Alex Gough Finnish/British, b. 1981

“A wilderness exists during the experience of making….”


Contemporary artist Alex Gough has an unconventional and experimental technical approach to painting. To create his enigmatic and colourful works, the artists uses photo inkjet paper with a chemically responsive top layer and the paper’s smooth surface allows high detailed crisp lines and edges to form in the drying paint. Gough’s work is not a representation of nature per se, but rather is meant to evoke the event of painting and working on these large-scale pieces on the floor of the studio “engages a performative bodily experience of painting allowing for a process of oscillation and response to deliberate gesture and chance.”


This process-imbued painterly approach creates vagaries of elemental stars, watery expanses and skies. One feels lost in the shifting layers of light and color that melt and overlap in canvases of luminous nocturnal depth. While there may be references to geological forms, the process of painting is central to the artist’s intent: gravitational pulls, reactions and movement within the painterly process translate into an openness and abstraction of form.


Gough makes his own paints with acrylic binder, and uses adapted brooms, sponges and squeegees facilitating in part control of the chemical reactions of the paints and materials. He is particularly interested in exploiting the possibilities of each pigment and combination of material, addition and reaction. For example, Gough will sometimes add a rusting cast iron powder to create rich oranges and brown hues. The artist also uses magnets to align particles within cast iron paint “making visible the effects of this an inviable force. By tilting, lifting and raising the paper, natural terrains and pools form and create multiple or floating perspectives for the viewer to explore. ”


Gough wishes to create work that functions as an expression of the act of painting. In turn this is also connected to phenomenology — namely the non narratival and tactile experience of the sublimity of nature, and of materiality and sensation. This is not fixed imagery or experience, but rather something as fluidly aqueous and imaginative as the surfaces of his mystical and colourful pictures. 


Rosa JH Berland