For me painting operates as a hermetic portal between an instinctive inner and outer reality as if operating as a pineal body. The act of making a painting is important, one decision leads to another as the work becomes realised by applying paint directly wet into wet. I draw out the subject using whats at hand, brushes, charcoal, rags and fingers twisting and turning the paintings until images reveal a cliff edge or a space containing bathos and absurdity something both divine and decrepit. I invent painted narratives involving corporeal figures occupying preternatural landscapes and stage sets. They are falling or about to fall apart often in a state of transformation, reverie or catatonic breakdown referencing holy men or hermits drawn from northern european medieval painting.
I have also performed as The Baron Gilvan,
‘A dispossessed Mitteleuropa aristocrat, landed up on the shores of Blighty clutching only his paintings and his hopes, The Baron is concerned with only the intensity of life itself, and the beauty of the ideal. He is raw, unflinching, and utterly sincere, a compact of all that is magnificent’.
The Baron was originally conceived as a conduit for my own creativity, a governor of all of my works, the character through which it all must flow.
‘Touching, tender and funny. We could have filled the seats twice over.’
Elizabeth Gilmore, director Hastings Contemporary
‘With his debauched marionette’s face and terrifying magnanimity,
The Baron is a creation that makes dingy rooms glow.’
Robin Ince, comedian and broadcaster
‘The Baron is a rare bird; one with little ego and one who realises life is too short for irony or cynicism. His work comes blazing from his heart – sublime and ridiculous, beautiful and dangerous.’
Gary Goodman, painter and poet.
‘To me, the Baron is about the exploration and validation of personal experience, life in all its conflictual and unintelligible glory; in short, quality of life.’
Daniela Petrassi, audience member and collector
It was awesome! There were a hundred and twenty two paintings! The house was white and everything inside was white , except the paintings. There were paintings on the walls and paintings on easels. He has got really big paintbrushes. I like the big easels. There were black paintings and coloured in paintings. The Baron told us that artists do paintings on boards sometimes and in books and everywhere and he really likes painting! He did a painting at the station by my house and Ive got one of his pretty colourful ones with pink and yellow and it looks like fire and dinosaurs and it makes me feel happy.
by Barnaby Sadler aged 5 Catkins class visit to The Baron Gilvan’s studio.
Chris Gilvan-Cartwright is a graduate from Central Saint Martins (BaHons first class), Academy Fine Art Cracow Poland ( Painting under Prof. Nowosielski) and University of Brighton (MA Fine Art). He won the Royal Overseas league Travel scholarship where he painted in India and Nepal. On his return he was commissioned to design the BBC Proms logos for two seasons. He has exhibited widely and performed as The Baron Gilvan at the Towner Museum of Contemporary Art and Jerwood Gallery now Hastings Contemporary.