Silence and slow time

Silence and slow time

Paintings by Louise Balaam NEAC RWA, Nicholas Jones, Alfred Stockham ARCA RWA, Furniture by Petter Southall

4 February – 18 March 2023

This exhibition celebrates and explores the phenomenon of silence and slow time, where something can be both still and full of movement, silent and full of sound, paper-thin and able to create space and time and mood for years and years into the future.

The four artists in this show are highly regarded for the eloquence of their work. These are artists who step back from the illusions they are able to create, to consider what is actually going on. Alfred Stockham used to joke about being part of the Flat Earth Society, who see the world in two dimensions. Louise Balaam has said, ‘I love the way paint is simultaneously itself, essentially coloured mud, while also somehow evoking the space and light of the landscape.’ Nicholas Jones creates paintings that help to ‘open up space and light for others’. Petter Southall, working in hardwoods to make practical, strong furniture, uses design and craftsmanship to introduce lightness and space into his pieces and into the room around them.

Being aware of the physicality of these works seems to increase rather than reduce their impact. Louise Balaam’s energised gestural brushstrokes seem to make the wind blow out of her canvases, bringing a smile to your face. The quiet contemplation in Nicholas Jones’ paintings make you hold your breath in awe. Alfred Stockham’s exquisite paintings were always as much about the abstract as the subject matter – and many of them are abstract – where colours interact and create magical effects so much greater than the sum of their parts. Just in the same way that Petter Southall’s furniture takes straight lines and seems to curve them with wood that has been curved to lift his designs gracefully and allow them to fly.

The works in this exhibition are now available to view and buy online. Please follow the links to view each artist’s work. Any enquiries please contact us on

Louise Balaam Bright Sky, Carn Ingli oil on panel. 70 x 80cm

Showing for the first time at Sladers Yard, Louise Balaam is a painter of expressive landscapes, which communicate an intense emotional response to the experience of being outdoors. The materiality and sensual qualities of oil paint are important elements of her process. ‘For me, the light is a crucial aspect of the emotional impact of the painting. I’m fascinated by the mysterious way paint expresses things which can’t be put into words.’ 

She is influenced by the English landscape tradition, particularly Constable: ‘Painting is but another word for feeling.’ Other important influences include Joan Eardley and Peter Lanyon, as well as American abstract expressionist artists Willem de Kooning and Joan Mitchell. Louise’s work is also informed by writing about the natural world. She uses drawings she has made out in the landscape as starting points for her exploratory and intuitive technique – the painting develops through an almost unconscious process.

Louise Balaam is a member of the New English Art Club and of the Royal West of England Academy, and has a degree and a Masters qualification in Fine Art. She has work in many private collections and has shown in the Royal Academy Summer Show, the Threadneedle Prize, the Lynn Painter-Stainer Prize, and the Discerning Eye. Since 2010 she has had six solo shows at Cadogan Contemporary gallery in London. We are delighted to show her powerful exciting paintings here at Sladers Yard.

Nicholas Jones 2. A Deeper Meeting – Holy Isle acrylic on canvas. 110 x 130cm. £8,800

After some six or seven years painting the Arctic, Nicholas Jones is beginning to bring his work closer to home with his mesmerising paintings of Holy Island, Aran. The strength and purity of his Arctic work has won him a prestigious award from the Royal Geographical Society and Earth’s Wild Beauty category award in the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022. Now his clarity of vision and sensitivity to light effects is bringing that same lovely, lonely beauty to the Scottish Isles. 

Nicholas Jones was born in Bristol in 1965. He studied Fine Art at Bristol Polytechnic. He worked almost exclusively in the medium of stained glass for three years. In 1990 he returned to painting with a sudden confidence, intensity and independence. His paintings have shown frequently at the Crane Kalman Gallery over the last thirty years including eight solo exhibitions of his work since 2000. Nicholas showed his Arctic paintings at Sladers Yard in 2021.

Landscape, abstraction, colour and light have long been the dominant themes of Nick’s painting. Taking inspiration from the countryside, he has sought to evoke the world of nature and, above all, light. Over time his abstracted landscapes became more simplified – increasingly pure celebrations of colour and light. Between 2014 and 2017 a number of visits to Finnish Lapland culminated in over sixty paintings evoking the other-worldly beauty of the Aurora Borealis. In 2018 he was appointed Artist in Residence for the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute. Nicholas Jones is married to Jane Blazeby, a professor of surgery in Bristol. They have three adult children.

Alfred Stockham. Abstract Collage 2016 oil and paper on board 40.5 x 51cm + frame

Alfred Stockham’s jewel-like paintings often convey the deepest imaginative force through the simplest of structures. His use of colour, shape and composition are based on a lifetime of study. Hours of contemplation went into each painting, resulting in works of extraordinary vision. ‘My aim is to create an underlying visual dynamic, a tension between the motifs in the painting so that the poetry of the subject and the poetry of the composition support each other. The real or observed world and the subconscious dream world both play their part to make a painting sing.’ Alfred Stockham

Alfred Stockham spent seven years in the Royal Navy before leaving to study at Camberwell School of Art and the Royal College of Art where he was awarded a Silver Medal. He was a Rome scholar and Granada Arts Fellow at the University of York before 1968 when he took up a post as lecturer at Bristol Polytechnic (now the University of the West of England) where he became Head of Fine Art. He left to devote himself to painting full-time in 1988 until his death in 2020.

His work is in public collections throughout the UK and in private collections worldwide. As a painter, art teacher and friend, Alfred Stockham has inspired and influenced many artists working today as expressed in the film ‘Alfred the Great Inspirer’, made by painter Stephen Jacobson and film-maker Alex Kirby. He has exhibited in Europe and USA and widely around the UK, including often at the RA Summer Exhibition and at Sladers Yard regularly since 2008.

In Time Bench Petter Southall

Petter Southall’s beautiful bentwood furniture and small wooden buildings bring together exceptional design with exquisite craftsmanship. His work is distinguished by simple confident lines and brilliant detailing. 

Petter learned to work wood as a boatbuilder in Norway. He studied cabinetmaking at the College of the Redwoods in California under James Krenov and came to UK to study sustainable design in wood at John Makepeace’s Hooke Park College. He has been making his designs in sustainable solid Northern European hardwoods in UK since 1991. His work is in numerous exceptional private, public and corporate collections in UK, Europe and USA.