The heavy-handed oil paintings of Richard Combes ROI (Royal Institute of Oil Painters, in case you were wondering) are a love letter to the deteriorating and the decrepit, the painting equivalent of a Ken Loach film. Manchester-born, yet now dividing his time between New York and the UK, it’s his hometown that informs his plaintive works most; rain-drenched melancholy and disused spaces are the typical subjects for the internationally-acclaimed artist – Manhattan’s Flatiron Building even looking decidedly Mancunian reflected in a curb-side puddle.
A former architecture student – which will explain his preoccupation with vacant spaces – Combes returns home this weekend, a selection of new works showing at the city’s splendid 2022NQ. Sheffield folk duo Slow Club will be performing an acoustic set at the Northern Quarter creative venue on Friday night, adding a little aural reflection to Combes’ emotive works. Showing until 15th June, there’s not long to explore these subtle, thoughtful works, so move fast.