“Painting alone, remains adventurous!” These words are as relevant today as when spoken by the great Russian painter Nicolas de Stael before his untimely death at 41, in 1955.

A spirit of freedom runs through Simon Royer’s paintings and they can be read at more than one level. At first, we are invited to view them in challenging ways where space is created and defined by the subject, the placement made emphatic by fine draughtsmanship, skills that extend to his portraiture and mural works. Colour is representational, heightened and refined with subtle uses of layered pigment suffused with external light and internal dimension, only a confident, reflective and skilled artist attempts and succeeds in reconciling these varied aspects simultaneously, the real world and another beyond. It is these qualities of “going beyond” mirrored in de Stael’s phrase that sets Simon Royer apart from the boundaries of conventional wildlife subject artists, for example. The lateral scope of the work extends this theme and his search for adventure and freedom becomes ours too, the experience of his art the more potent for it. Above all, it is an artist who is functioning as he should.

Charles Southen BA.