Karen Brighton attended Solihull Art College, where she trained as a painter, gaining a BA in Fine Art in 2003. She continued her studies to gain an MA in Fine Art from the University of Gloucestershire in 2005. The original ideas for my paintings came after a busy period of working in London (and visiting New York), and being involved in city life. I loved watching the crowds in the city streets. My view is as if through the lens of a camera, compressing the image as a way of understanding something very contemporary about the visual world. Groups of figures play on the eye forming rhythmical patterns of movement. Figures stand out from the darkness, still recognisable but sometimes barely discernible. I often view from above, studying images through glass and rain, exploring the legibility of the image degraded by distortion. As the anonymous humanity is penetrated, it yields more fragments of knowledge about isolated individuals, and groups of figures form rhythmical patterns. By abstracting the image, the actual marks taken separately look undistinguishable, but collectively because of their relationship to each other, are recognisable as being figurative. I have been influenced by scenes from the past and everyday life crowds waiting for a train, queues at the cinema, footage from old films, the camera at war and events through the centuries. Images can be bustling and claustrophobic, yet sometimes threatening and brooding. With the use of colour I have tried to reflect the reality of city images; often very little colour, it could be winter on the city streets in some paintings, or early morning sunlight in others. I use oil and mixed media, often applying the paint with rags, working the paint across the canvas, scratching and rubbing into it, leaving surface traces of physical movement and energy.

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Bettys Tearooms

oil on canvas 27½ x 29½ in £1850

Bettys Tearooms by

York City Streets

oil on canvas 23½ x 25½ in £1650

York City Streets by

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