Cotterill’s paintings are known for their confounding compositions reflecting ever-changing, buzzing thought processes, firing synapses and corroding systems. Rooted in art of the 1950s and 60s, he nevertheless employs a wide range of techniques from art history to achieve paintings that oscillate between acting as illusions and solid, concrete objects. This tension in the work, where depth and surface are tangled together, is achieved through a myriad of different, layered paint passages. Paint is mixed with marble dust, wax, chalk and resins to form broken, architectural peaks or deep, receding vistas. The work denies the eye to rest on these surfaces and resolve these paintings in any way, asking instead for a dynamic, active form of engagement.
While continuing to embrace this disorder, in certain new works forms are emerging from the visual cacophony. Reminiscent of ancient symbols, sculptural altarpieces and motifs from nature such as root and stem structures, these forms speak of a more centred, contemplative response to the themes of unpredictability and doubt in Cotterill’s practice.
Stranger Paintings, SHSK Residency Show, 2019