Statement on Passages_Luke George + Elizabeth Rose

“The theme of the work has materialised through the process of making. The paintings began with the space: the architectural elements of Surface Gallery that particularly inspired us were the residual marks on the walls, resembling the notion of time passing and a trace of “what was”; contrasted with the clean white edges that appear to mark the present time. The old exists simultaneously and harmoniously with the new.


The romance of this notion appealed to us – the walls have existed through many years and with that layers of paint, each indicative of a fresh intention.  Our paintings are always reflections of our intentions: a gestural brushstroke conveys a certain feeling, as does a splatter of precipitated plant matter or a clean layer of gesso. The paintings become surfaces on which we communicate using marks as our vocabulary. The stimulus for these “conversations” varies: it is often suggested by the works’ title but ultimately we want to allow the viewer the freedom to interpret them as they wish.


The rugged nature of the walls at Surface drove us to push the paintings to their limits, not to be satisfied with an aesthetically pleasing painting but to go beyond what we knew and often to destroy what we were most attached to. Picasso said “every act of creation is first an act of destruction”.  It is through this process that the paintings grow their own character and integrity.


We seek to use traditional and plant based materials as we believe that these produce a resonance that is unparalleled, with a vocabulary of abstraction and expressionism. A material that has proved invaluable in the creation of this body of work is Madder, a root that we grind with soda ash and then precipitate using alum salts. It is incredibly versatile and quite unique: it dries in a transparent crystallised formation.”

Luke George and Elizabeth Rose, 2014