Bridget Riley text

I first saw Liam Spencer’s paintings when I visited the warehouse in Manchester which he shares with other young artists. I was not at all prepared for his studio. The moment I stepped in I was in a different world. The walls were covered with a great number of small paintings, many of them the view across the city. Although it was the same small cluster of buildings which had been selected every time, the different times of day, different seasons and different weather conditions completely transformed their character. Sometimes the view glowed rosy red, laced with cool blues and supported by warm neutrals; at others it lay subdued in a harmony of subtle greys. Whatever their hue, the patches of colour described the whole space in the painting and marked out the intervals between the various buildings as they stretched back from the roofs in the near foreground to the distant hills.

This approach clearly has its roots in Impressionism and early modern art, but what makes looking at Liam Spencer’s paintings today so refreshing is that they very simply and confidently belong to that rarest of all traditions – the tradition of good painting.

Bridget Riley 1996