'Most of all colour is a journey of surprises, it resonates in our deepest sensibilities, expressing beyond words how we feel about ourselves. It is the most sublime of poetic experiences. So, learning to read colour is a wonder, but to express ourselves within colour is something else entirely.'
The work of Richard Kenton Webb is rooted in the Romantic and metaphysical traditions of the great English landscape painters and takes its primary inspiration from the Cotswold landscape in which he lives.
He has lived in Gloucestershire for 25 years and lives and works in an old coach house near Cirencester. He is an artist and also a teacher: currently a senior lecturer in drawing and applied arts at the University of the West of England, he has also taught in some of the finest art schools in the UK, including the Slade School of Fine Art and the Prince of Wales Drawing School in London. Webb has been awarded several international artists in residence programmes to Italy and Paris, the most notable of which was the Boise Travelling Scholarship to Rome. With two prestigious stained glass window commissions in the Gloucestershire churches of Eastington and Leckhampton and ten solo exhibitions, Kenton Webb's work can be seen in many public and private collections both in the UK and Germany, Italy and the USA.
Webb works across different mediums, from drawing and painting to printmaking and sculpture. Since 2000 he has been fully absorbed in an epic project to explore and understand the movement and language of colour. For Webb, colour operates as both a language and form. Like a piece of music, colour causes us to respond emotionally and it is this response that he seeks to draw out in viewers of his work, through extensive and persistent research into the natural intensities of different hues and pigments.
Webb exposes the metaphysical and synaesthetic qualities of pigments and creates a dialogue between colour and movement that speaks in an intuitive way. He makes all his own paints and inks for use in his paintings and linocut prints. Like Renaissance artists he uses pure and often rare pigments, sourced directly from the earth in places all over the world, like Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan and Smalt from Egypt, and ground by hand before being mixed with binders and mediums.
Webb's colour project is monumental and unlikely to be completed for many years to come. He began working his way through the spectrum with variations of Red and Orange and is now moving towards the Blues. Each colour family is represented in large paintings and limited edition linocuts that are a freehand drawn version of the paintings, made from the same hand-ground pigments, which of course behave differently across mediums and techniques.
Webb describes his work as a visual poem: a dialogue between an artist and their medium, which is simultaneously an exploration of the meaning behind colour (the medium) and a translation of the artist's research for the viewer of the work.