The life of the British artist has been guided by contrast
Durães-West, a British born artist living in Portugal, is holding a solo exhibition at MAU | Urban Art Museum, Taguspark, Oeiras, Lisbon. The show runs until October 22 and entrance is free.
The life of British artist Justin West, also known as Durães-West, has been guided by contrast. He grew up in Saudi Arabia, but, at an early age, he went to study in an English public boarding school. He returned to the Middle East to work and moved to the Algarve 10 years ago.
His work is divided into three series – “Dark Matters”, “Blue” and “What You See is What You Get” – which, as the artist explains, “are based on themes that cover depth, expanse, darkness, light, life, death and how contrast allows us to measure our experiences”.
The “Blue” series explores the many hues of blue, showing a strong influence from the city and seascapes of his art studio in Ericeira. He is a keen travelling surfer, sailor and free diver. “Like many of us, the sea is captivating. I couldn’t stop gazing, transfixed by its colour, its depth, its vastness. I had to capture that colour but also the mystery of the deep and the feeling of expanse. It is easy to imagine the Portuguese explorers feeling a reverence and draw to the blue horizon.”
In the “Dark Matters” series, we see the contrast theme beginning to emerge. The paintings feature gestural mark in dark tones and smaller plains of receding, brighter colour. The artist intends to convey that, “in life, there is always some kind of pain or darkness. Thank the pain for the lessons it gives us, but there will be light, and we must thank the darkness as it highlights our brightest moments”.
In the series “What You See is What You Get”, the artist experiments, with greater detail, gestures and plains of colour. The series is a journey of understanding plains of colour and contrasting mark, how they contrast and yet attempt to exist in harmony.
His artwork is created using high quality acrylic pigments and spray acrylic mediums on 335gsm canvas.