Sladers Yard Gallery, West Bay

Until 1 November

BR Rating ***

By Katie Brent

The larger-scale collages of Marzia Colonna’s work draw you in as you enter the space; an intriguing blend of greens and brown against a blue-sky background. The subject matter of rocks and trees suits the style of layered, painted paper overlaid to create a sense of distance and depth to the work.

The colours of yellow ochre and burnt sienna work well in the Tuscan landscapes, broken up by the vertical patterns of crops to describe the foreground.
Colonna draws inspiration for her collages from her surroundings in the coastal landscape here and in her native Italy. Her use of colour in the landscapes is carefully observed, as in Burton Bradstock Beach, a smaller collage which captures the familiar sandstone cliff-face and blue sky. The scale really works well with the collage technique, creating a sense of reality with a subtle blend of tones and textures.

Upstairs, the stand-out piece is Fishing Nets in Cochin. Here, Colonna captures the sense of the breeze and atmosphere perfectly, the painted grey of the sky in harmony with the collaged nets and foreground in gentle hues of greens, browns and greys.

There is looseness and freedom, which is impressive as the creation of the work must have been so carefully considered.

In the restaurant are a number of Gicleé prints that work very well, the best being West Bay. Again, the use of composition, colour and collage work in harmony.

Interestingly, the collection of water-colour floral pieces that hang opposite could have been painted by another artist. Bright, lively colours set against a white background present a sharp contrast to the complex layers and tones of the collages occupying the same space.

By |September 28th, 2015|Art, Katie Brent|0 Comments

Tom Hammick – The Trajectory of a Romantic

Allsop Gallery, Bridport Arts Centre

Until 25 July

BR Rating ****

By Katie Brent

The intensity and pureness of colour in Hammick’s work is the first thing that strikes as you step into the gallery, quickly followed by the large scale of some of his pieces. Standing in front of Three Beds your eyes drink in the colours, layer upon layer of colour apparent here. Subtle little edges visible of contrasting colours, flecks implying what lies beneath. The figure, solitary and motionless, suggests a contemplation of the surroundings. The centrepiece, a large blossom tree reminiscent of a Japanese woodcut, adds to the serenity and calmness emanating from that his painting.

Fallout depicts motionless standing figures, seen from behind, their gaze fixed on an erupting volcano in the distance. This draws you in, the viewer becoming one of the onlookers in this strange nightly world, at once dreamlike and yet familiar. Possibly there is a darker theme here: we, the viewers, are witnessing events that are out of our control.

Houses and people recur in Hammick’s work, confirming that family and place are important themes. In his woodcut, Outskirts, a house sits surrounded by trees and snow; the soft glow of the lights inside draws you in and is suggestive of its human inhabitants. The grain of the wood is visible up close and adds a lovely texture to the work and a subtleness of tone. The whole image is made up of muted, pastel tones of green, offset by the warm yellow and orange tones of the lights.

Hammick’s work is often inspired by the landscapes he has lived in, south-east England as well as Nova Scotia and Canada. I also sense a Japanese influence. His fascination with buildings and their locations is explored, both in suburban and isolated settings. His work reminds me of Peter Doig’s, which has a similar, dreamlike quality.

Here is an artist who is very confident in his work, his printmaking influencing his paintings and vice versa. At the heart of it is an understanding of colour and how this can convey emotion.

The exhibition coincides with the release of a new monograph of the artist’s paintings featuring text from Julian Bell, which is available to purchase from the gallery.

By |June 29th, 2015|Art, Katie Brent|0 Comments

Stephen Bishop Exhibition

Stephen BishopEype Church

10-5 Closes Sunday 14 June

By Katie Brent

Stepping through the doors into the cool interior of Eype church, the colours and vibrancy of Stephen Bishop’s artwork assails the senses. Richly textured surfaces and an array of subject matter: Dorset landscapes, Spanish villages, realistic and abstract compositions, strange figures staring out, seemingly lost in time.

The eye is drawn to his bright, textured Purbeck landscapes. By painting his landscapes in situ he is able to emphasize the sense of place, evoking the power of nature with the sweep of the palette knife.
Adjacent to this sits a painting of a mysterious doorway, stairs leading up to a door ajar. Here, layer upon layer of paint conjure a feeling of Mediterranean walls that have stood for hundreds of years, leading the viewer to wonder what lies beyond.

In contrast, his red boat painting is an impressive study of colour, light and reflection. It is reminiscent of the impressionists and is one of the stand-out images within the exhibition.

A flamenco influence runs through many of Bishop’s paintings; through the figures he depicts the use of expressive mark-making and rich colours, so that you can feel the syncopated rhythm as he paints. There are a couple of his paintings, Roma Travellers for one, in which the subjects stare straight at you, as if through the ages, reminiscent of old sepia photographs, capturing the romantic spirit of the travellers.

A smaller canvas, The other Man, also stands out, possibly through the contrast of the muted, cool colours to the vibrant reds and oranges around it, as well as the arresting composition. I guessed it was Ernest Shackleton, standing in the foreground with his grounded ship encased in ice in the background, with a couple of figures in between. Bishop is exploring the idea that Shackleton felt he was not alone, that there was a presence guiding him on his voyage as he set out to rescue his men.

Definitely worth catching before it closes in Eype; Bishop’s next exhibition is on Brownsea Island from mid-July.

By |June 9th, 2015|Art, Katie Brent|1 Comment

Larkspur Unveiled

7 May 2015
Never mind the election. Larkspur the longhorn bull was unveiled in all his bovine glory at The Bull Hotel this morning. Pictured: Katie Brent, the artist, with Alison Pember, general manager of The Bull.

By |May 7th, 2015|Katie Brent|1 Comment


Bull PictureThis admirable fellow, a longhorn show-bull by the name of Larkspur, will soon be taking pride of place behind the reception desk at the Bull Hotel. Painted in oil on canvas by Katie Brent, Larkspur, who resides on a farm between Halstock and Corscombe, replaces the equally accomplished portrait of Claudia Cardinale by Trish Wylie. Larkspur may not be as famous as the Italian film star, but to the Wessex eye he’s a touch more handsome.

By |May 5th, 2015|Katie Brent|0 Comments