Martin Leighton is one of my favourite artists whose fascinating work I would happily surround myself with. Although perhaps not everybody’s cup of tea, his plain use of light & shadow flash sudden, vivid colour into his paintings, transforming a seemingly basic portrait of the female form into infinite notions of hardship & sensuality.
“Gypsy” is a particular favourite of mine, red splashing across her polker dot underwear & the chair she straddles which initiates a dramatic contrast to the gloomy, dark blending of green shadow behind and beneath her.
To me, this represents a personality of youthful liveliness & fun which lighten an inexplicable burden of experience streaking her life with heaviness and destitution. Despite this, I find it difficult to view this subject beyond a girl, as her posture and beauty still ring a peaceful sense of adolescent innocence. The angle of the chair towards the light reveals her aspiration towards hope and purity and whilst it suspends her above the illicit darkness below her, the red chair composes a barrier between this life, with a brazen reliance on the bed which supports her.
– Charlotte Owen, University of Sussex