ISBN: 9781848220232 • Publication: April 28, 2009
Martin Holman, preface by Michael Sandle, and afterword by Paul Greenhalgh
DescriptionTerry Setch is a painter recognised in Britain and abroad as one of the most consistently radical artists of his generation. His work has never ceased to confound the standard prejudice for 'good taste' and for 'high' against 'low' art. The volatility in his technique embodies the unpredictable flux of material, imagery and interpretation.
Born in London in 1936, Setch first came to prominence with the artists of the short-lived Leicester Group whose forms of presentation questioned conventional distinctions between sculpture, painting, design and printmaking. Moving to Cardiff in the mid-1960s, he evolved a highly personal aesthetic that was nonetheless indebted to modernism, especially to Jackson Pollock.
Through a sometimes ironic approach that filtered advanced styles through domestic interior design back into his own art, he came to terms with American Pop art. Then around 1971 he embarked on several generations of paintings derived from his dual response to the coastal environment of south Wales and to his artistic inspirations - the work for which he is best known.
During a career of over 50 years, he has constructed three-dimensional objects; incorporated beach detritus into huge paintings; mixed oil paint in unorthodox combinations with synthetic wax; used carpet, sailcloth tarpaulin, Styrofoam and polypropylene sheets as supports; and introduced plastics, chalk dust, heat and corrosive fluids into a very tactile process.
The notions of 'time' and 'home' have always been important creative influences on Setch. Paintings have often allegorised the risks facing the well-being of man and nature from pollution, war and nuclear catastrophe. His pictorial language relied on metaphor, gesture and surface to expand the significance of an image beyond its own particular moment.