Drawing has always been a primary interest of James Riches'. Completing his Bachelor of Fine Art (majoring in drawing) at RMIT in 2008, this has taken him down various paths exploring illustration, observational drawing and conceptual ideas of a contemporary drawing practice. His long held interest in the tradition of oil painting now forms the focus of his current art practice.
There has been continuity through these explorations of a somewhat dark, vaguely idyllic notion of landscape in suburbia. These environments are rarely unmarked by human presence or behavior. The idea of a park, a footbridge, the walk home through an industrial estate, may have composed his life to some extent – and consequently the content for making art.
The most recent paintings have been developed from photographic reference and drawing material collected over the past decade and backyard observations during lockdown. A complex garden view of rambling foliage and sheds is suggested in paint by a darkened abstract foreground and dramatic late afternoon skies, carried further by the possibility of what lies beyond. Never painted from direct observation; imagination and time turn these fleeting lightscapes into compositional studies.