Ceri Thomas reviews David Tress by Andrew Lambirth

David Tress

Studio Publications, £35.00

David Tress has been a growing presence on the British art scene for many years and this glossy hardback is the largest publication on him to date. It emerges as the artist turns sixty and the back cover tells us it ‘is the first account to deal with all aspects of his career in detail’ while it also claims ‘to fully explore the cultural context of his thought and achievement’.

Running to over 230 pages, it is certainly extensive and it contains nine, copiously illustrated chapters which take the reader through the landscape painter’s career chronologically but with an emphasis upon his most recent work. This linear sequence is usefully broken up by a first chapter, ‘In the Studio’, which introduces the reader to Tress’s working practice, a fifth chapter titled ‘Interlude about Drawing’ and an eighth one which is an interview with the artist by the author Andrew Lambirth dating mainly to early 2014.

Tress’s abiding passion for the landscape is established from the outset by the book’s vivid sap green covers derived from a mature work. The earliest work illustrated dates to 1963 and it too is a landscape. As we move through the monograph, we learn that Tress’s assured, and apparently spontaneous, mature style has been hard won. The underlying disciplines of drawing and close observation date back to his student work of the early seventies and to his highly detailed, Andrew Wyeth-like paintings of the eighties.

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