River and Sky

 

I divide my year between the Lot Valley in SW France and Cumbrian coast in NW England. In this exhibition I explored aspects of the landscapes from each country, based on daily observation and experience: in France , reflections and woods on the Lot and in Cumbria the sea and skies  of the Solway Firth whose coastline is punctuated by wind turbines.

 

Horizontality as a feature of landscape and how it shifts or is repeated, is central to both these bodies of work. It is a formal device which serves to emphasize elements which could be conflicting or contrasting - sea and sky, reflection and what is being reflected, movement and stillness, clarity and lack of clarity. In both places my aim is to conflate the image with the painterly marks and the marks with the image so that one is left puzzled as to which has dominance. It is the point where paint becomes image and image becomes paint which interests me.

Green is the dominating force in the French palette as it is a colour seen in all its varieties during summer in the Lot. It is impossible to tone down. By contrast, the greys and sombre tones of the Cumbrian views are lit up occasionally by fiery sunsets which illuminate the sky in unearthly glows. At first glance the French landscape seems more natural, or untouched than the Cumbrian one with its windfarms until one learns that the Lot valley was subjected to mining during the French Industrial revolution, polluting its surroundings and what we now see is a re-wilded landscape. In both there is a tension between that which cannot be altered and that which has been imposed.

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