LUCY PRATT EXHIBITION: ‘ALL AROUND ME’
Private View: Sunday 6th November 2016, 11am – 4pm.
The Exhibition continues until Thursday 24th November 2016.
View Lucy Pratt’s Exhibition>>>
Not the most arrant miserablist could be uncheered in front of a painting by Lucy Pratt. A real warmth comes off her canvases—they are jubilant works. It is not just those that deal with holiday sun on sea or snow, or vibrant herbaceous borders, her autumnal and winter scenes with sheep bundled together in misty fields have the same quality.
There is a deceptive innocence about them. They may look as if paint has been dashed onto canvas at top speed in a burst of naive (or rather, naïf, to be arty) enthusiasm, but the more one looks the more evident it becomes that time and thought have created these images. Rather than being produced in one inspired session, they have sometimes evolved over months, being left awhile and returned to as it becomes evident to Lucy what the final form should be.
‘Seed Heads, Thurstone’
Her compositions are designed with care and precision, and they are often far more complex than might appear on a casual first viewing. In this show, for instance, look at the coastal view with Thurlstone Rock. Lucy often likes to lead us into a painting by framing a bright scene with, darker verticals, perhaps trees, thus giving depth, and in this painting the same effect is achieved by receding horizontal bars of dark: the cow parsley fringe, then the near cliffs and the Rock, and finally the bulk of Bolt Tail stretched across the glow of the setting sun. For once, the scene is uninhabited, but we sense the presence of the people who have recently left the sands. It truly captures the warm, gentle, melancholy at the end of a happy day.
Less obviously, the sheep and wildflowers in the foreground of Mill at Compton Wynyates perform the same function, carrying us up to the subject. Of course, in some compositions there is no need for this. In Magical March the long lane winding ahead invites us to step into the exhilaration of early spring. Her work gives a sense of movement, even when a still moment is shown. In What’s Cooking—Dudley and Cuthbert the diagonal from dog to bird creates an impression in the mind that the scene will burst into movement in a second’s time.
‘Dudley (What’s Cooking)’
‘All Around Me’ is Lucy’s fifth one-man show at the Fosse, and just because its predecessors enjoyed great popular success, one need not fear that it is simply more of the same. Familiar and favourite subjects and themes are here—Cornwall, Devon, the Isle of Wight of course—but there are also new settings, many close to home in the Cotswolds, and, to my mind at least, there is a growing strength in the work. Without being in any way backward-looking, Lucy’s cows, horses and sheep in fields and orchards have something of the freshness of the plein-air painters around the turn of the 20th century—Munnings even. And then those magnificently blooming borders with their poppies, irises and red-hot-pokers. Absolutely not naive, as I said earlier, but perhaps there is a nod of homage in them to Le Douanier Rousseau, a painter whom I know Lucy admires.
Huon Mallalieu – author and arts correspondent for Country Life, The Oldie and The Times 2016
© Fosse Gallery Fine Art