Victoria Achache – Works on Canvas

24–29 October 2022

PV 25 October, 6.30–8.30 pm


Victoria Achache. HAMBLEDON HILL. Oil on canvas. 102 x 122 cm. £4,800
Victoria Achache. BLUE RUNNING FIGURE. Oil on canvas. 82 x 122 cm. £5,000
Victoria Achache. LARGE STILL LIFE. Oil on canvas. 76 x 91 cm. £3,800

This summer and autumn The Gallery will be hosting the distinguished artist Victoria Achache for two separate shows in June and October. This is an exciting opportunity to view both her works on paper and canvas and her exploration with both oil and print. The fresh and energetic nature of her prints compliments the depth and vibrancy of her paintings. Achache is a champion of abstract compositions and a master of colour and shape. 

Achache first realised how much she enjoyed painting after making stage sets at school. In her first year of drawing at the Byam Shaw Art School, the emphasis was on reacting to materials, which suited Achache perfectly. She realised the importance of colour, and that the real you can’t be taught how to use it, so she learnt by trial and error. At this time, Matisse and the Abstract Expressionists influenced her early abstract works. 

“I like to start a painting in quite a random way with areas of colour. Gradually, figures began to enter the paintings. I have always liked that area where figuration and abstraction cross over and there is some ambiguity. I like to react to what is on the canvas so there is a feeling of discovery, and I won’t know where it will end up. The figures are always from imagination and memory rather than from life.

I like Richard Diebenkorn, an American painter who moved between abstraction and figuration. Also, Roger Hilton for his freedom with drawing, colour, and humour. I am interested in how we experience a figure or any object in space, and how to remake that experience through drawing and colour without using a photographic image. I think that colour can produce an emotional intensity, rather like chords in a piece of music. I hope that the paintings will have a feeling of vitality and of being alive.

A printmaker friend showed me how to make prints with drypoint and chine colle. It’s a very direct way of making a print and can have a feeling of spontaneity. A drawing is made directly onto a plate and printed with black. This drawing will remain and each print in the edition is hand-painted on Chinese paper with the black drawing printed over it. This means the drawing remains the same but the colour can vary.

I have enjoyed the rigour of printmaking where you have to be definite in what you want and in these prints the two elements are colour and drawing, the two elements which I find the most important.

As for the difference between working on paper and canvas, I try to respect the different properties of each. On paper I like to use charcoal and acrylic paint, using the white of the paper as an important element. I’m always looking for a spontaneous feel and a freshness. This has a parallel in the prints. A painting on canvas tends to be slower, with more changes. I often start with acrylic paint and move on to oil paint. I like the idea of lateral thinking, and if a painting isn’t working I’m ready to make radical changes. Those often turn out to be the more interesting paintings, with more depth to them.”

This collection of work is a continuation of everything I have done from the beginning, making figures in space, space in landscape and still life. I hope they can give a feeling of the experiences we have which are not expressed in words, maybe a mixture of inner thoughts and outer impressions, and hopefully with humour and liveliness.