Figures stand isolated, lost in unfinished landscapes of saturated planes and floating shapes. Bartholomew Beal’s paintings are as open-ended as they are dramatic, as lurid as they are dark, as rich with meaning as they are ill-defined. At only 24, Beal is already a master of ambiguity. It should come as no surprise, then, that he chose TS Eliot’s The Waste Land as inspiration for his solo exhibition at the Fine Art Society. The paintings that make up A Heap of Broken Images refer to specific moments in the poem, but he doesn’t limit himself to literal renderings of Eliot’s words. The text is just a starting point, and Beal is open to the distortions and tangents yielded by the inherently unpredictable process of painting. The result is not just an illustration of a text, but a startling fusing of imaginations.
As the youngest ever painter to have a solo show at the Fine Art Society, Beal looks set to be a leading figure among the next generation of British painters.
A Heap of Broken Images runs until 29 August at The Fine Art Society. Pictured: A Heap of Broken Images by Bartholomew Beal