13 March 2021  Matt Horne, Nathan Ford, Giant Minotaurs

One ‘person’ we are bidding farewell to this week is the Giant Standing Minotaur.

Here he is prior to a journey that will take him half way round the world to his new home:

 

I am so pleased to have captured little Hector either 1) telling him off, 2) marvelling at his size or 2) giving him out in cricket. Either way the minotaur is taking it with stoic resolve (and is not going to review the decision).

We hope to have another edition of the big fellow in the gallery soon.

We have new ceramics by Matt Horne, a young English potter, based in Kent. Matt specialises in porcelain with crystalline glazes, though one thing I have noticed in this body of work is how beautiful the wheel-thrown forms are.

This pot has been reduction-fired in a gas kiln following its normal crystalline glaze firing stage:

The glazes produced in the swirling smoke are copper red, which for all the world looks like gilded copper on an amber base. Matt loves watching the crystals change and grow (via the kiln observation porthole), throughout the 24 hours of glaze firing. Part of the excitement is never knowing exactly what you are going to get. The colours are extraordinary, as are the organic growth patterns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see his new work here or by clicking on the images.

We will have new work from Nathan Ford for the opening on 12 April.
One outstanding new work is simply entitled ‘Monument’:

 

Anyone familiar with Nathan’s work will recognise Stan. It is a sad loss that he won’t be here to see another collection of work by Nathan. I am so honoured and glad that we will have this painting for the exhibition.
And, of course, there is the next generation to think of..:

 

And finally, on remembering, and for Mother’s Day:

When I reflect on those rare moments when I stumble without warning into that extraordinary sense of security, that deep peace, I know that consciously and unconsciously she has been with me all my life.
If we could walk together through those summer lanes, with their banks of wild flowers that cast a spell, we probably would not be able to speak, though I would want to tell her all the local news.
We would leave the lanes and I would take her by the beaten path the otter takes under the thick ledges between the lakes. At the lake’s edge I would show her the green lawns speckled with fish bones and blue crayfish shells where the otter feeds and trains her young. The otter whistles down the waters for the male when she wants to mate and chases him back again to his own waters when the work is done; unlike the dear swans that paddle side by side and take turns on their high nest deep within the reeds. Above the lake we would follow the enormous sky until it reaches the low mountains where her life began.
I would want no shadow to fall on her joy and deep trust in god. She would face no false reproaches. As we retraced our steps, I would pick for her the wild orchid and the windflower.’

John McGahern ‘Memoir’

Thanks for reading.

Aidan

1 March 2021  St. David’s Day

It is a crisp and glorious St. David’s Day here in Bath.  Not only have the last few days been crisp and clear, but the night skies have been glorious too.

I love seeing Sirius- the dog star – how clear and colourful it has been over the weekend despite the light from the ‘Snow Moon’. It is only visible to us in winter under Orion, in the southern sky (that portion of the sky being the darkest, and most visible, from the garden).

How nice then, that Wordsworth compares the pattern of daffodils he sees to the Milky Way.

This is the view Wordsworth would have today (looking towards Parade Gardens) from his former house on North Parade Road in Bath:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,

They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

-Daffodils, William Wordsworth

There are no daffodils in Nathan Ford’s collection, though his daisies, buttercups and dandelions are all featured in various states of repair (and they are all, of course, picked in Wales).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An afternoon yellow and open-mouthed
with daffodils. The sun treads the path
among cedars and enormous oaks.
It might be a country house, guests strolling,
the rumps of gardeners between nursery shrubs.

I am reading poetry to the insane.
An old woman, interrupting, offers
as many buckets of coal as I need.
A beautiful chestnut-haired boy listens
entirely absorbed. A schizophrenic

on a good day, they tell me later.
In a cage of first March sun a woman
sits not listening, not seeing, not feeling.
In her neat clothes the woman is absent.
A big, mild man is tenderly led

to his chair. He has never spoken.
His labourer’s hands on his knees, he rocks
gently to the rhythms of the poems.
I read to their presences, absences,
to the big, dumb labouring man as he rocks.

He is suddenly standing, silently,
huge and mild, but I feel afraid. Like slow
movement of spring water or the first bird
of the year in the breaking darkness,
the labourer’s voice recites ‘The Daffodils’.

The nurses are frozen, alert; the patients
seem to listen. He is hoarse but word-perfect.
Outside the daffodils are still as wax,
a thousand, ten thousand, their syllables
unspoken, their creams and yellows still.

Forty years ago, in a Valleys school,
the class recited poetry by rote.
Since the dumbness of misery fell
he has remembered there was a music
of speech and that once he had something to say.

When he’s done, before the applause, we observe
the flowers’ silence. A thrush sings
and the daffodils are flame.

Gilian Clarke ‘A poem for St David’s Day’

Thank you for reading.

Aidan

19 February 2021  Forthcoming Exhibition: Nathan Ford, Painter

Nathan Ford, Painter

An essay to accompany the tenth solo exhibition of Nathan Ford’s paintings at Beaux Arts Bath

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.  –Kahlil Gibran

Over two decades ago Nathan Ford first walked through the doors of the gallery, a shy but determined raw young artist.  This exhibition marks his tenth solo show. To accompany this auspicious exhibition we have, with the help of renowned cameraman Michael Pitts, made a twelve minute film, Nathan Ford, Painter.  Please see Nathan’s page on our website, and accompanying links (listed at the bottom), for details.

With Nathan, the discomfiture to him of sitting in front of a camera and being interviewed was, I surmised, in direct proportion to the benefit of doing so. It was not quite a Groucho Marx-type paradox (where anyone who wants to be interviewed would not make a worthwhile interviewee).  Some people, some artists, cope well with the required concision. Nathan would much prefer to show rather than tell, though I knew there was a good story to be wrought from his recalcitrance.

But where to start, and how to draw it out of a man unwilling to be caught in the cross-hairs of art-waffle for a nanosecond. I was aware that attempting to portray him expounding on the deeper hankerings of his oeuvre would be met with derision. There were consistent warnings, as stern as any of his portraiture eviscerations, that any artistic streams of consciousness were akin to him being unable to face his wife and children again. He arrived at the gallery under the false pretence that most of the day would be spent taking footage of him painting a portrait.  A necessary inducement, as I was aware that drawing out a narrative would necessitate interview material, and that the edited result wouldn’t be what he feared. He is much too warm and personable a human being.

Nathan’s sons are 14 and 12 respectively and are heavily invested in Nathan’s work, as arbiters of good taste as much as makers of stencils, drafters of amorphous cartoon monsters, graffiti-scrawlers on cityscape walls. ‘They’ve got it’ he exclaims at one point, ‘Of course they’ve got it, they’re kids!’ And so Nathan is sceptical about art school, training, validation, and artists ‘fluffing around trying to make work that’s real.’ If nothing else his two boys have been stalwart markers of time throughout his career, his portraits charting their growth, their vulnerability still staring out at us a decade after he first allowed himself to paint them and to allow the public to see the results.

A body of work by Nathan is always recording the passage of time, whether portraits or the dusky European cityscapes of family vacations. Years back it was a tender depiction of Reuben’s ear as a child. In the BP prize exhibition of 2018, ‘Dad’s Last Day’ is a painting (in the moment) of exactly that. There is no equivocation here, no rosy nostalgic hue. His work comes hard and fast. East Place is the location of his dad Stan’s garage in South East London that he grew up in and around as a teenager; ‘Sunny Inside’ is a another street scene in the West Norwood of his childhood. They have a fin de siècle feeling in them. That is what they are.

So his family are not only subjects in his portraits.  Both sons do extensive work on the larger paintings themselves.  He waxes lyrical about his children and is unabashedly proud of their achievements and projects, among them Joachim’s inspired and idiosyncratic music (used in the film), and Reuben’s coding (which helps run his website). However, it is evident that as choreographer and chief conductor Nathan is not stinting on the hard yards of work. There is the sheer practical reality that every pane of non-reflective glass, every mitre-joint of every tulip-wood frame is hand-cut, painted and sanded by Nathan himself. When it comes to his work and the presentation of it he is the definition of punctiliousness.

The larger paintings are painted on to birch panels, most of them in 122 x 170 cm. landscape format.  Having previously painted on to canvas and linen, the use of birch is the result of extensive research, a gradual honing down of possibilities to find a surface with the ideal tooth to paint comfortably on, and to absorb the layers of primer, washes and oil paint in such a way as to preserve the delicate balance of Nathan’s ‘variations in the key of grey’ palette. ‘I fight the grey’ Nathan opines, ‘I try lots of different things and when I think I have fixed the painting I step back….and it’s grey again.’

The actual physical flatness of the surface, which will have been sanded back repeatedly between primer and base layers, is a contrast to the depth of the vistas within, which often incorporate streetscapes inclining or receding into the hum of evening light, on a Welsh hillside (‘Flock V’) , or in a Sicilian town (‘La Scena’). There is no impasto, no flash, no shiny, luscious oily dollops of paint. With detailed skeletal drawings underpinning the blocked-in matte colour of the overhanging buildings, you can smell south London in the brickwork, the pavements and scaffolding.

The ’90 Days of Lockdown’ series of paintings more literally chronicle the passage of days, beginning on March 24th 2020 and carrying on for three months, one painting per day. The bunches of weeds; buttercup, clover, cow parsley, daisy, dandelion, wild sweet pea, wild strawberry, are a daily meditation on ‘looking’, their little bursts of colour and form imbued with the noise of quotidian news and events- new restrictions reported, casualty figures updated, events cancelled, protests in the U.S… These little plants are Leonard Cohen’s heroes in the seaweed from Suzanne.

And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers

There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror

Nathan would take his place each day, his chair in its ordained position, the tilted canvas backdrop -allowing for the angle of eyes to subject- framing his votive cup of weeds, revivified by water or dead and almost completely dried out. From his station he would draw, drawing out of himself the process of daily observance, extracting the story of lockdown, living lockdown from an artistic and personal solitude, looking at bunches of offerings gathered at random on the one permitted family walk du jour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These small lockdown paintings are a typical Fordian enterprise. His marking of time, family life woven into the works; the channelling of events and emotions from worlds within and without, show characteristic resolve. Their essence is narrow, in each touchingly precious little piece, and then broad in that they form one larger piece of work encapsulating three months of dedicated intensity. The cup is a canvas within a canvas, now here, now evanescing to make way for a barely visible saw-tooted leaf or dried-out weed stem.

Nathan’s 20 years of exhibitions have all been coming to this. His sharpened skills have turned lockdown into opportunity. ‘It’s an interesting chapter’ he intones gently, ‘but what can I do… but make a painting’. And with a shrug of his shoulders, I knew he was bringing the film to a close.

Aidan Quinn
February 2021

See Nathan Ford, A Painter through the following links:

Nathan Ford – Beaux Arts Bath :

Youtube: Nathan Ford: Painter – YouTube

Instagram: Beaux Arts (@beaux_arts_bath) • Instagram photos and videos

Facebook: https://fb.watch/3lcgKIV13t/

Thank you for reading.

