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Malcolm Moseley: Painter
An Exhibition
at Graham & Oldham Artists' Gallery, Ipswich
A review by Andrew Smith

This was a show of great variety and interest containing over sixty works by Ipswich-based painter Malcolm Moseley. I have seen his work many times over the past ten years and this is the best and most comprehensive collection of his work I have seen to date. There is something here for everyone: small intimate watercolours, large bold acrylics, bright and fluid still lifes, cool subtle linear abstracts, and multi-layered mixed media constructions. When you see all the work together you just get the feeling that Malcolm enjoys the act of painting, of using paint and other materials, and exploring all the marks one can make. Many of his paintings are built up layer by layer, presumably over a number of weeks or months. His paintings can present you with busy surfaces of dots, short brush strokes, dabs and squiggles, while others construct spaces containing interlocking, overlapping lines and hovering rectangles creating great depth and a real sense of place, some are architectural in overall form. Some of his paintings construct abstract spaces absent of all literal references, while others introduce a hint of still life artifacts such as vases or flowers, which become apparent within the space of the painting. 'Still Life' Acrylic on canvas, is a good example of this powerful mix of abstract spaces and recognisable though simplified forms: some I could imagine as great stage sets.


Still Life , Acrylic on canvas

A favourite of mine is 'Blue Vase, Red Flowers' (Acrylic on canvas) in which the greenish blue vase appeared to hover, resonating beautifully with the pinks and ochres around it. This represents the more fluid and spontaneous side of Malcolm's work which I think is the most successful.


Blue Vase, Red Flowers, Acrylic on canvas

The majority of Malcolm's works are no bigger than 24 inches high or wide reminding me of the intimacy of Paul Klee's work: this suggests that to create 'large scale' works you do not have to paint big pictures. Malcolm presented a group of small watercolours on paper, some of boats, some landscapes, and a couple showing footballers in mid-tackle: my favourite ones are 'Near Garden':


Near Garden , Watercolour on paper

and 'Odd Boat', both employing the familiar brush strokes, dabs, dots and patterns but achieving an airier, more fluid effect via the lighter medium and white paper background.


Odd Boat , Watercolour on paper

The masterpiece of the show, for me anyway, was a large acrylic painting simply called 'Ocean'. Again it has all the now familiar 'handwriting' but is charged with a greater fluidity and boldness of line. The large sweeping brushstrokes slither across the canvas creating a wonderful watery effect and the branchlike forms hint at the life growing in this organic environment. The dark green and mauve hues, patterns and broad brushstrokes all come together in this painting to create a piece of great depth and mystery.


Ocean, Acrylic on canvas

It's great that we are able to see such strong work in Ipswich and reassuring to know that an artist of Malcolm's talent is living and working in the area, moreso since Malcolm is a lecturer in the Art Faculty at the Suffolk College where he is a keen exponent of drawing and painting of all kinds. This was a fantastic and varied show by one of the best artists in East Anglia: maybe it's time we saw a major show of his work at the Wolsey Gallery or other major gallery in the region: I look forward to that!

--Andrew Smith, February 2002

Images © Malcolm Moseley.

Malcolm's show took place 30th January to 9th February, 2002 at the Artists' Gallery which is in Peel Street off Crown Street in Ipswich. The gallery is supported by the Ashton Graham Solicitors partnership, and is located beneath their offices in Electric House. Here's an extract from the exhibition notes:

Malcolm was born in Birmingham and studied at Winchester School of Art, the Central School and the Royal College of Art, moving to Ipswich in 1984.

He has exhibited widely locally and nationally and the new paintings in this exhibition represent a continuation of long term ideas and ideals.


Heart Ache, Acrylic on canvas