Exhibitions

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URSULA LEACH

From Where I Stand

12 June - 10 July 2021

I walk and draw in the landscape almost daily.  Drawing seems to me the first step to really seeing and understanding the territory.  As some  particular combination of colour and shape alerts me I stand and draw.  It may only be a fleeting moment of visual excitement, in fact  it is sometimes  something seen from the car in a flash and I have to return to exactly the same place at the same time of day to find that combination of colour and light again having marked the place with a stick to know where I stood.

To start with I just respond to the subject but as the work progresses in the studio the ideas and meaning develop along with much editing and I find out what it really was about that subject that caught my attention.

There are three strands of work in this exhibition. One to do with current agricultural practises on the downs, large areas of one colour denoting monoculture, aridity, erosion. Things placed on the edge of the image indicate possible sidelining, disappearance, fragmentation.

Recently, now living near to a softer landscape I have become entranced by the abundance of trees and this work has become more celebratory and even more about colour.  Placing one colour against another I hope to produce the feeling needed to recreate the intensity of a visual experience.

Colour is the main preoccupation as it also is in the third strand of work which is about Greece and its’ seas and mountains.

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CELIA DE SERRA

Run Deep

12 June - 10 July 2021

I live in a small village in mid Wales, near Offa’s Dyke, nestling in the foothills of the Cambrian mountains. I’ve always lived and worked in the countryside and my art practice is very much about the natural world.  Although I began as a painter, I returned to drawing about 10 years ago. The drawing seems to have become my main focus - there is an immediacy and directness about it that I love; the marks, the tonal variations, the capacity to build up layers and depth without any confusion of colour. I use graphite pencil and charcoal (compressed/willow charcoal and conte, depending on the image) and predominantly work in my studio as the drawings are very time consuming to make - there are a lot of minute alterations and interventions that happen before the image ‘pops’.
 
I spend a lot of time exploring the countryside with my camera and sketch pad.  I look for images that have something about them.  A sense of place is very important, so is the atmosphere created by different light effects - the way light can transform something, or illuminate a scene in a curious, otherworldly, or dramatic way. I never know what I might come across when I’m out and about, or what one idea might lead to. It’s a constant process, and I often return to the same favourite locations year on year to experience changes in the weather, mood or light; or find things in the landscape that have been left or altered.
 
In this exhibition I have included drawings of one of my favourite places - the Iron Age Hill Fort of Lewesdon Hill in West Dorset.   There is a distinct sense of history amongst its ramparts, the ghosts of ancient civilisations etched into the landscape.  The mixed broadleaf woodland that clocks the slopes of the hill is sympathetically and lightly managed by the National Trust and is a haven for wildlife. An old drovers road skirts along the western edge of the hill and avenues of knotted beach trees are abandoned hedges which now grow in strange and contorted shapes. It’s an incredibly rich environment to draw.
 
The other drawings in the exhibition are from a new favourite place - the River Fowey at Lostwithiel, Cornwall.  Again, it’s a landscape that has seen huge changes in its history. Lostwithiel was once a very active port -  the harbour is gone now, and the river is sufficiently silted up to produce a slow, meandering flow to the sea. Trees line its bank, and if you’re lucky you might see the blue flash of a kingfisher.  The area that was the town dump, where land and water meet, is now a nature reserve bounded by two rivers and it’s here that I have found more rich subject matter for my work.

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GEORGE YOUNG

Outside/In

1 - 29 May 2021

My work starts with a real event or situation and often through several versions of paintings, it moves from being more directly representational to a much more constructed composition. It is a process of stripping out the inessential and expanding on the more painterly and symbolic elements. 

These paintings are largely painted during lockdown, so there’s a lot of latent energy and emotion. I was drawn to painting things shrouded in dust sheets as a symbol of life in stasis but as it is beginning to feel like we’re coming out into a spring time so there is quite a lot of colour and optimism showing through the drab.  

My work is diaristic because I’ve found that the paintings come out better that way, if I have direct knowledge of the subject and emotional interest. The trouble has been what do you paint when you’re not able to go out much. The work has been focussed inward for a year but there’s plenty to look at and analyse. The best thing about it has been the ability to examine these spaces as psychologicaly loaded.