8 February 2021   Downhill into Spring…

In the process of hanging Nathan Ford’s exhibition, I have been considering how best to hang Nathan’s ’90 days of lockdown’ series.
Ninety paintings, painted over the course of the first lockdown, beginning mid-March 2020, and ending in early June.  As with all Nathan’s work, these little still lifes have a strong familial core, with the daisies, buttercup, wild sweet pea, clover, dandelion, wild strawberry etc.  all gathered from the daily family walk during lockdown. This is the scene of the action in Nathan’s studio:

The cup is the canvas within a canvas, and with radio or music in the background, this daily ‘ looking ‘ was Nathan’s way of making the lockdown productive, a disciplined project in minutiae-observation he had previously toyed with.

The emotional cadences of the radio news cycle, family life, music;  the saw-toothed leaves, the flaccid stalks, the weeds brought to life by water are shot through with the quotidian ups and downs of living, looking while living in lockdown.

 

Below, Lockdown 29/90, 38/90 and 90/90:

 

 

All the paintings are oil on canvas and are framed with art-glass (non-reflective) and tulip wood frames.

The short film shows Nathan in his studio, sorting and arranging the ‘90 days’ collection, as well as showing the woodland and hills where the plants were gathered. Links are below:

Beaux Arts website:  Nathan Ford – Beaux Arts Bath

YouTube:   Nathan Ford: Painter – YouTube

Instagram:  Beaux Arts (@beaux_arts_bath) • Instagram photos and videos

Facebook: https://fb.watch/3lcgKIV13t/ 

I like to think of the plants Nathan thought of the plants the way Leonard Cohen sang about the ‘heroes in the seaweed’:

And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbor
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers

There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever

While Suzanne holds the mirror (from ‘Suzanne’)

 

We still have some of Jack Doherty’s gorgeous smaller ribbed vessels. Click here to see what is available or message me for additional images.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally.

The good news is that now Candlemas/Brigid’s Day/imbolg – the midway point between winter solstice and spring equinox-  has been and gone, it is all downhill towards spring.
So…

Her Prayers came by the handful
glories and mysteries
honed to a clacket of beads
emptied from a change purse.
To each in turn she applied arthritic pressure,
a stroke to placate and draw
the genies out.
She didn’t say a thing; bead-struck,
this hush echoed

what she gave as response
to ‘what do you pray for?’
The son that died,
or the son that lived? My question
forbidding as any grandchild’s ‘why
Is the sky blue?’ But words
went with these fingerings; I saw them parting
her lips, and so great was
the speed of their sound, they were
gone before I’d caught

even one. Instead, from memory,
the voice of the class, reciting
reciting. That was prayer.
This was praying:

Laurie Greer ‘Snowdrops/Candlemas Bells’

Thanks again for reading.

Aidan

30 January 2021  January ends…

I am at the moment gradually hanging paintings by Nathan Ford in the gallery.
Our next exhibition for Nathan, scheduled to open in early March, will be his tenth. It is a matter of great celebration, even if for now it is only me having moments of joy in the quiet of the space here, marvelling at the brilliance of Nathan’s work.
Whatever the circumstances, this is a great collection of work. Again.

Yesterday I hung the painting La Scena on the back wall of the gallery. Depicting a street scene in Syracuse, Sicily, I went through the arch on the ground floor and looked back at it for the first time.
The gradually darkening light outside was the perfect backdrop to look at this work.

Nathan Ford, La Scena, Oil on birch wood 122 x 200 cm

One can see the gently sloping street, the night-bustle, the shop-fronts in a cline going down the hill on the left, the lamp-posts providing scale.
A streak of brake-light red is like a memory of movement across a familiar wobbly pedestrian crossing.
Nathan paints onto an architecturally detailed skeletal drawing, so though the buildings that line the street are abstracted in blocks of colour, you can trust their integrity,
as you can with the hum of the night sky.

You can lose yourself in the larger format paintings…

If you haven’t seen the short film on Nathan yet, please have a look and let me know what you think.  This painting in particular put me in mind of the time-lapse light-trails at the end of the film.
The film is available on several different platforms, as well as being on our website:

Nathan Ford – Beaux Arts Bath  :

Youtube:   Nathan Ford: Painter – YouTube

Instagram:  Beaux Arts (@beaux_arts_bath) • Instagram photos and videos

Facebook: https://fb.watch/3lcgKIV13t/

Another artist who has come under the spotlight recently is Jack Doherty, who was featured in Rick Stein’s ‘Tour of Cornwall’.  The link is here:

BBC Two – Rick Stein’s Cornwall, Series 1, Episode 12, “Cornwall was a total revelation”

Needless to say we still have a few of Jack’s pots available in the gallery.  Click here to see what is available.
Next day delivery is possible!

With all the rain in the last few days the last of last weekend’s frost (above)  has been washed away:

Rain comes down through the alders,
Its low conductive voices
Mutter about let-downs and erosions
And yet each drop recalls

The diamond absolutes…

Seamus Heaney ‘Exposure’

And finally, also from last weekend’s dog walk:

 

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry, ‘The Peace of Wild things’

Thank you for getting this far!!

Aidan

22 January 2021  January Update, Nathan Ford, Matt Horne

 

‘As I went forth early on a still and frosty morning, the trees looked like airy creatures of darkness caught napping;
on this side huddled together, with their grey hairs streaming, in a secluded valley which the sun had not penetrated;
on that, hurrying off in Indian file along some watercourse, while the shrubs and grasses, like elves and fairies of the night, sought to hide their diminished heads in the snow’
-Henry Thoreau

To coincide with his 10th anniversary show here in March, we have released a short film on the artist Nathan Ford.
I have known Nathan for over 20 years and have loved getting to know him, working with him on his shows, his catalogues, watching his family grow and his work develop.
We are grateful to cameraman Michael Pitts, his wife Anne and son Ollie for all their hard work on this project.

Please have a look at the film and let me know what you think!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJqjSGwKxBc&t=1s   

Nathan’s show will open in 6 March and run until after Easter.

You can see his work on our website by clicking here:

Showing with Nathan will be young British potter Matt Horne, who specialises in beautiful crystalline glazes:

 

And finally….

For those who didn’t know, our good friend and ceramic legend John Maltby died just before Christmas and his funeral ceremony was held at Exeter crematorium earlier this week.

Nigel Dutt’s lovely obituary for John can be found by clicking  here.

He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight.
The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland.

It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves.
It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried.

It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns.
His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.
-James Joyce ‘The Dead’

Aidan

9 January 2021  January Update, Troy – Byzantium – Crete

 

Happy New Year.

In these times I feel very grateful to everyone who has messaged the gallery with good wishes.

I very much miss seeing visitors in the gallery.

While the gallery is closed we will attempt to find another way to let people see the artists’ work – only then do we complete the circle.

We are up for ‘try-outs’ (within limits!) as the couriers are working, and of course we will attempt to ensure as much new work as possible may be viewed online.

I am excited by what we have to come this year. There will be a digital edition of the London Art Fair from 20 January until 31 January.

As usual we will be previewing work that will be part of exhibitions later in 2021.

A major part of our selection will involve work in our next solo exhibition, which will be a solo show by Nathan Ford:

Nathan Ford,  Flock V, Oil on Birch Panel 120 x 170 cm

It is Nathan’s 10th solo show with us and we will be releasing a short film by Mike Pitts to coincide with the show.
Mike has worked extensively with David Attenborough and has two Emmy Awards (for Life of Plants and Blue Planet).

Here he is filming Nathan in front of one of Nathan’s new paintings. I am not sure Nathan is looking forward to the searching interrogation of the interviewer…

Our presentation for the London Art Fair always includes work by Anna Gillespie:

Anna Gillespie  Broken Ring,  Bronze figures (unique), found steel  57 x 57 x 7 cm

 

And of course Helen Simmonds

I had forgotten this poem, which came into my mind in the last few days. The denouement is so good.

 I do not want to be reflective any more
Envying and despising unreflective things
Finding pathos in dogs and undeveloped handwriting
And young girls doing their hair and all the castles of sand
Flushed by the children’s bedtime, level with the shore.

The tide comes in and goes out again, I do not want
To be always stressing either its flux or its permanence,
I do not want to be a tragic or philosophic chorus
But to keep my eye only on the nearer future
And after that let the sea flow over us.

Come then all of you, come closer, form a circle,
Join hands and make believe that joined
Hands will keep away the wolves of water
Who howl along our coast. And be it assumed
That no one hears them among the talk and laughter.

Louis MacNiece, ‘Wolves’

Perhaps what lead to thinking about the Louis MacNiece poem was a Heaney poem I have quoted recently:

History says, Don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.

Call miracle self-healing:
The utter, self-revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there’s fire on the mountain
Or lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky

That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.

Seamus Heaney ‘Chorus from the Cure at Troy’

And finally…

With apologies for such an Irish or Anglo-Irish saturation of quotes, the first extract is part of the inspiration for the second.
And ‘you can always, always rely on W.B. Yeats’ (my mother).

The seeds of life—
fiery is their force, divine their birth, but they
are weighed down by the bodies’ ills or dulled
by earthly limbs and flesh that’s born for death.
That is the source of all men’s fears and longings,
joys and sorrows, nor can they see the heavens’ light,
shut up in the body’s tomb, a prison dark and deep.
-Virgil’s Aeneid VI:843-848

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

WB Yeats. ‘Sailing to Byzantium’, verse IV

And with such a heavy Greek/Byzantine flavour thread through all the verses…
Here is a little reader from Crete:

Beth Carter Minotaur Reading IV  Bronze, Ed. 15 73 x 30 x 47 cm.

And finally…

9.30 a.m. on North Parade. Sally Lunn’s bakery is located in this small street (our #1 ‘where is’ request…when there are people around to ask!).

For details of forthcoming shows, or any other relevant matters, please message me.

Aidan

23 December 2020  Thank You & Happy Christmas from Beaux Arts Bath

 

At the end of this annus horribilis I would like to thank everyone who has supported us and our artists, through purchasing, visiting the gallery, responding on social media or simply saying things appreciative and non-appreciative about our exhibitions, or for that matter, books or poetry.
With this in mind I hope you will indulge me for one last email (probably..) before 2020 exits stage left, to a well-earned chorus of boos and cat-calls.

‘Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
     Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
      This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly…’

William Shakespeare (from ‘As You Like it’)

So…looking ahead to 2021…

We would normally be taking a stand at the London Art Fair at the end of January. Instead we will be having a mixed show here in the gallery, with work that would have graced our stand at the fair.

This little fellow below will be part of that exhibition, and of Beth’s solo exhibition later in the year.
He is doing what I hope I will be doing for much of the holiday period (apart from walking the dog)…

Beth Carter Reading Minotaur IV,  Bronze, 73 x 30 x 47 cm.

