George Rouy's paintings are about human essence

Emma Russell, i-D, September 7, 2023
Not too long ago, George Rouy traded in London for a slower pace of life in the sleepy town of Faversham in Kent. He moved into a 19th-century evangelical church, where he now sleeps below a stained glass window and tends to his sprawling garden, and rented a studio space in a business park a short walk away. The artist could be found there, labouring away on a series of giant figurative paintings rendered abstract by his energetic brushstrokes and a fleshy palette of browns, pinks and taupes. They captured human essence with all of its complexities and frictions rather than people in their truest form.
 
On the summer’s evening I visit, he bounds between the two paintings that remain. The paintings are full of ruptures and tension, breakage points where the stomach would be and a swirl for a face. “Without sounding too spiritual, there's this other that surrounds us,” George says with a cheeky flash of his grills. “I’m interested in when we shut our eyes, and we feel our own bodies, our own weight and anatomy, how we link to our surroundings and the external, and how you think about that in relation to painting.” For the artist, the space around people is as much a part of the image in the way that those interactions can “distort, blur and bleed.”
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