INSPIRED BY NATURE
Blue Owl Art is excited to bring together nine artists whose work revolves around their inspiration from the natural world. All the work is for sale and offers the collector original art work at an affordable price.
Exhibition runs Friday 1 May – 31 August 2015
GÂST, Lincoln based artists, performed Take Heed on the Opening night. What a performance they put on for us which added such a sense of event; based on the origins of tennis, they performed early style tennis using hand made wooden bats and cork balls – all for the lady in blue.
Blue Owl is open seven days a week; free parking; cafe on site
Mary-Jane Alexander was born in Zimbabwe and graduated from the University of Cape Town (BA Fine Arts) where she was taught by Maurice Van Esche who had been a pupil of Matisse. Before arriving in England in 1977, she exhibited widely in Zimbabwe, lectured in anatomy and life drawing at the Bulawayo Art College and presented programmes on Rhodesian TV.
From 1979, her work became closely associated with the theatre, reflecting her deep interest in both actors and dancers. She has been fortunate enough to have worked with many dance companies, including the English National Ballet, the Spanish Dance Society and Petra Siniawski’s Jazz Dance Company. Her last theatrical venture was a series of paintings based on Fosse which was at the Prince of Wales Theatre in the West End. She is passionate about dance in all forms and her fast method of working has been developed over the years to capture the movement of the dancers as swiftly as possible. Her interest in figures has led to a series of nude studies … a natural development from the studies of dancers.
Mary-Jane is also well known for her “African” paintings, which are based on memories of her childhood in Zimbabwe. She uses rich colour and dramatic composition in these works, which are usually produced deep in the heart of the English winter in her studio in Camberley. For three months in 2003, she was invited to be Artist in Residence at Bedales Junior School (Dunhurst). There, working with the pupils, she produced a large mural which was to commemorate the life and work of Michael Sterne, the founder of the International School in Swaziland.
Mary Jane has developed a wide portfolio of landscapes and these now form the main body of her work, as she has found the rhythms of the land and the sky as fascinating as the movements of the human body. All her work is characterised by its joy of the dramatic, not just in Hampshire and other parts of the South of England, but also in Southern Italy. This area has become very important to her as she now has a studio in the province of Caserta, Campania. Her landscapes are rich in both colour and texture and are all painted in the open air. This has inspired her to see the abstract form inherent in landscapes and she has recently found creative expression in abstract painting as well.
My work focuses on human nature, in particular group dynamics and social isolation. I am interested in the many facets of human behaviour – from the kindest of gestures to more sinister actions and Machiavellian treachery. As well as depicting dramas I also create tiny tales of growing and crumbling relationships using “anthropomorphic beings”, often set in an imaginary landscape.
The fantastical landscapes are inspired by formal public gardens like the Italian Giardini di Boboli and the Arboretum in Nottingham. These spaces provide the perfect environment for games and interaction.
The cast have human like bodies but often topped by heads from rabbits, foxes, donkeys and cows. Clusters of individuals and lone characters populate the scene where hierarchies, factions, prima donnas, leaders and minions coexist together: mirroring relationships in the workplace, the staffroom and the boardroom.
The source material is wide and varied – from the works of Shakespeare and Jane Austin, TV dramas and soaps, the playground, family dramas as well as history and politics. I create a central theme with a sideshow of characters with different agendas. The use of “anthropomorphic beings” depersonalises and allows the exploration tribal issues and identity. The paintings appear deliberately naive and child-like at first appearance, but on closer inspection the ‘playground’ is much darker and sinister. Whilst I have particular narratives in mind when creating the work, the stories are also deliberately ambiguous allowing the viewer to interpret the work for themselves.
Jackie Berridge is one of 32 artists (selected from the 447 artists) to show three paintings at the Nottingham Castle Open 2014. She was selected as one of the prize winners.
My current work is as much about the pleasure of making as it is about the subjects I paint, as I continue experimenting with oils. But when I try to capture a landscape or a still life I am trying to illustrate something about the silence of an “empty” scene or the singing of bright colours. I still have a long way to go to overcome the fear of the empty page and of the paint itself but I’m getting there!
The origination of painting the land begins its journey En Situ in the Plein Air. The creation of miniature Landscape studies, depicting the topographical detailing and forms of the land depict an affinity and connection with the natural surrounding. These formal elements provide a schema of information about the surrounding world, which can be developed further, in the studio environment, through the exploration of the material qualities of oil paint.
Utilising the studies as a framework and narrative, the journey through gesture, the labouring marks of the artist at work and a layering of texture and marks through paint, allow for an imaginative, spontaneous and abstracted response to a rather formal first impression of the land.
Accomplishing a BA HONS at The University of Lincoln, allowed me to explore the natural environment of Lincolnshire from an agricultural and coastal perspective. However new endeavours in London, where I’m currently undertaking an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art & Design, have lead me to explore the narrative of the manmade and natural, coexisting in this dense urban environment, which is challenging my adaption through paint.
