Rhys Edwards: a millennial master painter
Vitalist Fantasies is the debut exhibition of Rhys Edwards. A primarily self-taught figurative painter, Edwards utilizes techniques informed by classical and academic methods in the pursuit of anti-representational art. Through closely observing certain principles of realism, his practice brings the texture and form of ordinary materials into sharp relief; yet, the taciturn nature of his compositions has the paradoxical side-effect of drawing attention to their ontological ambiguity. Though prompted directly by indices of reality, such as reflections, folds, and shadows – and the vitalistic values associated with them – Edwards’ works turn inward, avoiding reference to any discretely classifiable object. What results is a series of images which reside somewhere between the purely symbolic, the fantastic imaginary, and the literally substantial. Reposed in a gestalt space of their own, their subjects defy easy interpretation. Rather, they propose an aesthetic ethos of silent contemplation.