In the Mind’s Eye
Saturday 30 January – Sunday 14 March 2021
In the mind’s eye, memory and imagination hold sway. We perceive the world through the cipher of our human senses, via the changing direction and nature of our attention, in minds that are influenced by moods, memories and sensations. Everything, you might deduce, is unreliable and individual. However, good artists are able to reach our minds’ eyes directly, startling us with a common perception, a common humanity. The three artists in this exhibition all paint landscape in very different ways, each reaching for different areas of our human perception.
David Atkins works entirely outdoors, looking at his subject matter and responding with paint, which he enjoys, and makes us enjoy, in its physicality as much as its representational value. He works in oil which may be thin and running or thick impasto. The more abstracted his work becomes, the freer it is. The works in this show are some of the finest paintings his career so far. They were painted during the summer lockdown, local to Dorset, and freed from the constraints of time and commitment. In painting the sea and sky David Atkins’s heroes are Turner and Constable whose ground-breaking works still seem astonishingly contemporary.
Rachel Fenner painted most of her paintings as a release after lockdown last summer, when she was finally able to visit ancient woodlands and the coast. Rachel was one of the first environmental sculptors in the seventies and eighties, working for councils all over Britain making public spaces into artworks relating to the natural world. She has always had a passion for nature, particularly its detail and the processes of growth, decay and regeneration. Many of the works in this show are inspired by the ancient original woodland Ty-canol in Wales, of which very little remains, but which comes to us in these paintings as a powerful and precious resource. When she visited Ty-canol it was, she says, ‘intense, like a revelation. I felt surrounded by personalities who were interacting with each other. I thought, I love this place and these paintings poured out in the following weeks.’ Rachel’s way of painting relates to the Modern British painters pre and post WWII, with elements of Paul Nash and Graham Sutherland coming into a voice that is nevertheless absolutely her own.
Paul Jones’s landscapes are abstracted, filtered by the eye and hand of the artist, transformed into something textured, simplified and quietly beautiful. He has built up a unique language of form, colour and texture to explore the complexities of coastline, geology and landscape. Paul’s technique of burning and stressing his paint creates exceptional textures which with the partially visible layers of colour give a strong sense of geology and history. Paul Jones was a scholarship student at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, where Adrian Heath, Robyn Denny and Howard Hodgkin were his tutors. He has been painting professionally for forty years exploring the margins of sea and land, where geological time, memory and the moment conflate.
View each artist’s work by following the links on their name.