The Fletcher Gate Art Gallery is currently presenting a group exhibition titled The Magic Four, with artists Tom Voyce, Arny Schmit, Viktor Rebernak and Giuliano Cardella. These four artists come from the best art academies around the world. Among these artists, the work of Tom Voyce is particularly important. His series of paintings titled In transit is a highlight of the show.
Approaching the exterior of the gallery, the first visible works are some of the paintings by Viktor Rebernak displayed in the showcase. One table in particular; curious love (2021), features figures of doctors and medical staff in hospital settings, with an ethereal dreamlike aesthetic. The work seems quite poignant in a time of COVID-19 restrictions where we all have our minds on health issues. Doctors appear almost like guardian angels in an otherworldly setting and the title is very curious in that sense, asking us what kind of things we should love and value in society. Rebernack’s work resembles other members of The Magic Four collective. Artists Arny Schmit and Giuliano Cardella have works on display that have a similar dreamy quality to this one. These artists use the paint thickly and densely applied. In this way, the artwork has a raw physics, with a skin-like finish. It gives layers to the work, both in terms of meaning, and also in the physicality of the painting. While addressing themes of society and health care, the paintings have a more esoteric and deeper quality, touching on deeper subliminal and subconscious thoughts.
Tom Voyce is a young artist and won Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year in 2017. This is the second time his work has been featured at the gallery. He is known for his bright, realistic paintings of landscapes and cityscapes. His series In transit features scenes of airports, train stations, roads and bridges, and other places of transit; that is why it is named so.
His work speaks of time, place and architectural form. He blurs the lines between the figurative nature of painting a scene and the act of constructing a scene by painting it. The strong, solid straight lines in his work that trace the precise perspective lines and shape of buildings result in the entire scene being transformed into one large construction.
…the paintings have a more esoteric and deeper quality, touching on deeper subliminal and subconscious thoughts.
There is a formal quality of studying the elements of composition in his work. He also has a very romantic side. He talks about time and place and captures small fleeting moments in scenes; the light falling on a building or the shadows cast on highway flyovers. This sense of time is also felt in the warm, vibrant colors he chooses to use, which have a nostalgic quality to them. With glowing amber sunlight, long shadows and classic urban scenes, it captures the imagination and makes the viewer reminisce about places they might have visited in the past.
Tom Voyce’s style seems to bear a strong resemblance to the work of early 20th century American artist Edward Hopper. In fact, there’s a book on Hopper’s paintings in the gallery next door. Hopper had an intense interest in architecture and captured how architecture could frame a scene as well as any picture frame. He was also able to capture life’s little moments in an almost cinematic way, with all the drama and ambiance captured in a single frame. Voyce’s work also emerges from 1960s American modernism where artists like Diebenkorn and De Kooning attempted to capture the visual experience of the three-dimensional world in the concept of flat painting. His work has an American touch in this way, but it goes beyond “American master” because his work has a different abstract quality.
His paintings are like travel postcards, it plays on the theme of In transit. Postcards are like memories and his work has a reflective and dreamy feel. This answers the question why someone might choose to paint a scene. For Voyce, it’s about capturing a moment or a feeling at a particular time and place. It reminds us of how places have a particular feeling attached to them, both in terms of ambiance and general appearance, but also as a place with specific memories attached to it. In this way, Voyce’s work goes beyond simply depicting a scene, rather he wants to capture a sense of time, place and memory and share it with the viewer.
[Voyce] reminds us of how places have a particular feeling attached to them, both in terms of mood and general appearance, but also as a place with specific memories attached to it.
The show has self-awareness, with a reflection on its own constructed qualities, but it also brings self-awareness to the viewer, and that is its merit. It raises questions about where we are as a society and how we judge ourselves. This left many unanswered questions to ponder. Questions about how we might think about the time we spent during COVID-19 restrictions, questions about our values as a society, and the deeper personal question of how we should reflect on memories. Tom Voyce links memories to places, but of course a lot of people couldn’t travel, so perhaps Voyce’s work suggests a way to use memories like postcards or physical objects to link places. memories. Introspection has certainly been a dominant psychological state during the lockdowns, and the work has addressed that very strongly, so it’s very timely and deep. Many people have built memories in the social media and images involved. As art galleries reopen, we are invited to reflect on this and are also able to reconnect with the physical world and its real imagery.
The Magic Four is currently on display at the Fletcher Gate Art Gallery.