Artist biography

English painter. She studied in London at St Martin's School of Art (1975–9) and at the Royal College of Art (1980–83), where she completed her MFA. Her paintings are densely worked and evoke the landscape. Cardinal (1984; see 1984 exh. cat., p. 9) and Mortal Coil (1984; London, Brit. Council) are sombre depictions of crevices and mountains. Using thick paint and evoking a darkly sensuous mood, the pictures also suggest bodily features and surfaces. Much like the art of Frank Auerbach or Leon Kossof, her work shares with Neo-Expressionism a sense of the mythic and symbolic while escaping the empty rhetoric of that movement; she went on to employ a delicate and virtuoso painting technique that suggests a considered, contemplative practice. Bedrock (1990; see 1991 exh. cat., p. 11) takes the surface texture of rock as the starting point for a visual field that suggests the coalescing of one form into another. Such illusions are the result of her procedure, by which the surface of the painting is gradually covered from one edge to the other. Oulton went on to create complicated palindromic forms as in Trista I (1998; see 2000 exh. cat., p. 5). Her interest in repeated forms was extended in paintings that allude to strips of film negatives: Still and Slow Motion (both 1999; see 2000 exh. cat., pp. 11–12) are typical in repeating four delicately rendered forms against a neutral background.

Bibliography
Landscape, Memory and Desire (exh. cat., essays R. Ayers and T. Godfrey, London, Serpentine Gal., 1984)
Thérèse Oulton: Fools' Gold (exh. cat., essays P. Gidal and C. Lampert, London, Gimpel Fils, 1984)
Thérèse Oulton: Paintings and Works on Paper (exh. cat., essay A. Renton, Venice CA, L. A. Louver, 1991)
Thérèse Oulton: Slow Motion (exh. cat., essay J. Slyce, London, Marlborough F. A., 2000)

FRANCIS SUMMERS
10 December 2000

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