We will also have work by Nathan Ford, Helen Simmonds, Anna Gillespie, Andrew Crocker, Simon Allen, Akash Bhatt,
Harriet Porter, Patrick Haines, Ruth Brownlee, Stewart Edmondson, Anthony Scott, amongst others.

Our next short film will feature painter Nathan Ford, who will be on show throughout the month of March.
This is a still from the film, showing cameraman Mike Pitts getting a close-up of Nathan critiquing his own work…

On the subject of new beginnings, somehow this Yeats poem feels apposite:

I rise in the dawn, and I kneel and blow
Till the seed of the fire flicker and glow;
And then I must scrub and bake and sweep
Till stars are beginning to blink and peep;
And the young lie long and dream in their bed
Of the matching of ribbons for bosom and head,
And their days go over in idleness,
And they sigh if the wind but lift a tress:
While I must work because I am old,
And the seed of the fire gets feeble and cold.

W.B Yeats ‘The Song of the Old Mother’

There isn’t much light to be had today, and we are unlikely to see Saturn and Jupiter this evening again…
But at this time of year, when the low-angled light comes through, as it did yesterday, it is golden and glorious…especially with all this lovely Bath stone to set it off.

 

And finally, over to Seamus at New Grange, where I daresay solstice has been a little quieter this year:

Like somebody who sees things when he’s dreaming
And after the dream lives with the aftermath
Of what he felt, no other trace remaining,

So I live now’, for what I saw departs
And is almost lost, although a distilled sweetness
Still drops from it into my inner heart.

It is the same with snow the sun releases,
The same as when in wind, the hurried leaves
Swirl round your ankles and the shaking hedges

That had flopped their catkin cuff-lace and green sleeves
Are sleet-whipped bare. Dawn light began stealing
Through the cold universe to County Meath,

Over weirs where the Boyne water, fulgent, darkling,
Turns its thick axle, over rick-sized stones
Millennia deep in their own unmoving

And unmoved alignment. And now the planet turns
Earth brow and templed earth, the crowd grows still
In the wired-off precinct of the burial mounds,

Flight 104 from New York audible
As it descends on schedule into Dublin,
Boyne Valley Centre Car Park already full,

Waiting for seedling light on roof and windscreen.
And as in illo tempore people marked
The king’s gold dagger when it plunged it in

To the hilt in unsown ground, to start the work
Of the world again, to speed the plough
And plant the riddled grain, we watch through murk

And overboiling cloud for the milted glow
Of sunrise, for an eastern dazzle
To send first light like share-shine in a furrow

Steadily deeper, farther available,
Creeping along the floor of the passage grave
To backstone and capstone, holding its candle

Under the rock-piled roof and the loam above.

Seamus Heaney, ‘A Dream of Solstice’ by Seamus Heaney

Thank you.  Peace, some ‘milted glow’ and good wishes to all.

Aidan

27 November 2020  Reopening. Late November Mist

The gallery will be reopening on Thursday 3 December.

Opening times are 10-5 Monday to Saturday but we will be also opening on selected evenings and Sundays in the lead-up to Christmas.
Please consult the website or social media (see links at the bottom of the page) or contact the gallery by phone or email or DM.

We will be following government recommendations on social distancing, face-coverings, visitor numbers.
We are very much looking forward to welcoming people into the gallery again !

Ruth Brownlee’s paintings have made it all the way from Shetland.
Some stormy, moody seascapes are among them:

The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword,
are portions of eternity, too great for the eye of man.

(William Blake from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell)

Please click on the image above for a link to Ruth’s page on our website.

Fortunately we have this young cub to keep order in the gallery and make sure social distancing is observed:

Although there is no stopping some scamps creating mischief…

Luckily the Chris Keenan Limoges Porcelain is tucked away in the gallery alcoves and shelves.
This installation is called ‘Run Away With Me’. The collection is entitled ‘Piccolo’ and it is a wonderful collection.

 

We also have a selection of work by Simon Allen, Jennifer Anderson, Akash Bhatt,
Beth Carter, Alex Callaway, Andrew Crocker, Stewart Edmondson, Linda Felcey,
Sarah Gillespie, Patrick Haines, Harriet Porter, Pieter Vanden Daele, Helen Simmonds,
Lara Scobie, Kate Sherman and Alice Walton.

And finally…….

I climbed through woods in the hour-before-dawn dark.
Evil air, a frost-making stillness,

Not a leaf, not a bird-
A world cast in frost. I came out above the wood

Where my breath left tortuous statues in the iron light.
But the valleys were draining the darkness

Till the moorline blackening dregs of the brightening grey
Halved the sky ahead. And I saw the horses:

Huge in the dense grey ten together
Megalith-still. They breathed, making no move,

With draped manes and tilted hind-hooves,
Making no sound.

I passed: not one snorted or jerked its head.
Grey silent fragments
Of a grey still world.

I listened in emptiness on the moor-ridge.
The curlews tear turned its edge on the silence.

Slowly detail leafed from the darkness. Then the sun
Orange, red, red erupted

Silently, and splitting to its core tore and flung cloud,
Shook the gulf open, showed blue,

And the big planets hanging
I turned

Stumbling in a fever of a dream, down towards
The dark woods, from the kindling tops,

And came the horses.
There, still they stood,
But now steaming, and glistening under the flow of light,

Their draped stone manes, their tilted hind-hooves
Stirring under a thaw while all around them

The frost showed its fires. But still they made no sound.
Not one snorted or stamped,

Their hung heads patient as the horizons,
High over valleys, in the red levelling rays

In din of the crowded streets, going among the years, the faces,
May I still meet my memory in so lonely a place

Between the streams and the red clouds, hearing curlews,
Hearing the horizons endure.
Ted Hughes ‘The Horses’

lease click on the images of artworks to take you to our website and see further details.
As always I can send videos from the gallery on Whatsapp.

Please follow us on social media where I will be posting clips from the current shows.

Very best wishes,

Aidan

17 November 2020  Mid November at Beaux Arts

Whence comes Solace?–Not from seeing
What is doing, suffering, being,
Not from noting Life’s conditions,
Nor from heeding Time’s monitions;
But in cleaving to the Dream,
And in gazing at the gleam
Whereby gray things golden seem.
-from Thomas Hardy ‘On a Fine Morning’

 

The air is wonderfully fresh and clear at this time of the year in Bath (when the sun comes out!), and the buildings look splendid in the low light.

We are gradually receiving all the work for our Christmas exhibition…

 

 

 

 

 

Not much golden sunlight in Ruth Brownlee’s depictions of seascapes around Shetland:

 

Though there is a reminder of spring in new work from Stewart Edmondson:

 

Nick Mackman’s exhibition of animal sculptures is always one of the big draws in the gallery.
Besides the animals she is well known for sculpting (which she goes out to Zambia to observe in the wild), such as wild dogs, warthogs and elephants, she will always include unusual, endangered or less celebrated animals.

To whit she has recently completed a Three-toed Pygmy

Sloth (native to a small group of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama):

Rumour has it there will be a herd of capybaras invading the gallery in December as well… watch this space!!

Formerly an apprentice of Edmund de Waal, ceramicist Chris Keenan brings his beautifully refined Limoges porcelain ceramics to the gallery.
Chris’s show is always eagerly anticipated.

From tenmoku and celadon glazes, he creates rhythmic and subtle variations in mostly small-scale, perfect forms.

We will also have new painting, sculpture and ceramics by Simon Allen, Jennifer Anderson, Akash Bhatt, Beth Carter, Alex Callaway, Andrew Crocker,  Linda Felcey, Sarah Gillespie, Patrick Haines, Harriet Porter, Pieter Vanden Daele, Helen Simmonds, Lara Scobie, Kate Sherman, Alice Walton.

And finally, from November 1806…

Another year!–another deadly blow!
Another mighty Empire overthrown!
And We are left, or shall be left, alone;
The last that dare to struggle with the Foe.
‘Tis well! from this day forward we shall know
That in ourselves our safety must be sought;
That by our own right hands it must be wrought;
That we must stand unpropped, or be laid low.
O dastard whom such foretaste doth not cheer!
We shall exult, if they who rule the land
Be men who hold its many blessings dear,
Wise, upright, valiant; not a servile band,
Who are to judge of danger which they fear,
And honour which they do not understand.

-William Wordsworth ‘November 1806’

The image shows an autumn view (two weeks ago) of Parade Gardens that WW might have seen whilst in Bath, from his dwelling on North Parade road.
His daughter Dora was married in a church located where M&S stands today…

Though we are closed, we can organise collections from the gallery, deliveries and/or try-outs of work at home (within reason), as well as short pieces of film footage, or photographs, of work in situ in the gallery.

Please let me know if we can help in any way.

Best wishes,

Aidan

7 November 2020  Latest Exhibition News from Beaux Arts Bath

21 November to 31 January

New Sculptures by Nick Mackman, Paintings by Ruth Brownlee, Ceramics by Chris Keenan

Plus New Painting, Sculpture and Ceramics by
Simon Allen, Jennifer Anderson, Akash Bhatt, Beth Carter, Alex Callaway, Andrew Crocker, Stewart Edmondson, Linda Felcey, Sarah Gillespie, Patrick Haines, Harriet Porter, Pieter Vanden Daele, Helen Simmonds, Lara Scobie, Kate Sherman, Alice Walton

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace.
Even so my sun one early morn did shine
With all-triumphant splendour on my brow;
But out, alack! he was but one hour mine;
The region cloud hath mask’d him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
Suns of the world may stain when heaven’s sun staineth.
-Sonnet 33, W. Shakespeare

Many thanks to everyone who came to see the exhibition that featured the work of Helen Simmonds, Christopher Marvell and Patricia Shone. It is only when the gallery is closed one realises how nice it is to have people looking round the exhibitions and enjoying (or not !) the work.

I will be here at the gallery during lockdown, should you wish to get in touch to get further images of work, information on artists, or video footage via whatsapp. All our delivery people are also working so we can do contactless deliveries, or try-outs at home of particular artworks.  Work may also be collected from the gallery.

Looking ahead:

Nick Mackman’s ceramic sculptures are always a big hit. The 2020 menagerie will include a group lion cubs, a pack of wild dogs, anteaters with their pups, a three-toed sloth, plus a guest appearance of this group of baby Warthogs:

Click here (or on the image above) to go to Nick’s page.  All the work will be in place the gallery on 21 November.
We will be updating the site with further animalistic delights later this month. Please let me know if you would like to be notified.
Images and short film snippets will be uploaded to our social media accounts, and if you would like photos or footage, just let me know.

Chris Keenan has also done a stunning collection of new work for our new show!!  Click here or on the image below to go to his webpage.

Other Christmas show highlights include new work by Jennifer Anderson, Akash Bhatt, Alex Callaway, Andrew Crocker, Stewart Edmondson, Linda Felcey, Sarah Gillespie, Patrick Haines, Harriet Porter, Pieter Vanden Daele, Helen Simmonds, Lara Scobie, Kate Sherman, Alice Walton.

