We are two Wiltshire-based artists who have been brought together by Fiona Cassidy, curator at The Pound Arts Centre, for an exhibition of sculpture and painting: Ancient Landscapes: New Lines – complementing the Salisbury Museum summer 2017 initiative of celebrating British Art: Ancient Landscapes which is an exhibition that runs to 3 September 2017 at Salisbury Museum .
Both artists live within a few miles of each other in the Pewsey Vale and while this is a new collaboration of both artists and venue, it has also been an entirely new experience for Jonathan. After eleven years as Head of Marketing for an academic publishing company, Jonathan decided to leave the comfort of full-time work behind to pursue his lifelong ambition to be an artist.
Being fresh to this new world, Jonathan set goals for his first year, including: finding a studio space (tick!) and having an exhibition (tick!). The ‘Ancient Landscapes: New Lines’ exhibition opportunity came about following a conversation with Fiona Cassidy at one of the monthly Trowbridge ‘Artists cafè’ meet-ups.
Melissa had previously contacted Fiona after a communication with Wiltshire Arts Services about ongoing commissions and her new landscape sculptures, thus the connection to the British Art: Ancient Landscapes initiative was made and the idea for a complementary exhibition was born. Both artists made use of the services and connections available to them (with some pro-active self-promotion).
Our Artist Practices
We both work directly in the landscape:
Jonathan works out in the field, taking his canvas, paints, etc. with him (occasionally forgetting his brushes and having to use his fingers instead). Walking to his destination, Jonathan listens and feels the landscape under and around him, getting a sense of what the space feels like and how that might be translated into a painting.
Working quickly, often on two or three pieces at a time, Jonathan’s loose and expressive brushstrokes are inter-mingled with splashes of wetter colour and layered with gentle, sensitive lines of oil pastel over the top. Jonathan’s intention is to bring alive something of the spirit of the place and the season in which it was painted.
Melissa travels slowly through the landscape, and relies heavily on ‘remembering’ for her work which is then created in the forge from sketchbook work and photography but importantly from the memory of and the motion through the landscape. The sculptures she creates come from an energetic and dynamic making process, but results are calm and soothing, in direct in contrast to how they come about.
A visitor’s reaction to the work at The Pound sums them up:
‘I find your pieces very calm and they invite me to ponder my own journeys. Such flowing elegance and precision, genius!’
Although the two mediums of painting and sculpture capture the same parts of Wiltshire, the artists didn’t work in the field together: there were few opportunities for this in the timeframe available. But for Melissa, there has been a direct influence of Jonathan’s vibrantly coloured work in the finishing of her new sculpture, using colour effects/patinas otherwise not explored previously.
For Melissa, as an experienced artist working mostly to commission, the rare opportunity to create new sculptural work is also a chance to experiment with new ways of expressing with metal. The contrast between the two styles of work are also apparent: the fast, dynamic painted strokes and interaction with the space evident in Jonathan’s work are accentuated by the considered lines, shapes and hammer marks in Melissa’s evocative sculptures.
If you would like to meet us to talk about our practice at The Pound exhibition before it closes, please feel free to contact us and arrange a suitable time.
For more information about us visit:
Considering the contemporary geography in relation to ancient geology, our works are exhibited alongside Pitt Rivers Museum finds from excavation sites – objects held in the Salisbury Museum Pitt Rivers collection. The ‘Ancient Landscapes: New Lines’ exhibition runs until 2 September 2017 at The Pound Corsham
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