six abstract painters : an exhibition

this is a small exhibition that i am currently showing some new paintings in, and as the title conveys, it features the work of six abstract painters, all with connections to east anglia. the artists are geraldine carratu, anthea eames, mari french, jazz green (that’s me!), joan hickson and john midgley. it opens today (saturday 28 may 2011) at the halesworth gallery, in the heart of rural suffolk…

i took these photographs of my paintings in the gallery on the day of the hanging. all went very smoothly, much helped by the assistance of jan & alan (and some tea & biscuits!). as any artist will tell you, transporting art & installing art exhibitions can be a tiring and sometimes stressful affair…

the halesworth gallery is wonderful space in which to show one’s work, as it has an honesty, simplicity & serenity that i find very appealing. it is not the white cube of a gallery space desired of most contemporary artists, but having recently exhibited in a 16th century church, the cellar of a medieval merchant’s house and two listed barns, halesworth gallery’s own period charm & modest character feels to be a ‘right’ context for my particular work (born as it is from the surrounding countryside), and i am very pleased to have been selected to exhibit here in 2011…

six abstract painters - an exhibition - halesworth art gallery, suffolk

this is the view of my art as you enter the third room of the gallery. my paintings are hung along the church-side wall (the gallery is directly opposite st mary’s church – i discovered some interesting lichens in the graveyard). note the ceiling with its old oak beams and the impressive inglenook fireplace – when i learnt that one could hang artwork in the fireplaces my red edgescape painting ‘rost‘ simply shouted to be included in this show. the floor (covered by some matting, under which i presume to be the original oak floorboards) has a gracefully uneven character about it too…

six abstract painters - an exhibition - halesworth art gallery

here are three of my abstract farmscape paintings from 2010, and this is their first public exhibition. i wondered if they might look a little too dark, cold or austere in this room as they are quite muted & monochromatic, but actually the light in the space seems to bring out the subtlety of colours and surface textures…

six abstract painters - art exhibition - halesworth gallery

this is looking back along the long expanse of white wall (it’s about 7 metres, with a casement window in the centre – this photograph is a bit washed-out), with the three farmscape paintings at the far end, another large edgescape painting, this one is called fenn, and then three canvases making their small entrance from the right…

six abstract painters exhibition - halesworth art gallery

the large abstract painting  fenn once again and six small works seen to the right, which leads around to the second fireplace in this room… i wanted quite a lot of whitespace around the painting fenn, but the green hue is subtly reflected in both farmscape II to the left and the three small abstract canvases situated on the right…

six abstract painters - jazz green - art exhibition - halesworth gallery

these are three new canvases from my ongoing travelling ‘iCons‘ series, wildwood I, II and III. i kind of broke my self-imposed rules of the iCons by giving all three abstract canvases the same title, but they had to be seen together in a sequence…

six abstract painters - an exhibition - halesworth art gallery - jazz green artist

to the right of the narrow doorway that leads back to the staircase are three more ‘iCons‘, siena, congo (there is a mention of congo here) and redwood. i chose to exhibit these three canvases together because of the obvious textural similarities to the architectural features of the room (dark oak beams and red brickwork)…

six abstract painters - paintings - exhibition halesworth art gallery

this photograph perhaps shows better how these three small canvases complemented or just ‘clicked’ in this particular location; i think that they hold their own quite well.

i am always reminded when i exhibit my work how very naturalistic, earthy and rustic my palette is for an abstract artist. it is a renewed sense of clarity about my work that i can’t always seem to realise within the confines of my very small studio.

there was perhaps another plan in my proposed layout for this exhibition, well a formative idea at least (that i was able to achieve in the end), that all my paintings if viewed from left to right would naturally transition from rusty red to deep brown or violet grey on to green and then into brown and rusty red again.

so, with all the paintings installed (as i had them originally mapped out on graph paper) i left the art gallery with a sense of all things in their rightful & purposeful place – and, at just that moment it began to rain. ever so slightly at first, like an erratic, hesitant wind-blown spray, an is-it-raining-or-not sort of rain, even though heavy rain showers had indeed been forecast, and it had been a blustery and overcast morning. soon enough the rain came down good and proper, but it was not enough of a downpour to call it a torrential rainstorm. the first fall of rain that afternoon brought about a fresh, dewy lustre to even the most parched of things – and the light green of the blossoming hedgerows were instantly repainted in a deeper, more luscious, vibrant green hue, set against the pale violet-grey sky.

this change in the atmospheric conditions, from so many days of sun to the cooler, changeable air seemed, metaphorically speaking, as if other matters were slowly shifting in alignment too. at least, this is what i momentarily thought as i headed back – mindful of the similarity to driving which focuses your attention on the road ahead but with a watchful glance back every now and again. the small window on the world that i was looking through was, at every precise sweep of the windscreen wipers, also clearing out the unnecessary clutter in my mind. i have some art out in the real world and can concentrate on some printmaking again.

given the simple title of this exhibition, i hope that my paintings will provide a small glimpse into my ‘abstracted’ world. i will have to visit the exhibition again as there wasn’t the opportunity to fully appreciate the other artists’ work at the private view, but it was most interesting to meet the other artists and talk with friends and old acquaintances – and it transpires that i have previously been in group exhibitions with both anthea eames and john midgley – and perhaps it sort of makes natural sense, really – it is in the landscape of east anglia.

the exhibition ‘six abstract painters’ is on until wednesday 15 june 2011, and i hope it will, to coin a well-worn phrase, be something of an eye-opener to anyone who might consider ‘abstract painting’ is only about colour, pattern or moving paint around on a canvas until it looks ‘right’. all the painters in this exhibition respond to the ‘landscape’, the implicit emotional engagement or dialogue that exists between the artist, the places where they live or work and the substance or language of paint . i think i might write more about this particular aspect in another post, after i have revisited the exhibition…

Six Abstract Painters, Halesworth Gallery, Steeple End, opp. St Mary’s Church, Halesworth, Suffolk, IP19 8LL, 28 May to 15 June 2011, open daily, Monday-Saturday 11am to 5pm, Sundays 2pm – 5pm…

*please note, due to the unique character and age of the building those with mobility issues will find the steep, narrow stairs to the upstairs gallery difficult. please call the gallery on 01986 873064 should you require any assistance or more information prior to your visit…

2 Comments

  1. Lynn
    Posted May 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing your paintings. I live in rural Saskatchewan, a province in Canada, and your work reminds me of the flat, expansive, multi-hued landscape I look out on everyday. Thanks also for your thoughtful and insightful postings; I appreciate the time and effort required.

  2. Jazz
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    many thanks Lynn, that’s lovely to hear – delighted to find it is of some interest to someone so far away – and that my musings make some sense!!… i have always thought that Canada and the northern, bordering states of the USA would be quite awe-inspiring places to experience for real – i have to resign myself to seeing such expansive landscapes through other people’s eyes for now though (on flickr)…