This is a wonderful new piece of work by rising star Alice Walton:

And a new portrait by Jennifer Anderson:

This is a new painting by Stewart Edmondson:

For Christmas we will also have a collection of Shetland seascapes from by Ruth Brownlee. Her work completely sold out when we last hosted a collection:

Click here to see more of Ruth’s work – we will be updating the website at the end of November with further images.
Please get in touch if you would like to be notified.

I set a line and looked back at the valley. It was like a green open hand among the hills.
The cliffs stood near and far, red, gray, black. In the valley chimneys began to smoke, one of them mine.
Ingi was up. A green offering hand, our valley, corn-giver, fire-giver, water-giver, keeper of men and beasts.
The other hand that fed us was this blue hand of the sea, which was treacherous, which had claws to it,
which took more than ever it gave. Today it was peaceable enough.
Blue hand and green hand lay together, like praying, in the summer dawn.
                                                                              -George Mackay Brown from ‘A Time to Keep and Other Stories’

If I can provide further information or details on any of the works in the forthcoming exhibition please let me know.
Similarly for delivery possibilities or try-outs in situ, or video footage- please message me.

Very best wishes to everyone.

Aidan

October 24 2020  Latest Exhibition News from Beaux Arts Bath

10 October to 7 November

New Paintings by Helen Simmonds, New Sculptures by Christopher Marvell, New Ceramics by Patricia Shone

‘The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;’
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.’

There are 50 Helen Simmonds paintings in the gallery so the exhibition is well worth a look. A gentle reminder:

If you still haven’t watched ‘A Still Life’, please have a look on the ‘films’ tab on the webpage (whilst also looking at the images of the paintings themselves of course…)
Click on the image above for a link to Helen’s webpage. You can also see the film on our youtube channel, or on IGTV on Instagram.

Patricia Shone’s ceramics have come all the way from Skye, and look very well for the trip.
Click on the image above to see images of her work.

Christopher Marvell’s bronzes can be viewed by clicking on the image of the small pig (taking the sun) below.
They are sculptures which gladden the heart, no bad thing at the present time!

And finally…
…..

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?
from WB Yeats’s ‘The Wild Swans at Cool’

For further photographs, short video footage via whatsapp, or anything else, please get in touch!

Best wishes,

Aidan

27th July 2020

david-tress

Buttercup Fields, Yockenthwaite, Mixed Media on Paper 47 x 64 cm.

NEWSLETTER 7- David Tress: Artists’ Travels 

No doubt artists have always travelled. Renaissance artists travelled from city state to city state in fifteenth and sixteenth century Italy to find work and look for more generous patrons. Dutch and Flemish painters also travelled to Italy to add polish to their art, and the landscapes observed on their journeys made a great impression on them.

Jan Both from Utrecht travelled to Rome in the 1630s, and even after returning home to the flat landscape of the Netherlands he continued to paint landscapes with mountainous backgrounds bathed in a golden southern light. Jan Siberechts was one of many Dutch artists who came to Britain in the seventeenth century and brought with them the skills that provided the foundation for the flourishing of later generations of British artists. Siberechts was employed by aristocratic patrons to paint their country houses and estates, and these – often ‘bird’s eye’ views – are finely painted, but one painting of his stands out as quite exceptional. His ‘Landscape with Rainbow, Henley on Thames’ of about 1690 is a ravishing view of storm clouds and sun casting patterns of light and shadow over a river landscape with a double rainbow in the distance. It has such sensitivity to the power and pathos of light and shadow moving over the land that it could almost have been painted a century later in the Romantic period.

Both Dutch and Italian artists were powerful influences on the development of a British landscape school, and in the 1760s and 70s Richard Wilson used his knowledge gained from time spent in Italy to paint pictures of his British patrons’ country houses, transmuting their English country parks into Italianate settings.

It was in this period in the second half of the eighteenth century that humble watercolourists were employed by aristocratic patrons to accompany them on their travels – after all, without cameras what else could you do but bring an artist with you to record your holiday snaps! Such topographical artists might be taken to Italy on the Grand Tour, but later in the century when wars with France restricted continental travel the focus moved to trips within Britain. Thomas Pennant was accompanied by the artist Moses Griffith on his tours of Wales in the later 1770s, and the accomplished watercolourist John ‘Warwick’ Smith acquired his middle name after he accompanied the Earl of Warwick to Italy in the 1770s and 80s. Later artists gained more independence on their travels, the most indefatigable of them being J M W Turner who must have put up with many hardships to fill his sketch books with studies from England, Wales and Scotland. He managed to reach Inverness – no small feat on horseback and occasional coach – and even found his way to Loch Coruisk in the south of Skye.

david-tress

At Loch Meavaig, Harris, Graphite on Paper 30 x 39 cm.

For ten years from 2001 I worked on a project to follow the routes that these eighteenth century artists took in northern Britain. Having spent time researching their journeys I set out to follow their itineraries, travelling to different parts of northern England and Wales and to Scotland in a number of trips of ten days or so at a time. I took with me the same basic tool kit as the earlier artists – watercolours, ink and a sketchbook. These are admirably suited to the job being portable but still capable of great expression in capturing the details and also the atmosphere of the various landscapes encountered. I learnt many things in making these tours, and they answered numerous questions. Why, for example, did so many artists draw Dolbadarn Castle in North Wales? Well, it is an impressive isolated castle in wild surroundings which tuned in with the tastes of the time, but when I started mapping the eighteenth century artists’ routes it became obvious that there were – indeed still are – only two or three larger roads through Snowdonia, and any artists who chose to explore that area would have been almost certain to take a route that passed Dolbadarn. Some sites such as those around Ullswater in the Lake District had hardly changed in the 250 years since those earlier topographers had drawn them. In other areas the landscapes and buildings had been surrounded by high-rise buildings and busy urban life. When I made my own paintings for the project I relished the visual changes that I found as well as those places that had retained the stillness and emptiness of earlier centuries.

Today I still regularly travel to different parts of Britain and Ireland taking my sketch book with me. Recently I’ve been to Bodmin Moor, The Penwith Peninsula, Durham and North Yorkshire, Wiltshire and Exmoor. I’m always fascinated by the topography of what I find on these travels – the details, the shapes, the textures of what I see, but I also make paintings which explore the more visceral qualities of these landscapes – the feeling of light and space, the movement of sun and shadow and of rain squalls across the face of the land.

David Tress

See images of David’s work here

To see a short film about the exhibition click here

27th July 2020

david-tress

Buttercup Fields, Yockenthwaite, Mixed Media on Paper 47 x 64 cm.

NEWSLETTER 7- David Tress: Artists’ Travels 

No doubt artists have always travelled. Renaissance artists travelled from city state to city state in fifteenth and sixteenth century Italy to find work and look for more generous patrons. Dutch and Flemish painters also travelled to Italy to add polish to their art, and the landscapes observed on their journeys made a great impression on them.

Jan Both from Utrecht travelled to Rome in the 1630s, and even after returning home to the flat landscape of the Netherlands he continued to paint landscapes with mountainous backgrounds bathed in a golden southern light. Jan Siberechts was one of many Dutch artists who came to Britain in the seventeenth century and brought with them the skills that provided the foundation for the flourishing of later generations of British artists. Siberechts was employed by aristocratic patrons to paint their country houses and estates, and these – often ‘bird’s eye’ views – are finely painted, but one painting of his stands out as quite exceptional. His ‘Landscape with Rainbow, Henley on Thames’ of about 1690 is a ravishing view of storm clouds and sun casting patterns of light and shadow over a river landscape with a double rainbow in the distance. It has such sensitivity to the power and pathos of light and shadow moving over the land that it could almost have been painted a century later in the Romantic period.

Both Dutch and Italian artists were powerful influences on the development of a British landscape school, and in the 1760s and 70s Richard Wilson used his knowledge gained from time spent in Italy to paint pictures of his British patrons’ country houses, transmuting their English country parks into Italianate settings.

It was in this period in the second half of the eighteenth century that humble watercolourists were employed by aristocratic patrons to accompany them on their travels – after all, without cameras what else could you do but bring an artist with you to record your holiday snaps! Such topographical artists might be taken to Italy on the Grand Tour, but later in the century when wars with France restricted continental travel the focus moved to trips within Britain. Thomas Pennant was accompanied by the artist Moses Griffith on his tours of Wales in the later 1770s, and the accomplished watercolourist John ‘Warwick’ Smith acquired his middle name after he accompanied the Earl of Warwick to Italy in the 1770s and 80s. Later artists gained more independence on their travels, the most indefatigable of them being J M W Turner who must have put up with many hardships to fill his sketch books with studies from England, Wales and Scotland. He managed to reach Inverness – no small feat on horseback and occasional coach – and even found his way to Loch Coruisk in the south of Skye.

david-tress

At Loch Meavaig, Harris, Graphite on Paper 30 x 39 cm.

For ten years from 2001 I worked on a project to follow the routes that these eighteenth century artists took in northern Britain. Having spent time researching their journeys I set out to follow their itineraries, travelling to different parts of northern England and Wales and to Scotland in a number of trips of ten days or so at a time. I took with me the same basic tool kit as the earlier artists – watercolours, ink and a sketchbook. These are admirably suited to the job being portable but still capable of great expression in capturing the details and also the atmosphere of the various landscapes encountered. I learnt many things in making these tours, and they answered numerous questions. Why, for example, did so many artists draw Dolbadarn Castle in North Wales? Well, it is an impressive isolated castle in wild surroundings which tuned in with the tastes of the time, but when I started mapping the eighteenth century artists’ routes it became obvious that there were – indeed still are – only two or three larger roads through Snowdonia, and any artists who chose to explore that area would have been almost certain to take a route that passed Dolbadarn. Some sites such as those around Ullswater in the Lake District had hardly changed in the 250 years since those earlier topographers had drawn them. In other areas the landscapes and buildings had been surrounded by high-rise buildings and busy urban life. When I made my own paintings for the project I relished the visual changes that I found as well as those places that had retained the stillness and emptiness of earlier centuries.

Today I still regularly travel to different parts of Britain and Ireland taking my sketch book with me. Recently I’ve been to Bodmin Moor, The Penwith Peninsula, Durham and North Yorkshire, Wiltshire and Exmoor. I’m always fascinated by the topography of what I find on these travels – the details, the shapes, the textures of what I see, but I also make paintings which explore the more visceral qualities of these landscapes – the feeling of light and space, the movement of sun and shadow and of rain squalls across the face of the land.

David Tress

See images of David’s work here

To see a short film about the exhibition click here

27th July 2020

david-tress

Buttercup Fields, Yockenthwaite, Mixed Media on Paper 47 x 64 cm.

