'Robert Lang's paintings take some unpicking. In them, photographic sources, transcribed in swathes of streaky paint, lose their clarity, like Polaroids de-developing. Figures appear in snatched fragments or at a distance, engaged in ambiguous outdoor activities - digging, camping, starting a fire - ahistorical actions that nonetheless allude to something post-nuclear, something apocalyptic.
Thinned-down paint is dabbed on uncertainly, unsure of what it's describing. It bleeds and fades: there's something insubstantial about it. The paintings' supports - linen, oak and canvas - emerge through the paint like the bottom of a river. There's a sense of impending loss, of something slipping out of memory, dissolving.
Neurotic photo-based painting is nothing new, but what gives Lang's works their heady charge is his use of rich, bodily colour. Lush purples and greens and turquoises evoke the fade of a sun-blanched photo and give the works their strange romanticism. There's a heat to the paintings that connects them as readily to David Park or even Delacroix as to Tuymans or Richter.
In Fumble (2008), a figure bends inside a kite-shaped hole. Paint, applied in cautious little stabs, prescribes its own descriptive limits. It does what it can. In places it has the urgency and awkwardness of finger-painting. Something wants to be said, but can't. Lang's paintings deny themselves complete descriptive facility: they can't find the right words.'
Ben Street 2009
CV & Education
Qualifications and training
2008 - MA Fine Art, University of the West of England, Bristol
2013 - Das Wird Sich Alles Finden, TBC, Cleveland, USA
2012 - Angelika Open, Angelika Studios, High Wycombe
2012 - Maarten van den Bos, Jaap de Vries, Robert Lang, Appels Gallery, Amsterdam
2012 - Painters Embassy, Appels Gallery, Amsterdam
2012 - The Searchers, Centrespace, Bristol
2011 - Deptford X Open, Core Gallery, London
2011 - Fade Away, Gallery North, Newcastle
2011 - Hasenheide Art Projects, TBC, Berlin
2011 - Open Painting Show, Motorcade/Flashparade, Bristol
2011 - Remote Viewing, Motorcade/Flashparade, Bristol
2010 - Artworks Open 2010, ArtWorks Project Space, Blackhorse Lane Studios, London
2010 - Exeter Contemporary Open, Exeter Phoenix, Exeter
2010 - Fade Away, Transition Gallery, London
2010 - Salon 2010, Matt Roberts Arts, London
2009 - ArtSway Open 09, ArtSway, Sway
2009 - CGP Open, CGP London, Southwark Park, London
2009 - Overview: Modern Painting, Elysium Artspace, Swansea
2009 - Particles / Particles, Surface Gallery, Nottingham
2009 - Salisbury Drawing Open 09, Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury
2008 - MA Show, Spike Island, Bristol
2011 - Cieplice summer studio, Hello Collective, Jelenia Gora, Poland
Competitions, prizes and awards
2009 - Prizewinner at CGP London open, CGP London, Southwark Park London
2007 - Prizewinner at the CGP London Open, CGP London, Southwark Park, London
2004 - Innes Wilkin Art in Architecture Prize, UWE Bristol, Bristol