The gallery reopens to visitors on Monday 12th April and we have added new works by Dawn Stacey and James Fotheringhame to our 'Signs of Spring' exhibition.
Rich in detail, Dawn Stacey's layered compositions on canvas give the impression of sumptuous textiles, featuring landscape, animal and plant life. Delicate flowers, insects, birds and hares appear in misty, indistinct landscapes as if part of an intricate, woven pattern.
Her latest collection of paintings are in cool greens and blues, earthy brown and delicate pink. Faint impressions as well as sharply outlined forms merge with background colour, contrasting with closely observed elements in the foreground. Look more closely and you'll spot tiny details such as seedheads, beetles or a human figure in the distance. Dawn explores the landscape where she lives in East Sussex and finds inspiration in a feeling of closeness with nature:
"During lockdown I've taken solace and become absorbed on my allotment nurturing and preparing the land for growth, experiencing intimate moments amongst the plants from flowers budding and leaves unfolding recording these details in my sketch- book. The sounds of the natural world of songbirds or moving grasses in the wind have given me a sense of tranquillity and peace that I've tried encompassed into this collection of paintings."
Dawn originally trained as a textile designer, before completing an MA in Illustration, and textiles remain a source of inspiration:
"The work has been influenced by botanical engravings, worn frescoes and tapestries that portray a passage of age and time, with the background telling a story of nature woven into the tapestry of the land and painted birds, butterflies or garden flowers emerging and unfolding onto the foreground of the final piece."
Nature painter James Fotheringhame has an intense curiosity for the natural world, studying it both in the field and in the studio. The flora and fauna around his gardens along with the wildlife he encounters near his home in Warwickshire, have provided the inspiration for this new body of paintings. His work is a striking combination of formal, representational painting and abstracted, gestural mark making. Detailed studies are contrasted with the raw surface of the canvas or broad washes of vivid colour as well as expressive drips and splashes of paint, the focus primarily on painting as a process and his experience in the studio with the work.