NEWSLETTER 7- David Tress: Artists’ Travels 

No doubt artists have always travelled. Renaissance artists travelled from city state to city state in fifteenth and sixteenth century Italy to find work and look for more generous patrons. Dutch and Flemish painters also travelled to Italy to add polish to their art, and the landscapes observed on their journeys made a great impression on them.

Jan Both from Utrecht travelled to Rome in the 1630s, and even after returning home to the flat landscape of the Netherlands he continued to paint landscapes with mountainous backgrounds bathed in a golden southern light. Jan Siberechts was one of many Dutch artists who came to Britain in the seventeenth century and brought with them the skills that provided the foundation for the flourishing of later generations of British artists. Siberechts was employed by aristocratic patrons to paint their country houses and estates, and these – often ‘bird’s eye’ views – are finely painted, but one painting of his stands out as quite exceptional. His ‘Landscape with Rainbow, Henley on Thames’ of about 1690 is a ravishing view of storm clouds and sun casting patterns of light and shadow over a river landscape with a double rainbow in the distance. It has such sensitivity to the power and pathos of light and shadow moving over the land that it could almost have been painted a century later in the Romantic period.

Both Dutch and Italian artists were powerful influences on the development of a British landscape school, and in the 1760s and 70s Richard Wilson used his knowledge gained from time spent in Italy to paint pictures of his British patrons’ country houses, transmuting their English country parks into Italianate settings.

It was in this period in the second half of the eighteenth century that humble watercolourists were employed by aristocratic patrons to accompany them on their travels – after all, without cameras what else could you do but bring an artist with you to record your holiday snaps! Such topographical artists might be taken to Italy on the Grand Tour, but later in the century when wars with France restricted continental travel the focus moved to trips within Britain. Thomas Pennant was accompanied by the artist Moses Griffith on his tours of Wales in the later 1770s, and the accomplished watercolourist John ‘Warwick’ Smith acquired his middle name after he accompanied the Earl of Warwick to Italy in the 1770s and 80s. Later artists gained more independence on their travels, the most indefatigable of them being J M W Turner who must have put up with many hardships to fill his sketch books with studies from England, Wales and Scotland. He managed to reach Inverness – no small feat on horseback and occasional coach – and even found his way to Loch Coruisk in the south of Skye.

david-tress

At Loch Meavaig, Harris, Graphite on Paper 30 x 39 cm.

For ten years from 2001 I worked on a project to follow the routes that these eighteenth century artists took in northern Britain. Having spent time researching their journeys I set out to follow their itineraries, travelling to different parts of northern England and Wales and to Scotland in a number of trips of ten days or so at a time. I took with me the same basic tool kit as the earlier artists – watercolours, ink and a sketchbook. These are admirably suited to the job being portable but still capable of great expression in capturing the details and also the atmosphere of the various landscapes encountered. I learnt many things in making these tours, and they answered numerous questions. Why, for example, did so many artists draw Dolbadarn Castle in North Wales? Well, it is an impressive isolated castle in wild surroundings which tuned in with the tastes of the time, but when I started mapping the eighteenth century artists’ routes it became obvious that there were – indeed still are – only two or three larger roads through Snowdonia, and any artists who chose to explore that area would have been almost certain to take a route that passed Dolbadarn. Some sites such as those around Ullswater in the Lake District had hardly changed in the 250 years since those earlier topographers had drawn them. In other areas the landscapes and buildings had been surrounded by high-rise buildings and busy urban life. When I made my own paintings for the project I relished the visual changes that I found as well as those places that had retained the stillness and emptiness of earlier centuries.

Today I still regularly travel to different parts of Britain and Ireland taking my sketch book with me. Recently I’ve been to Bodmin Moor, The Penwith Peninsula, Durham and North Yorkshire, Wiltshire and Exmoor. I’m always fascinated by the topography of what I find on these travels – the details, the shapes, the textures of what I see, but I also make paintings which explore the more visceral qualities of these landscapes – the feeling of light and space, the movement of sun and shadow and of rain squalls across the face of the land.

David Tress

See images of David’s work here

To see a short film about the exhibition click here

27th July 2020

david-tress

Buttercup Fields, Yockenthwaite, Mixed Media on Paper 47 x 64 cm.

NEWSLETTER 7- David Tress: Artists’ Travels 

No doubt artists have always travelled. Renaissance artists travelled from city state to city state in fifteenth and sixteenth century Italy to find work and look for more generous patrons. Dutch and Flemish painters also travelled to Italy to add polish to their art, and the landscapes observed on their journeys made a great impression on them.

Jan Both from Utrecht travelled to Rome in the 1630s, and even after returning home to the flat landscape of the Netherlands he continued to paint landscapes with mountainous backgrounds bathed in a golden southern light. Jan Siberechts was one of many Dutch artists who came to Britain in the seventeenth century and brought with them the skills that provided the foundation for the flourishing of later generations of British artists. Siberechts was employed by aristocratic patrons to paint their country houses and estates, and these – often ‘bird’s eye’ views – are finely painted, but one painting of his stands out as quite exceptional. His ‘Landscape with Rainbow, Henley on Thames’ of about 1690 is a ravishing view of storm clouds and sun casting patterns of light and shadow over a river landscape with a double rainbow in the distance. It has such sensitivity to the power and pathos of light and shadow moving over the land that it could almost have been painted a century later in the Romantic period.

Both Dutch and Italian artists were powerful influences on the development of a British landscape school, and in the 1760s and 70s Richard Wilson used his knowledge gained from time spent in Italy to paint pictures of his British patrons’ country houses, transmuting their English country parks into Italianate settings.

It was in this period in the second half of the eighteenth century that humble watercolourists were employed by aristocratic patrons to accompany them on their travels – after all, without cameras what else could you do but bring an artist with you to record your holiday snaps! Such topographical artists might be taken to Italy on the Grand Tour, but later in the century when wars with France restricted continental travel the focus moved to trips within Britain. Thomas Pennant was accompanied by the artist Moses Griffith on his tours of Wales in the later 1770s, and the accomplished watercolourist John ‘Warwick’ Smith acquired his middle name after he accompanied the Earl of Warwick to Italy in the 1770s and 80s. Later artists gained more independence on their travels, the most indefatigable of them being J M W Turner who must have put up with many hardships to fill his sketch books with studies from England, Wales and Scotland. He managed to reach Inverness – no small feat on horseback and occasional coach – and even found his way to Loch Coruisk in the south of Skye.

david-tress

At Loch Meavaig, Harris, Graphite on Paper 30 x 39 cm.

For ten years from 2001 I worked on a project to follow the routes that these eighteenth century artists took in northern Britain. Having spent time researching their journeys I set out to follow their itineraries, travelling to different parts of northern England and Wales and to Scotland in a number of trips of ten days or so at a time. I took with me the same basic tool kit as the earlier artists – watercolours, ink and a sketchbook. These are admirably suited to the job being portable but still capable of great expression in capturing the details and also the atmosphere of the various landscapes encountered. I learnt many things in making these tours, and they answered numerous questions. Why, for example, did so many artists draw Dolbadarn Castle in North Wales? Well, it is an impressive isolated castle in wild surroundings which tuned in with the tastes of the time, but when I started mapping the eighteenth century artists’ routes it became obvious that there were – indeed still are – only two or three larger roads through Snowdonia, and any artists who chose to explore that area would have been almost certain to take a route that passed Dolbadarn. Some sites such as those around Ullswater in the Lake District had hardly changed in the 250 years since those earlier topographers had drawn them. In other areas the landscapes and buildings had been surrounded by high-rise buildings and busy urban life. When I made my own paintings for the project I relished the visual changes that I found as well as those places that had retained the stillness and emptiness of earlier centuries.

Today I still regularly travel to different parts of Britain and Ireland taking my sketch book with me. Recently I’ve been to Bodmin Moor, The Penwith Peninsula, Durham and North Yorkshire, Wiltshire and Exmoor. I’m always fascinated by the topography of what I find on these travels – the details, the shapes, the textures of what I see, but I also make paintings which explore the more visceral qualities of these landscapes – the feeling of light and space, the movement of sun and shadow and of rain squalls across the face of the land.

David Tress

See images of David’s work here

To see a short film about the exhibition click here

21st July 2020

david-tress

Looking Out (Above Porlock), mixed media on paper 50 x 64 cm.

NEWSLETTER 6- David Tress: Romantic Landscape

In July 1798 William and Dorothy Wordsworth made a trip to the Wye Valley, a place that had become a well-known destination for leisured tourists in search of Picturesque landscape since the publication in 1782 of William Gilpin’s ‘Observations on the River Wye’. They had travelled from the Quantocks where in the previous years the Wordsworth’s and Coleridge had combined to create the poems that were to be published as “Lyrical Ballads’. William Wordsworth’s experience in the Wye Valley was the inspiration for his poem ‘Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey….’ and on his return he stopped at Bristol to visit the publisher of Lyrical Ballads, Joseph Cottle. The printing of the books was well advanced but Wordsworth persuaded Cottle to find room for ‘Tintern Abbey’ at the end of the Lyrical Ballads.

‘Tintern Abbey’ is a work that sets out some of the key elements of a Romantic response to landscape. In it we find themes that were essential to Romantic art: landscape as a site in which the past is felt to be fused with present experience; the landscape as a whole – earth and sky connected in a total experience and the dissolution of the self as part that experience; the spiritual perceived as immanent – as contained within – all elements of the landscape- raindrops, leaves, trees or clouds may be charged with spiritual content. Contemporaries and later artists and poets pursued these themes.

Constable, though relishing the earthiness of his Stour Valley fields, ponds, barges and buildings nevertheless perceived the landscapes that he delighted in as God’s work and therefore suffused with spiritual meaning. Samuel Palmer, in his visionary paintings of Shoreham in the 1820s and 30s, undoubtedly saw these landscapes as imbued with spiritual significance. A century later we find David Bomberg painting immediate and expressive – indeed expressionist – landscapes in Britain and Spain which record a personal spiritual response to his subjects, and Joan Eardley’s paintings in the 1950s of stormy seas at Catterline on the east coast of Scotland give a powerful sense of the painter losing herself in the immensity of sea and sky.

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Big Wet Cloud. Fields Below Dunkery Beacon, mixed media on paper 50 x 60 cm.

We might expect Neo-romanticism, in its brief heyday in the 1940s and 50s, to furnish numerous examples of landscape as the site of spiritual experience but we have to do a bit of searching. Paul Nash, the ‘father’ of the Neo-romantics, whilst adopting Surrealism as a modernising format in which to present his work, started as a painter of late Symbolist landscapes, and a sense of the spiritual as something immanent in the objects and places that he painted- this is reasserted in the late series of landscapes such as ‘Landscape of the Vernal Equinox’ of 1944. These late landscapes are imbued with spiritual and mythical portentousness, and remind us of his constant use of the phrase ‘genius loci’ – spirit of place. Graham Sutherland was greatly influenced by Nash, and Sutherland’s paintings – many of them resulting from his discovery of Pembrokeshire in the late 1930s – have a great sense of ‘presence’, albeit rarely a benign one.

