My work primarily responds to the theme of intuition and memory. Whilst living in Holland I was moved by the manner of work of both Rene Daniels and Daan van Golden, who kindly came to my studio. In turn I have also visited contemporary artists in London I admire such as Phoebe Unwin to witness their practice and look at the role memory plays as part of a creative stimulus.
The visual narrative of my paintings sometimes draws on recurring themes such as the loss of innocence and the hostility of living within in a globalised community.
Paintings shown at KESTER+BLES Gallery (London) were inspired by my immediate surroundings. Forsaken streets, derelict construction sites and obscure playgrounds which offered seemingly familiar but strangely oppressive environments - a testimony to the fact that these places do not always provide inhabitants with what they were designed to offer: access, shelter and recreation.
There was a formal structure to each work aiming to reflect the stranglehold that architecture has on the urban jungle through what is essentially the manipulation of nature. My initial observational studies at the time often became surreal in an effort to balance what I saw with the information drawn from my emotive experience.
For example Ping Pong was developed over months using an old brush to drag acrylic off the canvas as colour and shapes were built up, leaving threads of paint to become etched into the canvas. The appeal of this subject was the idea of failed collective leisure...for most of the winter this solid concrete structure sits grimly and patiently like a small bunker adorning the odd can of lager. In this particular piece I was searching for a sense of control and tension.
Pool on the other hand was far more eclectic using geometric pattern not so much as to create a rhythm but to establish a kind of barrier in the foreground of the painting. I continue to exploit imagery from earlier sources within my work and in this case the triangular shaped shutters relate back to my French childhood home but also to my encounter with Rene Daniels' bow-tie motif.
‘Dreamscapes’ (White Box Gallery) are a series of recent figurative paintings that represent a new direction in Casper Scarth’s work.
The paintings’ interplay of colour, geometric pattern, and loose, free line has evolved through a three-stage process involving drawing, collage, and painting. The compositions are not predetermined, rather they are the product of the shifts and changes made in response to the processes involved in each phase.
The initial large, labour-intensive drawings are the first stage of finding a visual language with which to think about identity, loss and change. Both alluding to, and wary of, the weight of religious iconography, Scarth’s work draws on personal imagery that has saturated his past – formative book illustrations from his childhood, films he watched as a teenager in Paris, and specific locations where he lives and works in London.
Responding to these drawings through collage provides Scarth with the space to intervene in the narrative impulse, to literally obscure or disrupt that drive through layering or reconfiguration.
The final paintings work to control the graphic surface both to move narrative forward and to push back against it. The viewer’s eye is arrested by the tensions between clarity and uncertainty, between confinement and freedom. We are at once drawn in and held at a distance – like the unexpected animals in the paintings, who appear both ambivalent participants in, and wry observers of, the scenes that they inhabit. (H. Fussner)
'Casper Scarth's works create unsettling narratives that draw upon a series of recurring yet unexpected motifs. His work questions ideas of loss, hostility and the urban, using a visual language that plunders both his past, particularly his childhood in France and later experiences living and working in Holland, and the present, including the streets, building sites, parks and playgrounds of East London. His practice is sensitive to, and in pursuit of, the interplay and tension between assertion and intuitive reaction experienced in the act of making.' (H. Fussner)
'Surrealist paintings draw on recurring themes, often exploring the loss of innocence, lack of freedom, autonomy of the individual and hostilities faced in a globalised community. This is a new body of work that focuses on the artist's locality, where public spaces have been transformed into artificial wastelands.' (Buzz Magazine)
'Prime Cut explores the thin line between hedonism, excessive behaviour and decay. Lifted from various sources of media, these larger than life portraits capture young adults caught in unguarded moments of total collapse. Isolated and stripped of a clear context these colourful paintings give way to an unsettling sense of inner fragility. Scarth's oeuvre amplifies the insecurity of modern living.' (L. Kester)