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Evolver Magazine Feature

The Evolver magazine has published a very concise and considered article on my current art practice by artist and writer Fiona Robinson. I think it captures a real understanding of my process and artistic motivation as well as revealing an interesting interpretation of my paintings from the viewpoint of the observer. My artwork was selected for this feature by winning the Wessex Artist award at the RWA back in October 2017.

Read full article below:

Oliver Teagle’s work is all about surface. Not just texture but the support that he works on as well. As a student he became obsessed with painting, working on large unstretched canvases pinned to a wall. Even at this stage he was cutting areas out and repositioning them onto other parts of the painting. These forays into abstraction and collage have stayed with him. Stepping further away from the flexibility of canvas, he moved to working on board, an even more rigid surface. As his compositions gradually became circular large blank areas were left at the edges of his rectangular space. Logically this progressed into using shaped MDF and his work, call it painting or relief, has consequently become increasingly three dimensional.

Using imagery sourced from the everyday: the residues of other peoples’ discarded lives, urban graffiti and the random thoughts that echo through the chambers of his mind he constructs a narrative that has no meaning. His raw material comes from rough drawings made on scraps of paper, scribbled aide-memoires on post-it notes, his ipad or laptop. Fed into Photoshop these disparate images are layered, moved around, torn, collaged, erased and reconstituted. Teagle creates a digital file from these photo-shopped images and uses laser technology to engrave them onto MDF. The laser burns away layers of wood so that he is left with an incised surface and a tonal image. To this he adds thick layers of resin, wax and acrylic paint.

He uses snippets of text extensively, but jumbled up so that there is a deliberate mismatch in communication. As the work progresses, the layering of imagery both covered and scraped away, reveals glimpses of earlier versions of the painting. These are the secrets that he doesn’t really want to share. His work is tantalising but only because he does not want to reveal too much that is too personal in this hybrid form of autobiography.

Teagle describes himself as a natural daydreamer. He equates the semiconscious thoughts which are enshrined in his works with the drawn mark. “It is a mark-making process, recording the things going on inside my head which don’t getacted upon, don’t get vocalised.” These ideas are very much about the present and can include responses to political as well as personal events, though memory and dream are not part of the equation.

The making process that Teagle uses is unique and has been arrived at through endless experimentation. He is fascinated by the physicality of his materials and is not afraid to make mistakes. He glories in imperfections. They are the lifeblood of such a working method, each subsequent layer waiting to be changed and given a different priority. Evidence of the maker’s hand is a crucial element. Concerned that his initial stages of making too closely echo those of mass production, he follows them with time-consuming handcrafting. He manipulates the laser cut board, deliberately damaging and distressing it,

leaving fingerprints that mar the shiny resin surface. He applies hot encaustic wax, which, once it has dried, can be pulled off like skin or cut or scraped into using a variety of unconventional tools. Acrylic paint will sit happily on the cooled wax but if it peels off, as it sometimes does, he feels that it adds to the sense of authenticity.

For the future Teagle sees his work becoming increasingly sculptural, moving more into construction, using irregular shapes that are bolted together. He still likes the idea of colour and the placing of a super glossy surface next to a matt one but his priority is the making of a unique piece of work.

Fiona Robinson

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