Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

He Begins with a Story and Lets It Slowly Unravel; Characters Who Begin as Tightrope Walkers and Others Who Fly Much Too Close to the Sun. DAVID WHETSTONE Enters Dale Atkinson's World

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

He Begins with a Story and Lets It Slowly Unravel; Characters Who Begin as Tightrope Walkers and Others Who Fly Much Too Close to the Sun. DAVID WHETSTONE Enters Dale Atkinson's World

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID WHETSTONE

THE latest exhibition by Dale Atkinson has opened in Newcastle and it will beguile and intrigue in equal measure.

All those strange figures in his drawings and paintings. Who are they? What are they? Seemingly always on the move, they look like the shape-shifting characters in a half-remembered dream.

Dale was born in Sunderland and studied at the city's art college and then at Newcastle University.

He has exhibited widely, though regularly in Newcastle throughout his career, and his work is in collections in this country and also in America, Australia, New Zealand and throughout Europe.

He lives in Rowlands Gill and is at once down-to-earth and attuned to the magic that's all around us - a bit like David Almond in the world of books and storytelling.

You don't look at one of Dale's paintings and know exactly what it's telling you. They are not paintings 'of' things.

When I ask if he plans a painting out before putting a mark on canvas, he looks askance.

"That would be boring," he says "It's much more exciting to see where a painting takes you. I take pleasure in colour and line.

"I tend to work on a few paintings at the same time but sometimes you have to put one aside and come back to it later.

"You can get so close to a painting that you can't really see it properly."

He works instinctively and says he hopes the things he's interested in are conveyed to the viewer by means of a sort of auto-suggestion, which is to say subconsciously.

He indicates a painting which could feasibly be 'read' in different ways.

"It began life as a tightrope walker but it wasn't just about a circus act. It was as a metaphor for the way we approach life in general.

"I've called it Night's Unravelling after that time at the end of the day when the things that got you through it start to dissolve and suddenly you're on your own, unravelling."

There's a painting called Feathered Man which would seem to allude to the legend of Icarus who flew too close to the sun which melted the wax keeping his wings in place so that he tumbled into the sea.

It's a great story, says Dale, who has referenced it before in his work. …

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