Tuesday 17 October 2017

Beyond the Surface: David Tress and Jeremy Gardiner

 I've been a fan of the work of David Tress ever since I was introduced to it in 2005  by Katherine Holmes  when I did  courses with her at Malham  Tarn Field Centre . He also has a very good reputation as a  tutor  and I've been trying , without success, to get on one of his  classes for years at various venues, they fill up so quickly. So I'm thrilled to have got the last place on his workshop at Lund Studios in  September  2018.

Yesterday I went to see his exhibition  at Messums Gallery ( and spent so long poring over the surfaces, taking notes, that they offered me  a coffee!) I bought both the book and the catalogue  but you really need to see them in the flesh to appreciate the layers and marks.
They have a huge physical presence, built up of layers  of  torn and cut collaged heavy watercolour paper overlapping the edges, with impasto paint   scratched into. They have such energy and sense of place
I  loved the graphite drawings too, the paper distressed and torn and marks scored into the surface.
After lunch at  Bruton Place Pizza Express , I was intending to go to the Jasper Johns at The RA  and was reading the article about him in the Friends magazine. But then an advert for exhibition of Jeremy Gardiner at the Paisnel Gallery caught my eye and I headed there instead.  

Also involving layers of  heavy watercolour paper but excavated precisely with a knife  and painted with watercolours and Jesmonite. I loved the abstract compositions and colours which reminded me of Wilhelmina Barnes- Graham. The series were based on lighthouses ( including Portland) . Personally ( and it is a matter of taste) I wasn't so keen  on the photographic realism of the lighthouses themselves but the  coastal landscapes they were set in were wonderful. Again I bought the catalogue and also the book of the previous exhibition which was  collage and oils( and includes a film on CD)

So  I'm now delving in my stash for watercolour paper to tear, cut , layer and incise.

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