Monarch by Kenneth Webb
Oil on canvas, 24" x 36" / 61cms x 91cms
The strength of these mountains appear subdued here in the quiet peace of evening, suggesting a delicacy, even a fragility, rarely revealed. The title Monarch might relate to the mirrored image of butterfly wings, but never forget the sovereign power of this land.
Webb’s favourite places are all where the weather plays freely, unfettered by the resistance of humans, such as the West of Ireland and the open wilds of Dartmoor. There, wind and water shape the land, stripping away the cultivated and superficial and exposing bare rock. Indeed, only the strongest rocks survive the worst ravages of weather, predominantly granite and bluestone. Webb has always loved these rocks. In particular, he is fascinated by the monumental element of the stone against the other elements, and the textural contrast of their surfaces. Most of his rock studies - be they small outcrops or towering mountains - are therefore set against the delicate transparent texture but intense colour of wildflowers, or against the smooth, powerful movement of water as sea or lake. This balance of elements epitomises the harmony that exists in Nature without intervention, and which allows the soul to breathe easily.
Even where Webb undertakes human encroachment, such as a farm or harbour scene, he will surely accentuate pitted, lichen-spotted rocks as reminder of the more powerful forces that cannot - should not - be overlooked.