Peter Randall Page – Millennium Gallery to 2 June 2015

On the ground floor gallery ‘Warp and Woof’, a sparkling granite boulder, has become something more than an inert mass. It tilts its weight to one side, its body repeating an intricately cut geometrical pattern which adjusts in scale to fit the form and gives the impression of something living. The mystery is underway.

A room of walnut drawings presents something familiar but reveals its hidden world. peterrandallpage19Charcoal on rugged paper which grips the dust and takes it into secret places, its orifices and intensely black dark corners. Each kernel has its own character, mask-like, pelvic, phallic, totemic, and not entirely comfortable. Walnuts unmasked lay bare their many sides.

Turn the corner into the Kama Sutra – linocuts of walnut kernels, genital, lithe, decisively black and white, Matisse-like. A separate personality in each image; a preoccupied sexual kinship binds them. Black triffid like forms float and beckon from the corner of the gallery – title ‘Fingers and Thumbs’ whose marks, deeply pressed into the clay, suggest spines and internal organs making them both man-made and something of another order.

The top gallery – a flow of ink and pattern. Rorschach drawings with nature and the artist at work together again but this time the image forms from runs of ink drawn by gravity and guided by hand – skins, leaves, deltas and scorpions emerge in apparently simple pattern. Works always refer back to nature and how we read it and ourselves within it.

There is an impression that something has lived in, shed, in some way has been part of the forms Peter Randall Page makes but the finding of that something is impossible. The repeated patterns he uses creates a subtle anatomy and gives them another life but makes them elusive too. He takes something of the world and reconfigures it just enough to leave it intact but to make it part of our own endlessly inventive, searching inner world. He imposes pattern and order and creates a mystery with stunning affluent simplicity.

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