Callum Innes creates abstract paintings that carry a powerful tension between control and fluidity. Dissolution is central to his practice: layers of deep pigments are brushed over with turpentine, breaking down sections of paint and leaving watery, trace elements, before being painted over again. Repeating this process of painting, dissolving and repainting multiple times, Innes builds depth and a sense of history: oblique panels of dense pigments become embedded and fortified, while tiny trickles or rivulets of liquified paint point to their underlying fragility. This meticulous approach to materials is carried across into the artists’ watercolours and pastels, in which pigment is built up into velveteen layers. Though Innes’s works may seem minimal or geometric at first glance, they are in fact always slightly “off kilter”, governed by imperfectly drawn lines and slightly softened shapes. This fallibility and humanity, put in contrast with the artist’s skill and precision as a painter, results in works of great poetic and contemplative power – cementing Innes’s place as one of the most significant abstract painters of his generation.
Callum Innes lives and works in Oslo, Norway and Edinburgh, Scotland.
Callum Innes has been the subject of solo exhibitions at De Pont Museum, Tilburg; Kunsthalle Bern; Neues Museum, Nürnberg; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; the ICA, London; the Scottish National Gallery, and the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; Modern Art Oxford; the Whitworth, Manchester; IMMA, Dublin, and recently at Château La Coste, Provence (2018). His work can be found in the collections of Albright-Knox, Buffalo; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; Museé des Beaux Arts, Lausanne; National Galleries of Australia, Canberra; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York and TATE Gallery, London.