Many thanks to Jacksons Art Blog for this great review, recommending our new show Igniting Sight in their 7 unmissable exhibitions this July https://www.jacksonsart.com/blog/2019/06/28/art-exhibitions-on-now-july-2019/
2. Igniting Sight: Contemporary Artists Inspired by JMW Turner
Alex Lowery, West Bay 289, Oil on canvas, 61 x 148 cm
JMW Turner has provided an inspirational and aspirational artistic landscape to artists ever since his talent was first recognised. The Victorian critic John Ruskin described Turner as the artist who could most ‘stirringly and truthfully measure the moods of nature’ – Turner’s work still continues to inspire in the same way. By 1910 a wing of the National Gallery of British Art (now Tate Britain) housed his national bequest. In 1984 the annual Turner Prize was named in his honour, and in 2011 the Turner Contemporary gallery opened in Margate. In 2016 Turner’s image was chosen by the Bank of England to appear on the £20 note, honouring his profound contribution to British art.
Turner’s influence beyond the art world is staggering, but it is his influence on practising artists that this exhibition focuses on. Igniting Sight explores the ways in which his influence lives on in contemporary landscape painting, particularly in the work of six artists, all of whom to some extent belong in the great English Romantic tradition which began with Turner’s paintings.
One example is Alex Lowery, an artist known for painting in West Bay, as well as Portland and a select few other places. Turner’s sketches for his West Bay painting (c. 1828) are of particular interest to Lowery: ‘A few lines serve to evoke a stretch of coast that is instantly, and movingly, recognisable after more than 200 years.’ Lowery is aware that he looks for the still point, or what he calls ‘an essence, a kind of unchanging distillation,’ rather than for the drama of a landscape. Lowery’s own use of colour, his juxtaposition of solid land, of regular modern manmade buildings or street furniture against his broad translucent skies, certainly evoke such sensations.
Joseph Mallord William Turner, Bridport (West Bay), Dorset, c. 1828, Watercolour and graphite on paper, 342 x 489 mm