A Quiet Surrealist
30 June - 21 July 2018
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John Ridgewell (1937-2004), was an Essex native, who studied alongside David Hockney and R.B. Kitaj at the Royal College of Art, before leaving to become a professional artist and occasional tutor. From an early, successful show at the New Arts Centre in 1962 (from which the Government Collection bought Deserted Harbour) Ridgewell exhibited widely during his lifetime. He and his family moved around England, from Yorkshire to Suffolk, via Dorset, his surroundings creeping into and influencing his paintings. From the gestural, heavier treatment of paint in his student days, inspired by the solid clay cliffs of the Yorkshire coast, his works became lighter in terms of colour, but more intensely intricate in their subject matter. Their delicacy was built up with brushes and a palette knife, and one can see the marks of his working in the paint itself.
His pieces are fascinating compressions of art history – in them can be read the early, profound influence of Georges Braque, a hint of British Surrealism in their witty treatment of subject, and the meticulous trompe l’oeil of 17th Century Dutch and Flemish paintings. His influences were many and varied, and despite his desire to be seen as merely a landscape painter, his works are so densely allusive that they transcend their subject. His paintings initially seemed to be attempts to merge his media and the landscape, such as those from the 1960s, where paint stands out from the canvas, and the horizon line is pushed upwards by angular shapes that could be rock strata, field patterns, or Braque’s cubist reductions.
Latterly, these elisions were between the real and the surreal, as in a painting of a sheet, laid out in a receding landscape, with letters that spell out his wife and child’s names. Ridgewell also played with the picture plane itself, creating trompe l’oeil frames from which the painting bled outwards, appearing to wrap the canvas with string and even painting on the back of the canvas itself. In these later works, there is a lingering sense of things drifting into a vague, unknown distance, fading into a pale, almost tempera-like blue. In his final paintings, this blue takes over, in paintings that could be both still lifes or landscapes.
30 June - 21 July
‘From early on, Eilis O’Connell has been a close, attentive observer of form and texture in the world around her or, more accurately perhaps, in the world she inhabits. Inhabits is more appropriate because what comes across again and again in her work is an acutely personal, immersive experience of things, rather than a distanced, calculated interest’.
In 1993 Kelly Ross presented the first solo exhibition in London of Eilis O'Connell's sculpture at the 7000 sq ft 'Gallery at John Jones' in Finsbury Park. Beautiful and poetic, the pieces filled and transformed that space. Now, over twenty years later, during which time Eilis has continued to make work which is endlessly creative, working and experimenting with materials and forms, it is a delight to have pieces by Eilis in The Art Stable, Dorset.
Eilis O' Connell was born in Derry, N. Ireland in 1953. She studied at the Crawford School of Art, Cork. (1970 - 74), Massachusetts College of Art, Boston ( 1974-1975) and Crawford School of Art ( 1975-77 ) where she received the only award for Distinction in Sculpture that year.
Other awards followed, the G.P.A. Award for Emerging artists 1981, a fellowship at The British School at Rome 1983-1984 and a P.S.I. Fellowship for New York from the Irish Arts Council. While in New York she won a two-year residency at Delfina Studios in London and was based there until 2001.
From her London base she exhibited widely and won many public art commissions, She received the Art and Work for her sculptures at 99 Bishopsgate from the Wapping Arts Trust, and in 1998 she won a Royal Society of Arts Award. She has represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale in 1982 and the Sao Paolo Biennale in 1985.
The majority of her commissions are in the U.K. the most significant being Secret Station made in 1992 using bronze, fibre optic light, and steam for the Cardiff Bay Arts Trust at the Gateway, Cardiff, Vowel of Earth Dreaming its Root , a 12 meter high Kilkenny limestone sculpture for the London Docklands Development Corporation at Marsh Wall, The Isle of Dogs, London and Pero Footbridge a rolling bascule bridge 54 meters long designed in collaboration with Ove Arup Engineers, London.
She has completed 2 sculpture commissions for Lismore Castle in Co. Waterford.
In 2002 her large bronze, Unfold, was lent by the Cass Foundation to the Venice Biennale and her smaller sculptures were shown at the Guggenheim Museum. Since moving back to Ireland she continues to do commissioned work abroad and has begun doing commissions there, the most notable being Reedpod a 13.5 meter sculpture in hand beaten copper and stainless steel for Lapps Quay in Cork, commissioned by Howard Holdings. She has set up a large studio in a renovated creamery in the hills north west of Cork city.
She is a founder director of the national sculpture factory in Cork, a former member of the Arts Council of Ireland, a member of Aosdana, and a member of the R.H.A
Including work by:
Georgina Allen, Peter Archer, Charlie Baird, Richard Batterham, Samantha Cary, Michael Cullimore, Brian Hanscomb, Sophie Herxheimer, Felice Hodges, Eilis O'Connell, Howard Phipps, Tobit Roche, Peter Sedgley, Celia de Serra, Nick de Serra, Lesley Slight, Gigi Sudbury, Anna Teasdale, Yo Thom, Amanda Vesey, Michael Williams, William Wright, George Young
25 May - 23 June 2018
William Wright, Theodorskirche, 2018, Charcoal and pastel on paper 45 x 57 cm
Scratching the Surface
21 April - 12 May 2018
In these recent paintings Dorset based Charlie Baird continues his exploration of landscape from the southwest and his native Scotland. Referencing memory of place, time and light, they range from the figurative to a more abstracted sense of mood through texture and composition. Whether translating the fleeting light upon a landscape or exploring the history beneath its surface, these paintings evoke a lyrical balance between these themes.
One Hundred Thousand Cuts (and other stories)
24 February - 24 March 2018
One Hundred Thousand Cuts (and other stories) is my third solo show at The Art Stable. Each picture is a narrative, an evocation of the landscape rather than a diligent reproduction of the view. There is always a story to the scene, the intention is for the viewer to enter and find it. This appeals to my deep seated enjoyment of all those illustrated stories I read at as a child. As an artist I look for this same quality but my attention is also drawn to the lie and flow of the land, unexpected colour, traces of past use (modern or ancient), texture and form.
20 January - 10 February 2018
Eileen Agar, Peter Archer, Edward Ardizzone, James Bostock, Stephen Chambers, John Buckland Wright, Marc Chagall, Prunella Clough, William Crozier, Robyn Denny, Mary Fedden, Andy Goldsworthy, Tom Hammick, Matthew Hilton, David Hockney, Albert Irvin, David Jones, R.B.Kitaj, Ken Kiff, Edwin Ladell, Ursula Leach, Robert Medley, David Nash, John Nash, Ana Maria Paccheco, Sigmund Pollitzer, Paula Rego, Brian Rice, Ceri Richards, Michael Rothenstein, Allen Seaby, Peter Sedgley, Tara Sabharwal, Hiroyuki Tajima, Italo Valenti, Georges Valmier, Bill Viola, William Walcott, William Wright, George Young
2 - 16 December 2017
Land, Sea & Trees
4 - 25 November 2017
Pastels & Copper Plate Engravings
4 - 25 November 2017
16 September - 14 October 2017
illustrated right: Downland Field Strip, oil on canvas, 60 x 80 cm