I am a landscape painter. Not a painter of scenic beauty or topographical views: but a painter of nature. I believe that the medium of painting, like poetry still provides the onlooker with a direct communication.
My work as an artist is profoundly influenced by travel. To travel, is different from going on holiday. I don’t travel to find the perfect landscape. Notions of the sublime are no longer the holy grail of the artist. However the restless nature of traveling, the constant expectation of the next sensations all inform and help the artist make the work.
As an artist, it is not possible to speculate ‘what’ will produce the work. Hockney says about his recent Yorkshire landscapes that it is the spontaneity of time, place and influence that produces the work. In other words you cannot pre-plan the work but only place yourself in what you consider to be a stimulating environment and know from retrospective experience that you will succeed.
This is well elucidated by Simon Schama: ‘Conscious remembering is historically less significant then the visceral memories registered sensuously by the human body when we seek to explain landscape and its capacity to move us individually,’ Schama (1996) -Landscape & Memory, Vintage Books.
Today, a lot of the thinking that comes out in my work has developed through my friendship with Denis Cosgrove, (Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Geography, UCLA) Our numerous conversations about the nature and implications of landscape have been very influential, not only in the way that I understand landscape, but in the way that I convey that understanding in my work. Some of these issues concerning the fabric of landscape include cultural and historical values which influence human understanding of nature and landscape, as well as ideas of nature explored and understood through Quantum Theory and Plate Tectonics. Powerful forces inherent in nature and landscape, felt but unseen. We stand at the edge of a huge accumulation of fact and esoteric knowledge. In the twentieth century, artists no longer represent landscape from a single topographical viewpoint. The driving force has been to gather together as many threads as possible, and somehow make the painted image resonate both aesthetically and intellectually. These, and many other issues, are fundamental to our role as artists.
“So landscapes don't come easy. Adrian Hemming's physical labours in landscape are always evident in the final image; memories resonate at the very surface of his paintings. He ploughs materials across his canvases, scraping and layering paint with fingers, palette knife, brush. Confronted by the topography of oils and glazes that texture these landscapes, I am put in mind of a roughly worked field prepared for cultivation: here wet in late winter with clods of sticky clay reflecting metallic blue against a dull, blustery sky, there dry and terracotta red between old olives under a fierce August sun.” Prof. Denis Cosgrave. (Landscapes of Memory and Desire. 2002)
Adrian Hemming - 2007