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THEO MENDEZ (1934-97)

Paintings, drawings and textile designs from 1953-1988

1 - 29 May 2021

Born in London in 1934, Theo lived his whole life in that city, as an artist and teacher.  He studied at Camberwell in the 1950’s as a contemporary of Terry Frost, Howard Hodgkin, Gillian Ayres and Ewan Uglow.  His work reflects the mid twentieth century, moving from figuration to abstraction.  The drawings date from the 1950's and the abstract paintings from 1984 which was the year he retired from his position as head of the Textile and Design Department of Camberwell School of Art.  Mendez had been a strong and inspirational teacher and the textile course became widely acclaimed under his leadership, launching many successful careers in the UK fashion and design world, including Georgina Von Etzdorf, John Galliano, Katherine Hamnett and Vivienne Westwood. 

Theo had a passion for music, which he listened to constantly when painting -  French music, Debussy, Milhaud and Poulenc, as well as jazz and Argentine tangos: ‘sometimes the work comes directly from music, to which I listen for several hours every day, like food and drink, it is essential.  If I achieve anything at all, it has, for me, to stand lasting contemplation - mystical, intangible’.  

During his lifetime, Theo exhibited widely including at the Redfern Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Arnolfini in Bristol, the Bear Lane in Oxford and the South London Gallery.  

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CHARLIE BAIRD

Unlocked

20 March - 17 April 2021

In these paintings from the last year with its limited possibilities fo travel Charlie Baird has continued to delve into place and memory often taking a more abstract approach to evoke landscape and its contextual history of human influence alongside more figurative images, inspired by lockdown walks in Dorset.  Much of the work evolves from a balancing of precision and gesture, accident and intent, layering and scraping back, until the painting takes on its own sense of hidden and revealed history.

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WILLIAM CROZIER (1930-2011)

Printing with Colour

20th March - 17 April 2021
 
The Art Stable is delighted to present an exhibition of prints by William Crozier (1930 – 2011). Crozier’s prints, though less well known than his paintings, share the same characteristics:  vibrant colour, virtuoso drawing and a passionate engagement with the landscape and still-life, subjects Crozier explored throughout his long career.
 
Crozier approached printmaking as a parallel activity to painting, relishing the freedom of the print medium and his collaboration with master-printers.  The prints in this exhibition were created between 1993 and 2010 at the Graphic Studio, Dublin and with the Berardinelli family of printers in Verona, each studio prompting distinctive approaches to image-making. Crozier explained the collective effort of making a print as akin to making jazz. He said “I see it as kind of an ensemble: one guy doesn’t know what the rest are going to do. With the colours of the band, a good musician is listening to the other person and he’ll wait and come in on the right note, and then someone else will come in.”

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Christopher Riisager

Day by Day

6 February - 6 March 2021

 
Since graduating from Goldsmiths with a BA in Fine Art in 1984, Christopher Riisager has through a consistent and diligent working practice built a profound knowledge of the landscapes he loves in Wiltshire and Dorset.  Constantly striving for new subjects and challenges through which to extend his painting, he travels the countryside looking for compositions that reveal something new in even the most familiar places to himself and, ultimately, the viewers of his work.  
 
In his studio, set in the rural farmlands of the Dorset-Wiltshire border, Christopher surrounds himself with his experiments in painting, sculpture, collage and printing. All reveal a deep curiosity about and dedication to artistic explorations of form, figure, colour and texture extending through separate disciplines to inform each other.  Closer inspection of the accumulated collection of older and more recent paintings reveals the solid influence of the tonal painting of the nineteenth century; the French classicism of Corot and the English stylishness of William Nicholson.    
 
Often working en plein air, the race against the changing light and the weather enforces focus and speed. Christopher’s tacit knowledge of colour and light, built through years of experience and observation, result in paintings that invoke the beauty of a scene at a distance, but when drawn in to a closer view unexpected and beguiling motifs appear, capturing the ancient attraction of the Wessex landscape.
 
His studies of Wessex are supplemented with paintings of southern France, which provide an opportunity to work in a different scale and tone.  The open vistas of south-east France studded with crumbling buildings and collapsed bridges, offer a contrast to the tree-enclosed cattle droves and sheltered, sheep-studded valleys of England. 

