‘When studying colour in nature and watching how it splits, bounces, reflects and absorbs, I ask myself, “How much am I not seeing?”’
Fred Sorrell’s paintings have their basis in the act of looking. His work is predicated on a rigorous and extended study of light, colour, space and form in nature. Beginning with colour studies and notes made ‘in the field’ Sorrell then works in the studio to distill his perceptions into abstract compositional structures that maximise the dynamic interplay of colour and dramatise the relationship of motif and ground. Using subtle shifts and transitions of tone and colour tied to rhythmic, rectilinear motifs Sorrell seeks to create a viewing experience analogous to that experienced before nature. His abstract images are not merely an objective record but an emotional response that also reflects the fluid dynamism of the experience of looking.
Sorrell’s current working methodology is the result of an extended period of research. After graduating in 2008 he exhibited widely but subsequently stopped showing his work between 2014 and 2019 as he sought to find a new way of working. In the event he abandoned an earlier gestural methodology for a more formally structured approach, finding a paradoxical freedom in working within the tight parameters he imposed upon himself.
While his paintings deal with a highly personal, temporal perception of space, their titles take the viewer back to the point of inspiration. Titles such as Field, Dusk or Late Summer reference a location or season, thus tracing aspects of Sorrell’s inspiration. For Sorrell it is important that his work is connected to the natural world and not seen in isolation. However, As Sorrell says, ‘the paintings are not imitating nature in some way. The colours and forms are my response to it – trying to build a sense of the connectedness of space through light.’ Through this process, he says, ‘there is a point at which the paintings become their own thing...’
Fred Sorrell (born 1984, London) studied at Falmouth College University (2004-8). His most recent solo exhibition was ‘Between Sea and Sky’, Saturation Point, London (2019). He has participated in numerous group exhibitions including at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London, Royal Standard, Liverpool, and Cob Gallery, London. He has undertaken residencies at The Florence Trust, London (2012-13), Takt, Berlin (2009) and Kerel de Grote Hogeschool, Antwerp (2008). He lives and works in London.