A change of style

The paintings that await you after climbing the steep winding staircase to the three galleries at the old almshouses in Halesworth, are certainly not of a style that would have been familiar to the original residents.

Paintings, John Vesty, at Halesworth Gallery until July 2 2008

The paintings that await you after climbing the steep winding staircase to the three galleries at the old almshouses in Halesworth, are certainly not of a style that would have been familiar to the original residents.

John Vesty, the Norfolk artist who was an actor until the 1980's, has produced an exhibition of figures and still-life paintings, but the small scale oil paintings are mainly produced in muted tones of greys and whites. This makes a rather monochromic exhibition which could be rather depressing without the welcome relief of the flashes of colour that John Vesty has introduced to some of his work, as with the green and red fruit in Four Apples.

The details of the assorted bowls, bottles and jugs and the placing of them on white shelves, on white blocks arranged into a shelving display, on the floor or table, are pleasing but, by placing familiar objects in unexpected settings, the viewer suddenly notices something, like the roll of tape in Nine Objects on a Canvas Cloth.

There are also touches of humour to be found in his work - and titles. A painting of three blue light-bulbs is Spring Bulbs, and Orange Suspension is just that - an orange hanging from a string.

Although John Vesty has previously concentrated on landscapes, there is only one displayed in this exhibition and it could have been painted by another artist, it is so different in style from the still-life paintings, the coffee shop scenes and nudes that he has chosen for this, his latest one-man show.

Most Read

With little in the way of background detail, particularly effective are the paintings of mysterious female figures shown walking in the park, on the street or disappearing through a doorway. Who is The Draughtswoman, and what are the papers she is carrying?

John Vesty has said, “I have never really considered myself a colourist, always preferring a subdued palette, where tone rather than chroma predominates.” It would be interesting to discover what he would produce if he could be persuaded to work with a complete palette of colours.

Rachel Sloane

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter