Iain Andrews’ paintings relate to a tradition of painting in the sense of continuation but also, importantly, expansion and extension. His work could be compared with Cecily Brown’s gesturally abstracted figuration, but where Brown’s focus is bodily and profane, Andrews shows the heaviness and pleasure of the flesh through the light of the ‘spirit’ – a practice in its intention and its process far more reminiscent of Rembrandt, although evoking a very contemporary idea of progress and constant flux.
Iain Andrews paintings possess a complexity which comes out of the process, the breaking down and building up of form; they work through their origins in figuration, expressive and satisfyingly painterly but not at the expense of content; these suggestive figures hover on the verge of abstraction, in a perpetual moment of transfiguration. They interrogate the body and bodily – our medium for negotiating the world - and there is that feeling of transcience, of passing through, questioning what it is to be human, and what we may be striving towards or what is sacred to us. The gestures of the paint themselves discuss the physical. There is a figure or groups of figures in a continual slight movement, constantly becoming and never still, in defiance of their fleshiness. But they are painted with compassion, and in their relationships to each other are connections and responsibilities.
The selectors and judges for the Marmite Prize were drawn to Iain Andrews’ painting, ‘The Eat Me’, because of its evocation of humanity and emotion, its depth, and its well-articulated painterliness. Andrews succeeds in his stated attempt to “frustrate the process of recognition through treading a path that plays between the borders of figuration and abstraction, and thus slows down the viewer by creating a space for sensation to emerge.”
Stephanie Moran - Curator of Marmite Painting Prize