8 June - 6 July 2019
It seems a nearly two decade long imaginative fascination of mine with the sea has run its course - more to the point it has been a fascination linked to my painting drive. Altogether a fruitfull relationship, giving rise to quite a few paintings and, at this point at least, to imagery that I doubt can be accessed again.
For quite long periods in the evolution of modern painting, in particular with the ascendancy of abstraction, the role of subject matter - especially that which 'looks like something' - has been downplayed. Now and for some time, attitudes to abstract values and imagery in painting have become more balanced, the necessity of an interplay between those forces and what can come out out that, widely acknowledged.
In this show there are several of the 'final' sea paintings. Whether they convey an elegiac mood I can't say - you will have to decide. Also being shown are recent paintings that have followed on and can be described as 'back to the land', but the land as it is now, with the sound of a busy road never too far away.
27 April - 18 May, 2019
It’s almost exactly three years since I last exhibited at The Art Stable and the essential ambitions have not changed. I still paint landscapes and still lifes; and I had the idea then that the folds of fabric on a table suggested the folds of landscape. The three “High Lake” paintings, representing Llyn-y-Fan Fach, a lake high in the Black Mountain area of Carmarthenshire, came as an alternative to painting the sea. Instead of infinite recession here was a dramatically enclosed sheet of water, obviously formed by a glacier, with an unknown and mysterious depth and a steeped sided corrie around it, with striped, almost black, bands of rock. A wild place, three miles from the nearest car carrying road. The recent still lifes have seen a shift from watercolour to acrylic paint. The striations or ‘filaments of light’ are even more important, I think, in that they run through opaque colour: thin but often brilliant opaque colour so that the exchange between translucence and opacity is always taking place. And the very thin, often interrupted or embedded lines are now closer together so that a surface of folding fabric or intensely coloured wall has a kind of vibration or trembling running through it. These are paintings but they have some of the characteristics of a drawing or woven cloth. The drawings are both working drawings, working out which way the lines should go, and expressive images. There might be more trembling than in the paintings.
Michael Williams, March, 2019
16 March - 6 April 2019
9 February - 2 March 2019
Christopher Riisager has spent almost all his life on the Dorset/Wiltshire border aside from the years spent studying Fine Art at Goldsmiths during the 1980’s. He has a profound knowledge of, and relationship with, that landscape, developed through long, silent study. And yet, he finds that the most emotive landscapes are often those which reveal themselves in a moment of travel, or contemplation, where a movement of light or shadow can lead to a rediscovery of somewhere familiar.
The paintings in this exhibition were nearly all begun outside during the long, hot summer of 2018 and finished in the studio. They include paintings of Dorset and Wiltshire, inland around Melbury Down and Hambledon Hill, and coastal landscapes from Abbotsbury to Studland.
29 January - 2 February 2019
8 - 21 December 2018
Trees and Clouds: Landscapes from an English Summer
10 November - 1 December 2018
There is something beautifully simple and symbolic about trees and clouds. They have the power, if we let them, to release and take us away from our stressful lives, almost like meditation. Both are key ingredients in the English landscape, and both take prominence in this exhibition. For many years I have been thrilled and inspired by the landscape oil sketches of Constable and William Nicholson, two very English painters, one from the early 19th century and the other working in the first half of the 20th. Both had the most exquisite touch and economy of means - the confident, inventive strokes and paint handling of true masters. I have tried often to emulate these two artists and take that as a starting point for the paintings in this exhibition. As the paintings are done en plein air, in front of the motif and in one sitting, and because of the restricted dimensions of my pochard paint box, the paintings are modest in scale. One also has to contend with blazing sunshine, fleeting rapidly changing skies, shadows and lighting conditions, as well as pallet rattling winds which will frustrate the steadiest of hands.
15 September - 20 October 2018
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