Attic Stories

5 February - 5 March 2022

Having lived and worked in Child Okeford for over 30 years, I am particularly happy to be having this exhibition at The Art Stable, having known Kelly since she opened the gallery in 2006.  All but one of the works in the show were created in my attic studio there, just a few hundred yards away, and it features in most of them, along with the objects and people familiar to me. I became so accustomed to this very special space, with its warped elm floor and quirky beamed walls that it developed into a kind of visual shorthand for me: a language I could manipulate instinctively and expressively for the compositions that evolved in it. After work it was a bonus to be able to walk out on to the nearby Iron Age fort of Hambledon Hill, whose high perspectives and ancient landscape acted as a perfect counterpoint to the claustrophobic intensity of the attic.

Coinciding as it does with my 70th birthday, and being situated in the heart of this lovely area, The Art Stable is an especially appropriate venue for this, my first gallery show outside central London for over 30 years.

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Paintings, Prints and Ceramics by Contemporary and Modern British artists

27th November - 23 December

including work by Victoria Achache, Eileen Agar (1899-1991), Peter Archer, Charlie Baird, Lucy Bentley, Sven Berlin (1911-99), William Brooker (1918-83), Lucy Burley,  Samantha Cary, Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002), Gary Cook, Michael Cullimore (1936-21), James Boswell (1906-1971), Marjorie Firth (1895-1975), Terry Frost (1915-2003), David Gommon (1913-87), Graham Bell (1910-43), Felice Hodges, Mary Jewels (1886-1977), Teresa Lawton, Ursula Leach, Kenneth Martin (1905-1984), Alexander Mackenzie (1923-2002), Sally McLaren, Theo Mendez (1934-97), Emily Myers, Howard Phipps, Christopher Riisager, Tobit Roche, Peter Sedgley, Peter Snow (1927-2008), Liz Somerville,  Graham Sutherland (1903-80), Yo Thom, Keith Vaughan (1912-77), Amanda Vesey, William Wright, George Young, Henrietta Young.

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Repetitive Landscapes

16 October - 13 November 2021

The paintings of Henrietta Young involve an acute observation of the environment where she lives, in particular the view from her garden, involving a field and maybe a horse or a dog, quietly contemplating.   But the mood of the works, in varying lights and atmospheres, changes with the expressive use of colour and paint, so that one senses things that have happened or are about to happen.  As The Week magazine described them in 2004, ‘The works convey a contemplative, elegiac quality that lingers in the mind long after the paintings are out of sight.’
At the beginning of the pandemic I didn’t feel like doing anything particularly creative, preferring to observe and think about the new technicolour place we seemed to be living in – but soon felt compelled to begin this series of repetitive landscapes reflecting both the change in the new tempo of life as well as the faux 1950s Ladybird-coloured world I felt I was now inhabiting.
Henrietta trained at Winchester Art School and has lived and worked in Dorset since 1973.  She has been a prize winner in the John Player award and has exhibited regularly in the West Country and London.

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The Invisible Land

16 October - 13 November 2021

Alexander Massouras (b.1981) is an artist and writer. His work is in UK and international collections including the Ashmolean, the British Museum, the Fitzwilliam, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was a member of the research project 'Art School Educated' at Tate; a Leverhulme Fellow at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford; and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre. Massouras’s work has taken a multitude of forms but is consistent in its visual exploration of time and narrative. 

The Invisible Land is a group of nine etchings that describe a retreat from a flood, a series which culminates in settlement of sorts. It draws its imagery from many places: there are backgrounds glimpsed in films, references to Breugel, a found dead bird, and a nod to Wittgenstein's discussion of the Rabbit-Duck illusion. The series is one of three in the artist's book Above and Below, a cycle of thirty etchings on the theme of journeying and escape.

The Divers etchings express a formal interest in the combination of line (the pools and diving platforms) with tone (the diver). They play on the symbolism of the fall and on the stillness of the image: the divers never meet the pools, a separation which finds visual form in the distance the etchings keep between line and tone.

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Sea and Sky

4 September - 2 October

The Sea and Sky meet each other at the horizon yet the horizon is always out of reach: as we move towards it, it continually backs away from us. The Sea and Sky bounce off one another reflecting each other’s light and darkness, and yet sometimes they merge, to become almost one in a sublime fourth dimension, hovering or disappearing on the horizon. Both are endowed with endless ever-changing moods: there can be  anger and danger as well as peace and calm and this is tied to our own human emotions and how we look upon the world.

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Unsettled Times

4 September - 2 October 2021

For a few years the suburban area in which I live in the Northeast of England on the North Sea coast had provided a fertile ground for me, a meeting of suburban order, lives lived tidily, peacefully and busily pushing against the wilder forces of weather, animals and elements. Although humans did not appear in this work, the images were resonant with their presence. Lockdown has revealed to me, more than ever, how the ticking over of these lives against a background of something less certain was at the heart of this work.
Both this feeling of being stuck for material and the pulse of lockdown life are behind the series of ten etchings called A Soap Opera. The series depicts the same house over an ambiguous time period, repeated over and over with minute changes in colour, light and little details. The prints were made in my garden shed studio between December 2020 and March 2021, a period that we came to know as Lockdown 2 and are loosely based on a house that I can just see from my window that hijacked my attention as I sat on the sofa watching the news during the bewildering evenings of the first Lockdown.

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24 July - 21 August 2021

Including work by Peter Archer, Charlie Baird, Elizabeth Blackadder, John Buckland-Wright, Samantha Cary, Gary Cook, Eileen Cooper, William Crozier, Kim Donaldson, Tess Jaray, Tom Hammick, John Piper, Mary Fedden, Brian Hanscomb, Matthew Hilton, Albert Irwin, Ken Kiff, R.B.Kitaj, Ursula Leach, Alexander Massouras, Robert Medley, Theo Mendez, Emily Myers, David Nash, Chris Orr, Howard Phipps, John Ridgewell, Christopher Riisager, Tobit Roche, Ludwig Sander, Peter Sedgley, Liz Somerville, Richard Smith, Rowland Suddaby, Patricia Swannell, Yo Thom, Michael Williams, William Wright, George Young

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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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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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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.