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
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.
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.