British painter Richard Stuttle isolates the intense, fleeting beauty of extreme sports in superbly crisp, spectacular and often-vertiginous oil compositions. From pristine slopes in the French Alps, where he spends winters painting and snowboarding, to gritty city streets where he follows skateboarders and parkour practitioners, Stuttle alternates between nearly photographic hyperrealism and a vividly lit and stylized aesthetic evocative of Expressionist woodblock prints. Both approaches suggest passionate reverence for athletes. When meticulously detailed, his paintings pay tribute to the perfected physical and mental conditioning of contemporary athletes in a manner similar to classical Greek sculpture. In the comparatively more dramatic urban scenes, the silhouetted sportsmen become mysterious creatures more akin to superheroes.
In both cases, Stuttle foregrounds the sublime rush of sports like skiing and surfing, transferring their surge of adrenaline to gripping tableaux. Figures are perfectly composed yet simultaneously on the verge of losing control. Stuttle focuses our attention on his sharply rendered athletes, beacons of poise amidst blurred landscapes tumbling off into the distance.