Marlene Dumas, I believe, has identified an intrinsic element of my practice.
‘What a funny thing painting is. The abstract painters always insist on their connection with the visible reality, while the so-called figurative artists insist that what they really care about is the abstract qualities of life.’
I’m interested in capturing nature in a snapshot, identifying elements within a composition, which I believe would be both challenging and gratifying to paint. This first contact with the land is intensely figurative and perhaps does locate an essence of the mundane abstract qualities of life. Through identifying this visual reality, the challenge remains in how to abstract it and contest it through the materiality of paint.
Sheila Kerr began her creative journey in 2007 when she attended college to learn silversmithing. What started as a hobby, became a passion and is now a full time occupation. Sheila designs and makes jewellery in precious metals and gemstones and offers a bespoke service to her clients, both online and from her Harbourside studio on the west coast of Scotland. All pieces carry her personal maker’s mark from the Edinburgh Assay Office. Sheila sells through a number of outlets, galleries and the prestigious Turnberry Resort as well as the Robert Burns Museum. Sheila has received several awards for her work and in 2014 received a silver award for her Robert Burns inspired ‘Ae Fond Kiss’ pendant. Sheila has designed a number of collections and her latest work is ‘inspired by nature’. This comprises of a number of pieces – pendants, earrings and a ring. (PLEASE NOTE SHEILA’S JEWELLERY IS ON DISPLAY IN OUR CABINET LOCATED ON THE GROUND FLOOR).
CAROLYN J ROBERTS
Carolyn J Roberts is a Fine Art graduate from Loughborough University. Currently based in Leicestershire, she has exhibited throughout the East Midlands.
This new body of work for ‘Inspired by Nature’ has developed from her affinity for the landscape; from The Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Moors, to the North Norfolk coast and beyond…
‘Growing up in rural Lincolnshire I came to love and respect the landscape in all its many guises, whatever the season. As a child, time seemed to stretch on forever, and although the countryside altered with the farming calendar, the bones of the landscape seemed infinite. Fast forward to the present and we are aware, more than ever, of earth’s fragility. This mixed media work looks to capture this juxtaposition of permanence and vulnerability: the contour lines of the landscape contrasting with the delicacy of the tissue paper, soft ink and watercolour washes.
Impressionistic and abstract rather than representational, the work is my response to the landscapes I love and the issues it faces.’
Peter Roberts is a photographer currently based in Leicestershire, close to the National Forest. He enjoys photographing a wide variety of subjects; everything from architecture, urban decay, sporting events to wildlife and landscapes. He looks to capture the essence of a place or subject, or the unusual, often overlooked details in his work.
I am a Loughborough based painter and recent Fine Art graduate from Loughborough University. Since graduating in 2009 I have continued to live and work in Leicestershire, establishing my artistic practice from my small Loughborough based studio, painting, exhibiting, selling my work and working as a free-lance arts workshop leader.
My interests lie within the cross-over between nature, colour and painting, seeking to express the beauty of nature through the medium of paint. Conceptually driven by an interest in formal, aesthetic and material qualities and theoretically exploring the beauty of nature, my paintings convey to the viewer a vision or sense of my personal perspective and experiences of the world. The work uses colour, composition and gesture to investigate this.
The use of paint enables me to fuse the representational and the imagined. Its materiality allows for gesture and expression which help to indicate a personal experience and interpretation of nature.
My approach to landscape painting has been influenced by notions of the personalised landscape:
‘The painter goes through the landscape and sees what nobody else has seen because landscape painting comes from inside and not out. It depends entirely on who he is.’
(The Landscape as Emotion, Christopher Neve)
I take inspiration from my every-day surroundings, finding the extraordinary in the ordinary, and putting this down through paint. Within the paintings I aim to capture a sense of the magical and the mysterious, an encouragement to be curious about the world around us. I have exhibited widely throughout the East Midlands and UK, including various shows in Loughborough, Leicester, Nottingham, Grantham, Derbyshire, London and Kent and have also exhibited internationally, in Belgium and most recently Suzhou, China.
Trained at Central School of Art in London. My passion has always been for surface pattern and textiles. During my career in industry I designed ceramics and textiles for Marks and Spencer’s and major high street stores. Since 2002 I have worked as a successful freelance artist on textile, art and fashion projects in numerous schools in the area whilst continuing my own work.
I was inspired by the countryside in childhood when my mother passed on to me her passion for plants and wildlife. I often include text in my work and loved the descriptive words of the C18th countryside poet John Clare who lived at Helpston. I have linked this with conservation themes of the decline of nightingales arriving in the UK.
I like to work on textile and print pieces simultaneously linking drawn images, themes and colours to create multi layered surfaces. The textile work takes the form of layers of hand dyed fabrics, silk painting with quilting, free machining, embellishment and 3D work. The collagraph prints combine small individual plates with collage chine colle lines of poetry, arranged in a different format ensuring that each print is unique.