Isle of Wight Loft Studio

Constructing The Realm of Abstract Realism

In the end, where does that leave the work of Conway-Hyde? His work and palette have often been likened to Impressionists such as J. M. W. Turner, a glance upon his seascapes evoke a colour field of Mark Rothko, the minimalist lines reminisce on that of Bridget Riley and Gerhard Richter; however, none of these truly encapsulate Conway-Hyde’s distinctive stylings. Conway-Hyde’s work exists in a liminal space. Much like “L’ heure bleue” he works to capture in his art, between these styles of modern art bordering between the abstract and figurative of his subjects. Through evolutions of photography, painting, and even emergences into the realms of mixed media, his work embodies the ebbs and flows of the natural world.  In his own take on a reductionist approach, he develops his own style, an Abstract Realism, formulating scenes from nature using techniques from abstraction.

Constructing The Realm of Abstract Realism

Where abstraction has historically simplified, obscured, or convoluted images in order to reimagine the way in which they are perceptive, Conway-Hyde digs deeper into the use of coloured lines, dots, and regions of colour to manipulate a form and minimalize its complexity through the illusion of flattening. In doing so, his depiction of the natural world using the two-dimensional, geometric, and ordered line to subvert the notion that these elements are somehow unnatural, antiemetic or an abstraction of the real. The work becomes a visual adaptation of the twentieth-century psychological school of thought, the Gestalt Theory. The theory presents that the complexities of the natural world are impossible to capture in their entirety; therefore, a multitude of minuscule elements must come together to form a coherent picture of the whole.

From the Gestalt Theory, abstract visual artists have taken to creating simplified representations accentuating the individual parts in order to force the viewer to identify patterns and sequences; allowing the viewer to prescribe meaning to a seemingly random cluster of colours or grouping of lines.  Nonetheless, abstraction in modern and contemporary art has come to be defined by individuals such as Damien Hirst with his spot paintings who utilize abstraction techniques to create works that disrupt reality and become perplexing arrangements of miscellaneous components. In Conway-Hyde’s novel approach to balancing figurative representation with abstraction, he challenges the contemporary approaches utilising his artistic autonomy to ensure no colours in his works are random, all dictated by the scenes from nature they emulate.