As with many artists of his generation Derek Couturier originally rejected painting in the 70s as 'elitist', and moved into more contemporary mass media modes of expression, including graphics, film and theatre. These popular media had the potential to reach a much wider audience and suited artists like Couturier who had an interest in a politically engaged art.
Couturier has rediscovered painting again in the last few years and is fascinated anew at its limitless possibilities. Non-representational art has become a major area of exploration and experimentation for him. 'Without external references I find that abstract imagery can 'speak', through purely visual means, of things beyond imagination, of things yet to be articulated. It opens a spiritual dimension that I find utterly compelling.'
However, in stark contrast, Couturier also pursues representational themes in paint, graphics, print, 3D and video pieces. But where the abstract work has a metaphysical dimension, the representational work is rooted in a material and all too human world.
Where the non-representational work aims to evoke an open ended subjective response from the viewer through the suggestive power of its abstract imagery, the representational work focuses on the specificity of its imagery. This imagery has a point to make and wants to communicate it clearly and emphatically using an unambiguous visual language which is delivered with energy, bite and humour.
Video is an important stimulus for Couturier, the genres of the ad and the music video give him free rein for subversion. There is often a symbiotic relationship between the video and other work: Couturier will have an idea for a video which generates research, drawings and paintings, these in turn lead to independent work. Conversely drawing, print and painting projects can result in an idea for a video.
Following the strong, positive public reaction to his work, Couturier now wants to develop additional strategies to make his work more available and accessible outside the confines of the gallery.
CV & Education
Qualifications and training
1988 - BSC (hons) Applied Biology (Ecology), University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield
1975 - BA (hons) Fine Art (Painting), Central St Martins, London
2013 - "Sublime to Ridiculous", The Brindley, Runcorn, Cheshire
2013 - "The Power of Poesie" (touring show), Oriel Ynys Mon, Llangefni, Angelsey
2011 - "The Power of Poesie" (touring show), Oriel Ceri Richards, Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea
2011 - "The Power of Poesie" (touring show), The Courtyard, Hereford
2009 - "The Power of Poesie" (touring show), Theatr Clwyd, Mold, Clwyd, North Wales
2010 - "Zeitgeist", Down to a Fine Art, Chester
2009 - "111 Show", Down to a Fine Art, Chester