Michael Eldridge is a rare master of painting whose landscapes are flights of fantasy, both retinal and mental, which appear to us as an intense energy of heat and colour. He uses a rich and sharp palette and confronts us with layers and surfaces which challenge our sense of normality. The results are improbable visual maps of lands and nature; dreams of an ideal never-land.
He has for some time worked in the shadow of the Sibillini mountains in Le Marche, producing a seemingly limitless quantity of work, only part of which finds itself framed and forced into the world outside of his imagination. He is, too, an excellent photographer and his images in this medium follow his paintings in essence. You not only see them but can almost hear them and feel their heat and smell the landscapes he depicts.
He is an avid traveller and his work is often an amalgam of things he has experienced; rivers and gorges, different climates, lakes and roads along his way. He is like a bird in the air, looking sometimes at a synthetic world as did the Futurists with their aeropitturi; but he flies slowly, precisely measuring and freezing the moment so that the landscape doesn’t slip away beneath your gaze. So his vision penetrates surfaces, chooses its own height and temperature and takes you aside to experience and seize the ephemeral.
From the sky he sees and captures light and energy and plays in the space between earth and heaven and delights in the inter-play between them, not just in the light of day but often in the dark of night.
These arid, bare, landscapes show only a rare tree, sometimes the trace of an animal, but never human presence; a complete absence of human activity; an exclusive relationship between him and the Universe.
His painting is pure abstraction, especially in his use of colour. There is no detectable influence from any school or other artist, except perhaps the ‘Fauves’ in his use of colour and in a looser sense, with the abstract painting of Rothko.
Eldridge is a multi-faceted cultural operator whose significant life experience in Europe, USA and Africa has molded him into a painter whose work reveals a wealth of original ideas that will not fail to arouse interest
Author, critic, curator
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