With a practice ranging between painting, drawing, ceramics and jewelry, Brian Illsley's work lies somewhere between the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th century and the St Ives group of the 1950's & 60's. With a visual language deeply rooted in abstraction, Illsley continuously refines his lyrical and atmospheric gesture, seeking, as Mel Gooding suggests 'to avoid the premeditation that precedes production'.
In both the Hoxton Suite and 10+2, each set of drypoint etchings makes apparent Illsley's engagement with the materials and processes of this simple, direct process; the heavily worked plates giving the resulting prints a quasi sculptural quality. His intuitive, gestural mark-making is contrasted with a systematic cross-hatching, both of which draw the prints closer to his painting practice.
Through the use of the drawn, incised mark and, in 10+2, the layering of multiple plates, a conversation between each variation is developed in which form, objects hinted at but never entirely stated, is created through line alone. The physicality of their making, clearly apparent on the printed surface, contrasts with the bitter sweet use of colour and tone left by the seemingly random abandonment of ink left over the surface.