I was a student at the time of Abstract Expressionism and although abstraction in the twentieth century rarely had much to do with landscape, we should not forget how fundamental a sense of the spiritual was to Rothko. Even Jackson Pollock was heir to the Romantic tradition, filling his works with spiritual and emotional torment which he poured into their making. Whilst I am always fascinated by the details of what I see – the topography: the forms, textures, patterns and lines of the landscapes that I look at, I am never happy unless the painting that I am making also records my response – emotional or spiritual – to the landscape that I am involved with.

 

David Tress

 

See images of David’s work here

To see a short film about the exhibition click here

13th July 2020

david-tress

Earliest Spring, mixed media on paper 58 x 59 cm.

NEWSLETTER 5- David Tress: Paintings with a History 

Over many years, the way that I make paintings has steadily evolved so that now they usually have very heavily painted, worked and layered surfaces. This has parallels with the ways that landscapes are made – continually marked, scoured, added to and modified by weather, human impact and geology.

But this is not the reason that I developed my way of working. It certainly wasn’t a calculated or planned development of technique and use of materials, and was far more to do with gut feeling and instinct about how to create an image with depth and intensity.  Using materials in this way is an essential part of the way that I paint in the studio rather than outside in the landscape. My subject matter – patterns of land, sea coast, buildings and woodland – is gathered directly from the landscape by drawing – I take a sketch book and spend time looking and travelling by car or on foot and stopping to make drawings in pencil or pen. These can be fairly brief if I’m looking at a landscape that I know well, but can also be quite detailed in new environments.

I take the sketchbooks back with me to the studio and it there that I begin work on fully worked out paintings or drawings. This is important because it means that in the studio I am not just making topographical paintings – paintings that simply record the details of buildings or places. The studio paintings are about something else – they are an attempt to make images which record something about my response to what I have seen and drawn in the sketchbook – they are records of a relationship with the landscape.

In the studio I often begin work by making a quite straightforward drawing on a sheet of the very thick water colour paper that I always use. This helps me get an idea of what I am dealing with – the details of the subject matter, the way the image fits into the sheet of paper. I begin painting by blocking in the big masses of the composition, all the time redrawing and beginning to move the image around. The redrawing may be in paint or pencil but is often scored with a sharp point into the paper. Scored lines are the start of a process, a gradual accretion of physical marks that may be visible through to the end of the painting or may very likely be half covered with paint or completely covered over, erased or torn away. Slowly the image evolves building up from scored and torn paper and paint– I already have a clear idea of what the final picture will be, what I want to say about the landscape by making the image, but the way in which I might arrive at a final statement is far from clear.

david-tress

Far Liatach Sun, Shadow, mixed media on paper 33 x 47 cm.

Ideas will be developed – and erased, the painting will expand and contract, ebb and flow. One major struggle with the painting is how to achieve something that expresses the power and immediacy of the landscape that I saw? Certainly not just by making a drawing and filling in the shapes with paint. Real landscapes change, are unpredictable. The experience of standing out in the land can vary from calm and pleasant to uncomfortable, cold or even dangerous. How then to attempt to achieve a sense of this power in the painting?

Risks must be taken – I know well the details of my drawing in the sketch book, but to attempt to achieve an immediacy, an excitement of something newly seen and discovered I have to take risks: risks with applying the paint and risks with the material of the painting – scoring tearing, replacing and adding to the image. The elements of risk, gut feeling and immediacy in applying paint must always be tempered and balanced by employing the disciplines of drawing, tone, colour, composition, the creation of illusionistic space through use of tone and perspective, and careful attention to tone and colour to give the feeling of atmosphere, time of year, time of day and weather. The painting at this point is precariously balanced between success and failure – if it is to succeed it will need skill, discipline, vigour and some indefinable essence that may or may not appear.

 

All these processes will be continued over days or sometimes weeks and if all goes well the finished painting will carry the physical evidence of the efforts made to create it – the half covered marks, the layers of paint and paper the quality of colour and tone and composition. In other words it will be a painting with a history.

David Tress

See images of David’s work here

To see a short film about the exhibition click here

7th July 2020

david-tress

Stourhead. The Pantheon, mixed media on paper 32 x 39 cm.

 

NEWSLETTER 4- David Tress: Picturesque Tours 

 

There is a long history of artists, armed usually with a sketch book and water colour paints, touring Britain, the continent and further afield, and discovering, examining and drawing what they saw. Roman artists must have travelled to some extent to find subjects for their villa walls, and Renaissance artists on their trips across the Alps between northern and southern Europe observed extraordinary mountainous landscapes and included them as backdrops in their religious paintings.

The first great age of artist travellers was the eighteenth century when in Britain painters such as Paul Sandby, David Cox, J M W Turner and many others set out to tour England, Wales and parts of Scotland  armed with water colour paints and tough sheets of handmade paper. They recorded landscapes, buildings, rivers and sea coasts, and they were influenced by writers such as William Gilpin who from the 1770s advocated a careful selection of landscape views that he considered suitable for appreciation – ‘Picturesque’ landscapes that had nicely balanced and informal contrasts of rough textures and were quite distinct from the more formal classically influenced subjects beloved of earlier generations.

When the idea of the Sublime – of landscapes of awe and even terror – became fashionable, Turner was in his element with threatening storms and vertiginous Alpine views. These hard-working and tough artists favoured Picturesque routes through Britain, and putting up with goodness only knows what hardships of inclement weather and flea-infested inns, created an immense body of work which, to this day, influences the way in which we see landscape.

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Rain Squall and Sudden Light (Beinn Bhan), mixed media on paper 45 x 61 cm.

As a student I enthusiastically embraced some of the then current fashions of the art world. I started by following Abstract Expressionism and, later, spent time as a conceptual artist. Later when I left art college I abandoned conceptual art because I realised that what I really wanted to be was a painter. I also flouted the then (and still now) conventions of the fashionable art world by deciding to paint in water colour. I had a gut feeling that in this medium lay the route ahead. I also began to read some of the books written by late eighteenth century theorists on landscape painting such as William Gilpin.

Later, from 2001, I worked on a project culminating in a touring exhibition called ‘Chasing Sublime Light’. For this project I researched, and later spent time following, the routes that eighteenth century painters took through North Wales, Northern England and Scotland in pursuit of Picturesque and Sublime subject matter. From this experience I learnt much of interest about the earlier artists’ journeys, and was also keen to appreciate the modern developments along the way.

I remember one occasion when I found the spot from which Girtin had painted his view of Kirkstall Abbey in 1800. Girtin’s view of this picturesque ruined abbey at evening set in a quiet and spacious river valley had been replaced with busy, dirty main roads, traffic signs, pylons and high rise buildings on the skyline. All these elements of contemporary life were enthusiastically incorporated into my later painting of the spot.

 

David Tress

See images of David’s work here

To see a short film about the exhibition click here

30th June 2020

Old Dilton, Wiltshire, Watercolour and Mixed Media on Paper, 29 x 38cm.

Old Dilton, Wiltshire, Watercolour and Mixed Media on Paper, 29 x 38cm.

NEWSLETTER 3- David Tress: Churches in the Landscape 

For as long as I have been painting I have also been visiting churches – not so much for festivals, services and other events that take place in them, but more often when I find myself passing by on a quiet week day, and I am able to spend time absorbing the filtered light of the interior and the story of the church’s past which is revealed in its interior details and its exterior construction.

Cathedrals, of course, are breathtaking and magnificent architectural and engineering masterworks in stone but my greatest fascination is with small parish churches. Whereas cathedrals are usually built from stone imported from a considerable distance – Caen or Portland stone are good examples – small parish churches are literally rooted to the landscape in which they stand, built out of the materials that surround them whether that be local stone and slate in Wales or splendid mixtures of flint, red tile and thatch in East Anglia.

The history of the church will be revealed in its styles of stonework, arch and window, and also in the materials used. Alton Barnes in Wiltshire sports a jaunty red brick chancel proudly dated 1748 which is attached to a Saxon stone nave. Such modest parish churches may show clear evidence of the wider patterns of social and economic history.

Occasionally a medieval ‘doom’ board showing the Day of Judgement will be found above the chancel arch: saved souls are shown being led to paradise whilst sinners are herded into the mouth of Hell by monstrous devils. More likely any doom board will have been replaced by a royal coat of arms from the centuries after the Reformation. The church may retain clear window glass and box pews from the eighteenth century, an expression of both protestant simplicity and an increasingly successful property-owning middle class as at Molland on the southern edge of Exmoor. By contrast Blisland Church near Bodmin Moor – a favourite of John Betjeman – has a wonderfully extravagant rood screen created at the end of the nineteenth century, an effusive expression of late Victorian religiosity.

Great Durnford, Wiltshire Interior, Watercolour and Mixed Media on Paper, 29 x 39cm.

Great Durnford, Wiltshire Interior, Watercolour and Mixed Media on Paper, 29 x 39cm.

Often a church visit is as much about the people, places and landscapes discovered on the way as it is about the destination itself. Perhaps a chance meeting with vicar or rector, or – more usually – a lady arranging flowers will enliven the visit with some local stories of the church, village and surrounding area. The church building itself is a demonstration of the village life and community – evidence of changing political, social and religious tides and the ebb and flow of prosperity and hard times.

All these things are a trigger to my interest in making drawings and paintings of churches, but in particular the look and feel of a church, the way in which it sits in its landscape and the visual and textural quality of the building are the spur to making a painting. Even more important than this is the simple ‘feel’ of the church – how does it feel to sit quietly inside allowing my eye to trace the patterns of sunlight from the windows falling on pews or Harvest Festival offerings. Whether I am returning to a favourite and much-visited country church, or on a brief visit to a newly explored area of Britain, it is this ‘resonance’ that more than anything makes me want to record the experience in paint.

David Tress

See images of David’s work here

To see a short film about the exhibition click here

22 June 2020 

david-tress

Big Summer (To The South), Garn Fawr, graphite on paper 41 x 59 cm.

NEWSLETTER 2 – David Tress : Past and Present

My first visit to Pembrokeshire, nearly fifty years ago, was as a schoolboy on a hiking trip in the summer holidays. Later during my time at art college in Nottingham I again visited and, immediately after the final college exhibition, I moved there for good, arriving with all my possessions – which amounted to not much more than some clothes, some books and a table. The table I still have in my studio, and after all these years it is encrusted with gnarled layers of paint  and tied together with string.

I have talked to other people about their first experience of visiting Pembrokeshire and they quite often remember it as almost revelatory. For me that first visit as a schoolboy – to the area around St Davids – was memorable and impressive but it wasn’t until some years later that I began to work out why. Certainly the details of that landscape, its small fields bounded by earth and stone banks topped with thorn trees, and rising to isolated outcrops of rock, have a magical quality. More fundamental than all these elements is a deeper sense of being in contact with a landscape in which the past is vital part of the present day.

