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Watts Contemporary Gallery Exhibition – Heartlands: Inspired by our Landscape

Published on: 16 Dec, 2021
Updated on: 18 Dec, 2021

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Opening at Watts Contemporary Gallery in Compton on January 14 until March 13, the exhibition Heartlands: Inspired by Our Landscape brings together unique work by eight local artists to celebrate Surrey’s treasured landscapes.

Diana Croft – The Pond on the Green – reduction linocut 30.5cm x 31cm.

From Box Hill to the River Mole, Newlands Corner to the Devil’s Punch Bowl, it presents work in a variety of media that reveals a love for this landscape and an appreciation for its outstanding natural beauty – a source of inspiration for many, including Jane Austen who loved the Surrey landscape, describing Box Hill (in her book Emma) with its “bank of considerable abruptness and grandeur, well clothed in wool”.

Grace Ellen – Spring Clearing, River Mole – acrylic painting 76cm x 76cm.

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.

Jane Browne – Spring Fields, Crondall – tapestry 27cm x 29cm.

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”.

Janina Klein – Chantries Walk – Watercolour, acrylic and ink, 38cm x 29cm.

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.

Jennifer Jokhoo – After the Rain – linocut 35.5cm x 35.5cm.

The exhibition includes several new works made specially for this show during the past year’s lockdowns, including a lino-print 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.

Ruth Taylor – Autumn Sketch – oil on board 23cm x 23cm.

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.

Tania Busschau – Abinger Roughs, Late Summer – ink on clay board 24.5cm x 24.5cm.

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 Watts’ Compton home. Several of these paintings can be seen in G F Watts’ studio, which has recently reopened to visitors.

Yeside Linney – Nature’s Pulse – acrylic and inks on dibond 80cm x 30cm.

All work is for sale, with prices from £200. During the exhibition, there will be a series of opportunities to Meet the Artist (January 22, February 5, February 19 , March 12, 11am-1pm). The artists will talk about their inspiration, their methods and the challenges they face. Some will also demonstrate their working practice.

Alistair Burtenshaw, Brice, director and chief executive, Watts Gallery Trust, said: “Watts Contemporary exhibitions demonstrate the 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.

“I am delighted to be celebrating local artists and our local landscape here at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village and we look forward to welcoming you to this exhibition.”

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