Green Field, Grey Field – Francis van Hout
In Green Field, Grey Field Francis van Hout boils down the modern city landscape. This reduction comes from the artist’s experiences of the changes and recent developments in Christchurch. Green spaces are increasingly boxed in, surrounded by grey roofs, motorways and pavements. These spaces also lose their wild nature becoming smooth planned parkland. The paintings forecast an austere landscape contained by constructed slabs.
Despite the sober blocky forms these artworks are full of detail and life. The scale of each piece invites multiple ways of viewing which alter the experience. Up close the harsh lines and fields of colour have a subtle personality. The lines retain a human touch, counter to the imagery evoked. Similarly, the singular colours contain washes, brush strokes and a reflective quality that brightens each work.
Seen as diptychs the works reflect each other’s composition completing bunker-like scenes. Points and planes meet across the works creating bonds that enhance the structure of each piece. The titles of each work and pair further the comedic irony – a landscape devoid of trees, waterways and hills. Van Hout investigates how we experience and live in transitional landscapes and how we remember what was there.
Prior to the Green Field, Grey Field Cameron Ralston visited Francis van Hout in his studio to discuss his painting practice and the lead up to these works. This interview is available to read online as part of the City Art Reader article series here.