested in making the viewer’s eye more involved in reading the work through dynamic and reactive marks. He can embrace detail in bustling street scenes, and then reject it in a pared down view of the Thames. With some of these more sparse compositions, there are hints of abstraction and it is here that Ben and Andrew find their common ground.