Opening at Watts Contemporary Gallery on 14 January (until 13 March), Heartlands: Inspired by Our Landscape brings together unique work by eight local artists to celebrate Surrey’s treasured landscapes.
Heartlands: Inspired by Our Landscape also shows a deeper connection with nature that many of us have experienced over the past two years as we have spent more time closer to home.
Featured artists are: Diana Croft, whose highly detailed reduction linocuts capture the rolling landscape of the Surrey Hills; Jennifer Jokhoo, who is drawn to the county’s wide skies and spectacular seasonal changes and Yeside Linney, who is largely self-taught and was recently runner-up in the Surrey Artist of Year 2021 competition. Yeside describes her work as a “crucible”, through which using acrylics and inks she creates “feeling of places”.
Ruth Taylor, a painter who finds constant inspiration in the low mists, reed beds and beaches of Frensham Ponds; Grace Ellen, motivated to paint by learning about conservation and the need to protect our environment; Jane Browne, whose tapestries blend different yarns to capture the myriad textures evident in the landscape; Tania Busschau, a member of the Society of Graphic Fine Art, whose favourite subjects are trees and woodland and who, using different forms of ink, captures the light, shadows and texture found when walking amongst trees, and Janina Klein, who captures the sense of Surrey’s landscape through her atmospheric depiction of mysterious dark places.
The exhibition includes several new works made specially for this show during the past year’s lockdowns, including a linoprint of Watts Cemetery Chapel by Diana Croft, a new print of Box Hill by Jennifer Jokhoo, new painting by Yeside Linney and a first outing for a new landscape tapestry by Jane Browne.
Heartlands: Inspired by our Landscape echoes the love of landscape that brought G F and Mary Watts to Compton, in the Surrey Hills. George Frederic Watts (1817 – 1904) – who together with his wife, the artist and designer Mary Watts (1849 – 1938), established Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village in the last decade of the 19th century – was himself a great painter of landscape. Initially influenced by visits to Italy in the 1840s, the artist continued to paint landscapes throughout his long life, culminating in a series of pictures from the 1890s depicting the Surrey countryside surrounding the Wattses’ Compton home. Several of these paintings can be seen in G F Watts’ studio, which has recently reopened to visitors.
Alistair Burtenshaw, Director of Watts Gallery Trust, said:
“Watts Contemporary exhibitions demonstrate Watts Gallery Trust’s commitment to showcase recent and current artistic practice and to support artists throughout their careers. These exhibitions create access to contemporary art for audiences, help to fund our wide-reaching Art for All learning programme and ensure that diverse contemporary artistic practice continues to thrive at Compton as envisaged by our founding artists.”
“Following what has been an extraordinary time, which has led to many of us rediscovering just how beautiful the countryside is here in the Surrey Hills, I am delighted to be celebrating local artists and our local landscape here at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village. We look forward to welcoming you to this exhibition.”
Heartlands: Inspired by Our Landscape opens at Watts Contemporary Gallery on 14 January (until 13 March). All work is for sale, with prices from £200. During the exhibition, there will be a series of opportunities to ‘Meet the Artist’ (22 January, 5 February, 19 February,12 March, 11am-1pm). The artists will talk about their inspiration, their methods and the challenges they face. Some will also demonstrate their working practice.
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Image: Janina Klein, Chantries Walk, Watercolour, Acrylic & Ink, 38 x 29cm