Blue Swimmer Crab in space, gouache on stonehenge paper, 2018

Victoria Street Seafood Studies 

My fascination with observing and representing colour & light are central to my art practice. More recently evident in my landscape paintings, the desire to use colour & light to represent fish, has inspired this series of works on paper.

The depiction of fish appear throughout art history from ancient civilizations to modern renderings of goldfish by Matisse. In a cultural context, fish symbolise fertility, creativity, rebirth, good luck, transformation, health, happiness and endurance. Fish iconography connects us with the water element and represents a deeper awareness of the inner self.

These paintings are reminiscent of the fish as a trophy. The thrill of the catch out on the bay, and the hope the recreational angler holds, that there’ll be enough fillets to feed friends and family. What is considered a source of food, can also be viewed as an object of beauty (an intrinsic aim of these paintings), as they invite close examination of the surface and colour of these marine creatures.

The fish sourced from Victoria Street in Richmond (Hai Xuoung Seafood), are painted from life in gouache, in the tradition of still life. With the absence of other elements to provide context, the works invite contemplation, allowing the viewer to determine a personal narrative. Space around the fish is designed to create a sense of lightness and isolation. Has the fish evaded capture? Is it floating in space having just been hooked?

I hope you enjoy these fish paintings as much as I enjoyed making them.

Phillip Sayers, artist