Robert Mahoney

Critic and contributor to Time Out New York, and d’Art International

Down’s paintings are marked by a sense of touch learned from the tradition of landscape painting transfixed by abstract form in nature, but transcend tradition by exploiting the expressive potential of various techniques and paints, to create an art elevated to the eternal.

Down’s paintings translate nature into a metaphor for the unconscious mind, each one moving higher into a spiritual realm. The latest work features further explorations by Down of archetypal imagery from the unconscious, distantly related to references in the natural world. More emotional and inward turning than formal and descriptive, in these works Down’s mind-hand continuum spirals through dreamy, floating forms, over diaphanous seas of soft color.

Down simultaneously explores various new methods of applying paint to paper, linen or board surfaces and each and every series or individual painting is grounded in the artist’s fascination with the expressive potential inherent in paint.

For his first solo exhibition, Down infused his work with serene understatement derived from Sufi mysticism and classical Chinese painting. Increasingly in his work, Down seeks to create painterly fields which appears to shift and change under the gaze of the viewer’s mind’s eye. Dark blues and purples evoke a mood somber and hopeful in a challenging time.

Down’s work often creates a synaesthetic metaphor for the imagination itself, offering the viewer release from a troubled world into the archetypal regions of the mind.