Driving past Clegyr Boia, a rock outcrop near St Davids, the foreground may be a screen of thorns and a traffic sign, but we know that Neolithic people lived on top of the outcrop and that the massive stone remains of their burial chamber lie on the adjacent headland with its wide view of the western sea. Overlooking the north coast of Pembrokeshire at Strumble Head the rocky hill of Garn Fawr, is topped by the tumbled remains of an Iron Age hill fort.  On the lower slopes of the ‘Garn’  John Piper had his studio in one of two cottages half sunk into the landscape. Other artists provide a link between the recent past and the ancient prehistory of this landscape. Graham Sutherland made one of his best early etchings, ‘Clegyr Boia’, 1938, as a result of his first visits to the area.

Mythical and religious themes link together the present and the past in this landscape. The magical wild boar of Welsh mythology,‘Twrch Trwyth’,  appeared out of the sea at Porthclais just south of Clegyr Boia before being hunted over Pembrokeshire by Arthur and his band of men.  In the sixth century, the age of the saints, St David established his group of humble monastic huts in a marshy valley which is now the site of St David’s Cathedral.

As a centre of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages the Cathedral was a focus for pilgrimage routes and the small chapels that sprang up along these ways to provide rest, food and spiritual sustenance for the pilgrims. The chapels were abandoned after the Reformation but ruins of some still exist.

Spring Coming, Glynsaithmaen', mixed media on paper, 41x63cm

Spring Coming, Glynsaithmaen, mixed media on paper 41 x 63 cm.

For others the only evidence is now just a name as at Parc y Capel (chapel field) just outside St Davids. The ruins and way markers of old pilgrim routes are now passed by holiday traffic and caravans; they remind us of the rich past of this vibrant present landscape and indeed in recent years increasing numbers of today’s pilgrims are once again following the old routes.

David Tress

See images of David’s work here

To see a short film about the exhibition click here

15 June 2020
david-tress

Big Sky South. Dunkery Beacon, mixed media on paper 59 x 78 cm.

 

NEWSLETTER 2 – David Tress:  Landscape as Palimpsest

Most of the paintings and drawings that I make are characterised by their very obvious, and vigorously textured, paint and paper surfaces. This way of working has developed gradually over many years and has to do with my wish – or rather, something stronger than just a wish; more a gut feeling – that I want to make paintings which, in their physical presence, have some parallel to the physical immediacy of the actual landscapes that I go out to draw.

The sheer excitement of visiting certain places where the landscape may be spread out in front of me, charged with life by movement of sun, shadow, cloud and rain, is something that I want to convey to the best of my ability. To achieve this vigour I find it necessary to work and rework a painting many times with layers of paint and collage – using a very thick and high quality watercolour paper – and one of the qualities resulting from this way of working is that the finished paintings show the ‘history’ of their making in the dense pattern of brush strokes, and the web of scraped, scored and collaged marks. Earlier marks may be hidden by later paint strokes, or perhaps half-hidden in the later additions of paint. One way of looking at this is as a ‘palimpsest’.

What is a palimpsest? Strictly speaking a palimpsest is a half erased image of writing or drawing that occurs when a medieval manuscript – usually on vellum – is cleaned off for re-use. Despite the cleaning, the original text is never completely erased, and still shows as a ‘ghost’ image hidden behind later script. The parallel with the way of making paintings that I have described is clear, and there are more ways in which the word ‘palimpsest’ can be applied not just to paintings, but to landscape itself.

Humans have been making marks on the land for several thousands of years – paths, roads, ditches, field boundaries, earthworks – all of these create physical marks which remain stamped to varying degrees on the landscape for millennia. Some of the earlier marks will be half obscured, other later marks will be much clearer. The idea that these marks form a sort of landscape manuscript from which the history of the landscape can be read came increasingly to the fore in the later nineteenth century and developed further in the twentieth century. Rudyard Kipling, in his poem ‘Puck of Pook’s Hill’ published in 1906, describes the series of marks on the landscape of Sussex where he lived which, if correctly read, show the history and pre-history of human occupation there.

david-tress

Oak. The Time of the Silage, mixed media on paper 68 x 81 cm.

In the 1920s the archaeologist OGS Crawford made groundbreaking discoveries using the new technique of aerial photography to see otherwise invisible marks on the landscape made by human occupation. In March 1934 the archaeological periodical ‘Antiquity’, which was edited by Crawford, included an article by H J Randall in which the author used the word ‘palimpsest’ to describe English landscape.

So landscape as palimpsest parallels painting as palimpsest and is a description rich in suggestion and depth.

David Tress

See images of David’s work here

To see a short film about the exhibition click here

April 2020

Congratulations to Akash Bhatt on being chosen from more than 4700 entries to be shortlisted for the Derwent Prize 2020 for ‘Living Room’.  Regular visitors to Beaux Arts will recognise Akash’s works and Madhu, Akash’s mother. A portrait of Madhu was the winner of the Sunday Times watercolour award in 2015.  She has also been a regular visitor to Beaux Arts over the years to attend opening evenings for her multi-award winning son !!  More of Akash’s work can be viewed here:   https://www.beauxartsbath.co.uk/artists/akash-bhatt/

The Derwent Art Prize is being shown online. Click here to browse the 70 shortlisted works of art.

It will be opening at gallery@oxo, London and 20 Rue Saint Claude, Paris in due course (early 2021) and was due to tour the UK (including a stint at Trowbridge art Gallery in Wiltshire).

The People’s Choice Award can be found and voted for on Facebook

Read more about the Derwent prize on: https://www.derwentart.com/en-gb/c/about/company/derwent-art-prize

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February 2020

Congratulations to Jack Doherty on being shortlisted for the Loewe Craft Prize 2020!
The Loewe Foundation has announced 30 shortlisted artists for the 2020 edition of the Craft Prize. The prize, now in its fourth year, presents an exciting array of objects that prove a mastery of material, from 6 continents and 18 different countries. The annual prize was launched in 2016 to celebrate excellence, artistic merit and newness in modern craftsmanship, as well as a tribute to Loewe’s beginnings as a craft workshop in 1846.

Jack Doherty

Guardian Vessel, Soda Fired Porcelain h27 x 29 cm.

 

The award, conceived by creative director Jonathan Anderson aims to acknowledge the importance of craft in today’s culture. The winner will be announced 19 May 2020. Each finalist’s work will be exhibited at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris from 21 May to 12 July 2020.

June – October 2019

Jennifer Anderson is 1 of 44 artists whose work has been selected to show in the final group of the National Portrait Gallery’s ‘BP Portrait Award’ exhibition.
Her shortlisted painting ‘Saskia’ is below. You can vote for Jennifer’s painting here– the winner of the public vote receives the BP Portrait Visitors’ Choice Award.
Good luck Jennifer!

Saskia has been painted by Jennifer before, she spotted her on a friend’s instagram feed. She was intrigued by her ethereal quality and asked if she would be willing to sit for a painted portrait.
See more paintings of Saskia here at the gallery.
If you would like any more information about Jennifer’s work please contact us.

Jennifer Anderson Phosphor, Oil on board 60 x 63 cm.

Phosphor, Oil on board 60 x 63 cm.

 

Jennifer Anderson November Sun, Oil on aluminium 25 x 25 cm.

November Sun, Oil on aluminium 25 x 25 cm.

 

Jennifer Anderson Dawn Light, oil on aluminium 25x25cm

Dawn Light, Oil on aluminium 25 x 25 cm.

September 2019

The Royal West of England Academy’s 167th annual open exhibition opened its doors on Sunday 29 September. Located in a spectacular Grade II listed building in the heart of the Bristol, the RWA is the UK’s only regional Royal Academy of Art and one of only five in total. The RWA is committed to providing great art for everybody, and to promoting the understanding and enjoyment of art for the widest possible audience.
Exhibitions at the RWA always feature work by leading contemporary artists (including the RWA’s own Academicians) alongside great works from the past, opening up new and surprising contexts and discussions- we spotted some familiar faces in their new show…

 

Beth Carter

 

Anna Gillespie

 

Sarah Gillespie

 

Joy Wolfenden Brown

July 2019

Akiko Hirai is among 29 artists nominated for this year’s LOEWE Foundation Craft Prize. The prize, of 50,000 euros, will be presented to the winner at the opening of the 2019 Loewe Craft Prize exhibition in Tokyo.

The LOEWE Foundation Craft Prize, now its third edition, champions artists who have ‘made fundamentally important contributions to the development of contemporary craft’ and ‘whose talent, vision and will to innovate promises to set a new standard for the future’. It was launched by the LOEWE fashion brand’s creative director Jonathan Anderson, a craft collector himself. The work of the shortlisted makers – selected from over 2,500 submissions from more than 100 countries – will go on show at Isamu Noguchi’s indoor stone garden ‘Heaven’ at the Sogetsu Foundation in Tokyo.

Akiko Hirai’s next exhibition here at Beaux Arts Bath opens in October 2019.

April 2019
Anna Gillespie’s new, permanent sculpture ‘SHIP’, commissioned for Morecambe Bay Partnership at Half Moon Bay, becomes simultaneously a welcoming beacon and a symbol of fond farewell at a traditional point of departure and arrival. Purposely crafted to be of no clear historic reference, yet making overt reference to the Viking longboats of former Bay dwellers, the evidently seafaring structure marks the boundary of land and sea. The two, accompanying ‘boatmen’ figures look forward and back, a reference to both the nature of any journey and the inevitable changes in Morecambe Bay’s landscape, population and industrial heritage, where fishing and shipping sit side-by-side with the contemporary influence of nuclear power. The sculpture will offer viewers the chance to stop and reflect, continuing the Bay’s ancient traditions as a place of retreat, spiritual reflection and pilgrimage.
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Anna Gillespie SHIP, Bronze and corten steel, commissioned by Morecambe Bay Partnership for Half Moon Bay, Morecambe

March 2019
Congratulations to Patricia Shone who won the ‘Emmanuel Cooper Award’ at Ceramic Art London. The ‘Emmanuel Cooper Award’ is given by The Craft Pottery Charitable Trust which was set up in 1991.
For the last 5 years, the Trust has invited a museum with a notable collection of contemporary ceramics to select a piece of work at CAL which they would like to acquire for their permanent collection. The Trust buys the work from the potter using a bequest from the estate of the late Emmanuel Cooper and donates it to the museum.
This year the Victoria & Albert Museum was invited to make the choice, and chose the wonderful piece below.
  
Erosion Bowl, hand formed from high iron clay. Wood fired on sea shells to the point of the ceramic form softening. 
 
See more of Patricia’s work here.
October 2018
Anna Gillespie has collaborated with engineering firm Buro Happold to create a sculpture that will be installed on the Elizabeth Parade, Bath at the end of October. The sculpture ‘Maid of the Bridge’ is being made using pieces of Victorian metal – obtained when the Victoria Bridge was being refurbished.
Watch the video below to hear Anna Gillespie talk about the ‘Maid of the Bridge’ project.
 

