Louis Turpin Exhibition 2018
Monday February 19, 2018
A Major Exhibition of New Works by Louis Turpin:
‘Travels Through Landscapes and Gardens’
Private View: Sunday 4th March 2018, 11am – 4pm.
The Exhibition continues until Saturday 24th March, 5pm.
An English garden-painter might suggest waffly Edwardian watercolours by what I think of as the Jolly Hollyhock School, but Louis Turpin’s vibrantly coloured paintings are far from that. He is masterly with gardens, allotments, sheep and landscapes, and, by the way, is singer-songwriter-guitarist with his Blues Band. Now long resident in Sussex, Louis was brought up in London, and was first attracted to flowers not just in parks, but by willow-herb and other wild colonists on the bomb-sites that were his playground. I shared a similar boyhood on the debbry a couple of miles away.
He intended to study architecture, but two-dimensional art appealed more strongly. Art teaching was abstract then, and while he soon made the unfashionable transition from abstract to figurative, a brief flirtation with abstraction still shows in the form and texture of his work. He began with commissioned portraits, but painted interiors for himself, and in 1981 his first solo show was of interiors. Visits to Sissinghurst showed that he could also find the patterns and colours that he enjoyed out of doors, in the rooms of walled gardens. He developed his own slightly impressionistic style, which prevents his portraiture of plants from becoming obsessive. In the same way, he is as good at trees without needing to detail every twig.
His sheep made their appearance at the Fosse in a group show in 2011, and his first solo show here, Landscape Journeys in 2015, was a considerable success. I should declare an interest in that I bought a small painting then, which I enjoy every morning as I draw my sitting-room curtains. It is of a pair of sheep against snowy Sussex fields, and they have presence and personality. I love the way that the earth scrapes through the light snow covering – one can almost smell the sharp, fresh winter tang. Louis says that sheep pose particularly expressively in winter because they hope to be fed. There are more of them here in Travels through Landscapes and Gardens, both painted and in very striking Indian ink landscapes.
Along with such staples as borders at Sissinghurst and Great Dixter, he has found new gardens and new landscapes, Owlpen, Painswick and Rodmarton in the Cotswolds, Tremenheere and others in Devon and Cornwall, and the Edinburgh Physic Gardens with glorious mists of Himalayan Blue Poppies. Further new subject-matter is the product of a visit to Andalucia where his parents had lived for 16 years, and where he and his sons went to scatter their ashes. Artistic first fruits from Spain are the ink and watercolour studies of palm trees at Ronda.
In several cases here the paint is more or less obviously laid on a gold ground. Sometimes, although depending on the light it may take the viewer a moment or two to notice, the gold is the whole sky; elsewhere it glints between colours, adding richness and a touch of mystery. I don’t know of anyone else doing this. A hint of Klimt, perhaps?
Huon Mallalieu, art market writer for Country Life, The Times and The Oldie.
© Fosse Gallery Fine Art 2018