Natalie Ashett

Solo Arts Exhibition presents Robin Tinkler @ Holmeside Coffee

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The smell of paint and turps reassures me that I’m in the company of a working artist when I step inside Robin Tinkler’s garden studio; my first sweeping look round the atelier reiterates that fact, the whole space is packed with endless canvasses, frames and colourful paintings in deep piles against walls.

Often working from still life, I’m relieved to see that there’s an absence of roadkill in Tinkler’s studio today, although that doesn’t stop him from pointing out the far corner; where he often hangs pigeons and magpies that he finds in nearby fields. After hearing this, I notice the darkly colourful magpie paintings in the room; which provide a contrast to the singularly colourful paintings of gladioli, which he tells me he paints every year when they come into season.


When pressed about his work and inspirations, Sunderland artists Tinkler is inclined to answer with “well, they’re just paintings.” I’m inclined to think that “just paintings” is a way of Tinkler playing down his knack for making Tunstall look like Tuscany. As he points to some of his paintings and tells me which part of Sunderland I’m looking at I can glean a feeling for the place but cannot fully recognise them or pinpoint any to an exact location.

As Tinkler explains to me, his work is “not photography”, as an expressionist painter he describes how his paintings are intended to create images that take reality into account but present it from a different angle. I get a quick-fire lesson in how the western perspective differs from that of artists in China and the Far East. In the east, painters experience a landscape by walking through it, building up distance on top of itself rather than losing distance to the horizon. When walking down a street, this approach leads to the houses seeming like they’re piled on top of each other instead of disappearing into the distance.

Robin 1

Seeing the process of an artist’s work is often as interesting as the final product. Tinkler shows me small sketches, calling them studies, which he tells me are on pages of the Radio Times; he likes the way his oil pastels glide over the shiny paper, sometimes using something already printed on the page to build a picture around and over it. When I ask why the Radio Times, I’m told “because it was there” which to me is as good an answer as any.

Robin Tinkler’s oil and acrylic paintings will be shown in the month-long SOLO Exhibition at Holmeside Coffee and INDEPENDENT in Sunderland, the exhibition opened yesterday (March 30), Robin Tinkler’s work will be on display until Friday April 3.

SOLO Exhibition @ INDEPENDENT and Holmeside Coffee.

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