May – December 2018
Dartington Arts has invited Sarah Gillespie to be their artist in residence on the Dartington Hall Estate in Devon. You can see what she is getting up to on her instagram feed here.
   

January 2017

A huge congratulations to ceramicist Adam Buick who has received a ‘Creative Wales Award’ from the Arts Council of Wales. There are awards of up to £25,000 for artists who have had achievements in their career and will encourage creative experimentation and research for future practice.

‘My artistic vision is to make work that embodies the landscape that inspires me. I use a single pure jar form as a canvas to map my observations from an ongoing study of my surroundings. Through the use of gathered materials in the ceramic process and through acts carried out within the landscape I hope to create a narrative, one that conveys a unique sense of place.’ – Adam Buick

A2. Moon Jar, Stoneware with WaunLlodi slip and Nuka glaze h.38 cm.

December 2016

‘How to Make a Proper Alien’ a new book by artist Nathan Ford.

44 pages, 22 x 28 cm. All illustrations are from original paintings by Nathan Ford. A limited number of books will be signed by the artist, contact us here for more information.

'How to Make a Proper Alien' a new book by Nathan Ford

September 2016

The Royal West of England Academy’s 164th Annual open exhibition features a great mixture of artists- including some familiar faces…

Anna Gillespie

 

 

Helen Simmonds

 

Sarah Gillespie

Moorhen, Drypoint Ed. of 3 40 x 60 cm

 

June – Aug 2016

The Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy in London shows us all aspects of contemporary art – and this year’s exhibition features a number of familiar artists…

Sarah Gillespie’s brilliant and contemplative mezzotint ‘Absence’ is on show, with a landscape by Tom Hughes and some of Donna McLean’s atmospheric paintings lit only by torchlight…

 


Sarah Gillespie ‘Absence’

 

 

Tom Hughes Van with Pylon in Lockleaze, December Oil on Panel 20 x 25 cm
Tom Hughes

 

 


Donna McLean
May 2016
After winning the prestigious Sunday Times Watercolour Artist of the Year 2015, Akash Bhatt is on the judging panel for the 2016 prize! The other judges for the competition are; Sara Dudman, artist; Simon Oldfield, Curator and gallery owner; Desmond Shawe-Taylor CVO, Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures and Louis Wise, Critic and Writer, The Sunday Times.

The Winners will be announced in the Culture section of the Sunday Times on Sunday 28th August.

Akash-painting-Mum

Pictured: Akash Bhatt with the winning painting of his Mother titled ‘Blue Room’ 2015, (and the lady herself on the right).

April 2016

Anna Gillespie has been chosen to exhibit in the ‘Elements of Capability’ Outdoor group sculpture show at Lacock Abbey. The show commemorates the 300th anniversary of the birth of Capability Brown, whose vision transformed the grounds of the landed gentry in the 1700s and is on from 30 April – 22 May.

Read more about the event here



ANNA GILLESPIE
‘Let Heaven Go’
Bronze, Ed. 3 233 x 60 x 60 cm.
November 2015

The wonderfully talented Sarah Gillespie has had her beautiful charcoal drawings chosen to cover the new editions of Wuthering Heights, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Jane Eyre – being republished by Penguin Vintage Classics ahead of next year’s 200th anniversary of the extraordinary Bronte sisters. Well done Sarah- they look sensational!

 

brontes3

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Read more about how Sarah’s exquisite drawings were chosen here

November 2015

Nathan Ford’s painting ‘Party Wall’ has been shortlisted for the John Ruskin Prize 2015. The winner will be announced in February 2016. Nathan will have new work on view during the London Art Fair at the Business Design Centre, Upper Street, Islington, Stand G19, 20-24 January.

 

September 2015

Akash Bhatt has won the Sunday Times Watercolour Artist of the Year Award 2015.

The winning painting is a portrait of his Mother titled ‘Blue Room’. He has used colour and composition brilliantly, we love her striking orange sari- congratulations Akash!

To view the video of the judges deliberation process and their fantastic comments click here

 

blue-room

June – Aug 2015

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition offers a fantastic array of contemporary art – and this year’s exhibition is a riot of colour, variety and features 4 of Beaux Art’s talented artists…

Jo Oakley

Sarah Gillespie

 

Simon Wright

 

Donna McLean

June 2015

The brilliant ceramic sculptor Nick Mackman has won the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) Wildlife Artist of the Year 2015. She was the overall competition winner with her charming sculpture ‘Sleepyheads’ pictured below.

nick-mackman-Sleepyheads-sm-600x400

To read more follow the link below:

http://www.davidshepherd.org/news-events/news/devon-sculptor-is-the-2015-dswf-wildlife-artist-of-the-year/

May 2015

It is fantastic to see two of Anna Gillespie’s beautiful bronze sculptures being incorporated into Chris Beardshaw’s garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show again this year.

‘Let Heaven Go’ (pictured below) is a striking silhouette amongst the lush foliage and his dark patina goes with the velvety purples and is almost bark-like when looking through the trees…

Let Heaven Go, Bronze Ed. 5 233 x 60 x 60 cm inc. base at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015      Let Heaven Go, Bronze Ed. 5 233 x 60 x 60 cm inc. base at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015

‘Trust’ is situated in another part of the garden, framed in an alcove he brings a different, more intimate pose to the garden.

Trust, Bronze Ed. 6 196 x 68 x 46 cm at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015      Trust, Bronze Ed. 6 196 x 68 x 46 cm at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015

Read more about the Gold medal winning garden below:

The Morgan Stanley Healthy Cities Garden, designed by Chris Beardshaw

September 2014

Takeshi Yasuda

We are thrilled that Takeshi Yasuda has been awarded an honorary degree from Bath Spa University, three weeks prior to the opening of his show here at Beaux Arts Bath on October 11th.

June 2014
Anna Gillespie

Above is Anna Gillespie’s sculpture ‘Gateway’ made from recycled paper at the Glastonbury Festival 2014. Watch a video of the installation by clicking on the image.

June 2013

Glastonbury sculputre

Anna Gillespie’s The Tree People sculpture forms part of a gateway to the 60-acre Green Fields zone at this year’s Glastonbury Festival.

To read a BBC article about the commission please click here.

May 2013

To The Limit low res

Anna Gillespie’s two bronze sculptures Homage and To The Limit are exhibited in Chris Beardshaw’s Gold award winning Arthritis Research UK Garden at the 100th RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Watch the video here.

Homage is sited in the Veiled Garden and To The Limit is displayed centrally in the Lucid Garden.

Homage low res

Please click on thumbnails below to see full size articles and links.

Kensington & Chelsea Magazine, May 2013 – issue 015

The Kensington & Chelsea Magazine May 2013 Cover thumb   The Kensington & Chelsea Magazine May 2013 thumb

 The Arthritis Research UK Garden Guide, PDF

Artritis Reasearch UK Garden cover thumbArthritis Research UK Garden PDF thumb

April 2013

Frink made sculpture - like this horse lying down - to please herself

Elisabeth Frink’s exhibition at the Beaux Arts in Cork Street receives much critical acclaim. Coinciding with release of the handsome catalogue raisonné, published by Lund Humphries and edited by Annette Ratuszniak, it reproduces all of Frink’s 402 sculptures and includes a short story by Michael Morpurgo.

Read the recent Telegraph article written by Andrew Lambirth celebrating the work of Elisabeth Frink here.

September 2012

29Peppered Mothsdryp_eng_45x70_5Ed5

Sarah Gillespie’s Drypoint engraving  ‘Peppered Moths’ (above)  has been chosen as one of the 125 works in this year’s Threadneedle Prize which runs at the Mall Galleries from 26 September to 13 October.  Following the Threadneedle prize Sarah is showing alongside her sister, sculptor Anna Gillespie, at Beaux Arts, between 15 October and 6 November.

May 2012

Nick Mackman has won second prize in the Wildlife artist of the year award.  She is photographed below with David Shepherd, and with her award winning wild dogs…..

 Davidshepherd_1  wildlife_award

 May 2012

Nathan Ford’s wonderful painting ‘Joachim’  appeared in the 2012 BP prize held at the National Portrait gallery in London. Brian Sewell commented ‘A number of small paintings require a measure of contemplation before we see how good they are … past the sketch left unfinished at the shrewdly chosen moment. Half a dozen check the visitor’s stride with some combination of perception, insight, understanding and the painter’s sleight-of-hand — by Nathan Ford (whose Joachim, unfinished, not wholly clarified but delicately smudged, reinforces a conviction formed last year that he is a painter to watch)’

To read the full article click here

joachim_1_12

Nathan’s painting of ‘Alpha’ was exhibited at the Royal Society of Portrait painters at the Mall Galleries in May too.

 alpha_0448
April 2012

Nathan’s portrait ‘Abi II’ collected the second highest total votes for best painting in last year’s ‘People’s Vote’ at the  BP portrait  prize exhibition.

  Eabi

Writing about the BP show, amid the ‘hooey phooey and bilge’ , according to the Evening Standard’s Brian Sewell,

If push came to shove I might just consent to sit for Nathan Ford whose ragged attack on Abi (a cider-sodden tramp I presume) might suit a man of my age and general dishevelment. I sense that he sees something beyond the surface of this sitter, a Scholar Gipsy, Ancient Mariner or Lear, and serves him well enough – though broader shoulders (or none) would have offered better support to so wild a head. There is something of Ilya Repin about it, his Tolstoy or another Volga Boatman.

Click here to read Brian Sewell’s complete article for the London Evening Standard.

May 2011

Anthony Scott’s meeting with the Queen during her historic trip to Ireland , where she unveiled a sculpture commission he made for the Irish National Stud in County Kildare, is pictured below.

 

Ant_Queen_2011_1      Ant_and_Queen

Ant_Queen_2011_2      Ant_Queen_2011_3

 

The Irish Arts Review article on the Queen’s visit is here.

There is also an article in the Summer 2009 edition of the Irish Arts Review which looks at Anthony’s constant reference to Irish myth and legend.  Click here to read.

The article metamorphosis in the interior design magazine ‘Forma’ is included here.

Sept 2010

AKASH BHATT’s painting ‘Life’ was chosen as the winner of the ‘London Lives’ exhibition and a 25 feet long replica of the work is displayed on Blackfriars bridge in London until spring 2012.

Life

Click here to read the Bankside Gallery article.

Click here to read the Guardian article.

Click here to read the London SE1 article.

Click here to read the This Is Local – London article.

Oct 2010

AKASH BHATT won the Penguin Prize in the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition.

Click the thumbnails below to read an article about the competition.

Bhatt Watercolour pg1       Bhatt Watercolour pg2

Click on the thumbnail below to see Akash Bhatt’s page in the exhibition catalogue.

Bhatt watercolour cat pg

Click here to read the Arts Hub article about the competition.

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