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Brian Rice

Then and Now

6 February - 6 March

Few artists from the 1960’s and 1970’s were more prominent than Brian Rice. Critically acclaimed, his work was everywhere - in galleries, in colour supplements and magazines: The Sunday Times, Observer, Nova, Tatler, House Garden were just some of the magazines featuring his work at the time. Brian’s work would also appear in room interiors advertising Whiskey, furniture, carpets etc. When in 1968 the ‘modern’ room series for the Geffrye Museum was designed, the picture on the Wall was a Rice. Similarly the 1970 Idea Home Exhibition featured work by Rice. It was also included in films such as ‘The Candidate’ and ‘The Untouchables’. Alongside contemporary artists such as Bridget Riley, Peter Sedgley, Derek Boshier and others Rice’s bold coloured geometric abstracts reflected the period. In 1978, after 16 years of living in London and being at the centre of the British Art World, Brian bought a 50 acre farm in Dorset and while continuing to teach devoted much of the following decade to restoring the C16th farmhouse and farming sheep. In the 1980’s Brian Rice started to paint and exhibit again, his work having taken on a softer edge. Taking inspiration from the deep marks made in the landscape, the work is more textural and rhythmic. Rice began exhibiting in 1961 and has had 35 solo exhibitions and around 200 group exhibitions around the world. His work is held in over 60 public and corporate collections worldwide, including the Tate Gallery, V&A Museum, the Geffrye Museum, the Government Art Collection, the British Council, Plymouth City Art Gallery, Southampton City Art Gallery, Exeter Museum, and in several USA institutions. Brian Rice was born in 1936 and studied at Yeovil School of Art and Goldsmiths College, London. In the 1960s and 70s he taught at numerous art colleges in and around London, and until 2001, at Brighton College of Art (now the University of Brighton).

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CHRISTMAS EXHIBITION

STILL LIFE IN CERAMICS WITH PAINTINGS AND PRINTS BY GALLERY ARTISTS

Following on from our successful summer exhibition of Contemplation – exploration of ceramics and furniture, we present our autumn ceramics exhibition on the theme of Still Life. The opening of this show has coincided with yet another period where we are spending the majority of our time in a domestic setting. Surrounded by everyday objects, we felt it was time to explore Still Life in ceramics. Although this genre came into prominence in Dutch paintings of the 16th century, the roots of depicting inanimate objects in art can be traced back to the tombs of the Egyptians. The ancient Greeks and Romans also used this form of artistic expression to adorn their buildings with mosaics and frescos.  


The three ceramicists taking part in this exhibition, Lucy Burley, Jo Marland and Joanna Oliver are all inspired by Still Life paintings and have incorporated the essence of still life into their own ceramic practice. Functional jugs, plates and bowls can all be used for eating and drinking. When not in use, these humble objects can serve as a reminder of the beauty of the everyday and ordinary, maybe even as a prop for setting the scene for ones’ own Still Life experiments. 

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FELICE HODGES

Palimpsest

New Work

17 October - 7 November 2020

“Trying to describe Felice Hodges wonderful paintings with accuracy can be difficult because - like the truest art - they transcend the harsh rigidities and conformities of language. She makes paintings that may first appear wholly abstract and gestural in expression but, on continued looking, are generally rooted in a specific place or moment which their titles and forms gradually reveal. They hover between abstraction and some mysterious, transformed poetic reality that the viewer becomes immediately caught up in and a part of, and the viewer becomes part of an interaction or dialogue with the picture itself. The evocative mood and atmosphere of these paintings is often suggested by subtle, ravishing harmonies of colour. Tones and colours are laid next to, or over each other, to create highly original and unexpected chromatic combinations which are also intensely beautiful. They have a direct effect on the viewers’ emotions.  Felice trained as a musician and continues her musical interests and in this her work is reminiscent of the tone poems of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Such music is ethereal and free flowing, intangible, yet contained within a highly effective structure. Felice’s paintings have a similar enigmatic character. The surface of these canvases is highly, richly complex, also like a musical composition.......Felice demonstrates the continued relevance and resonance of such an expressive approach to painting and perception, and it is one that enriches all who see it”.
Robert Upstone, former head of Modern British art, Tate Britain.