Review: Summer Breeze is at the Reunion Gallery, 36 Gainsborough Road, Felixstowe, until September 1. Open Tues – Sat 11-6
Beautiful boats, sunlit sands, glorious glass, and a bit of seaside sauciness are all celebrated in Summer Breeze, now showing at the Reunion Gallery, Felixstowe. This is a quintessentially English show featuring the work of six accomplished local artists; all with a unique interpretation of summer and its significance.
Annabel Mednick’s Cornish Fisherman, oil on canvas, is among the strongest images in the show; capturing a sun dappled sea awash with green, blue white lit waves. In the centre of the painting a fisherman stands in his boat, his eyes scanning the water’s surface. Compositionally this is an uncomplicated work, a man, his boat, and the sea; but it has a glistening purity about it which is as refreshing as water itself. Equally stunning are the smaller oils Girls in Hammock, and Making Daisy Chains which show two young girls in close, friendship. The style is impressionistic; facial features mere suggestions, highlighted by light; but the hues are rich, and there’s a luxuriance about the thickly applied paint which contrasts with the delicacy of the tiny daisy chain links, and lighter markings. One is reminded of the blissful days of summer childhood, first friendships, and the serenity of basking in the sun without a care in the world.
The sun also casts its light in Brian Perry’s more traditional paintings. In Latitude, oil on board, a group of music lovers lounge in a grassy field; festive flags blowing above their heads. Perry captures the ambiance of an English sunny afternoon; its atmospheric light. Red Boat, oil on board, is also arresting, contrasting a scarlet craft with turquoise, orange, and pink floats; their hues reflected in a tentatively dappled Philip Wilson Steer style sea.
James Dodds’ linocuts are more masculine. In Cobbles at Beadnell powerful line creates a rhythm in this tonally balanced paired down image; the sweeping curve of the cobbles, the straight lines of the fishermen’s huts. The composition reflects the might of the subject matter, and nature’s forces. In Pearl, linocut, the sails of the vessel, taught with the wind, dominate the image. In the background the sky is made up of bands of horizontal line which contrast with the spume of the lapping wave.
The power of wave and wind are also portrayed in Alison Malcolm’s graphic print Summer Storm at the Dip I. Here brooding clouds threaten thunder, teasing froth and foam. A row of beach huts stand on parade, characterful and watchful, as the sun breaks over the gold flecked sand. This is a dramatic print. Summer Field Walk, acrylic, shows Malcolm’s painterly skills. The wide panorama, with its high horizon, is painted in fluid hues, capturing the shifting movement of the sun; lines scored into lush green fields adding energy.
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Katie Lynn’s glass creations, of bullseye fused glass, startle with their bright colour and playfulness. Lynn adorns individual forms with Venetian milliefiori beads, curving wire, and lustre; transforming them into her Flowers from Wonky land series. Standing in whitewashed wooden boxes, upright and bold, the quirky flowers resemble exotic lilies and poppies, and conjure up the magic of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. They have a freshness and innocence that evokes childhood innocence.
Steve Royce Griffin’s satirical cartoon style creations have a flavour of the legendary Giles about them. There’s so much happening to giggle about. In Benchiover Zone Olympic Games a grassy park is transformed into a hive of athletic activity; glamorous grannies doing handstands, combover octoganerians playing fisticuffs, and baldies balancing precariously on hospital beds. No Reign Today is equally witty. It locates the Royal Family on Felixstowe sands; their beach huts transformed into Hutingham Palace, & Hutgrove. In the foreground the Queen reclines as the corgis get up to mischief, a string vested Prince Phillip nearby, while Charles and Camilla, their features grotesquely exaggerated, cook the barbecue. Royce Griffin’s drawings are dexterously drafted, brightly coloured, and awash with double entendres. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea but if you enjoy carry on films and saucy seaside postcards you’re in for a treat. This is a delightful exhibition. I’ve mentioned just a small selection of what’s on view. Do go along and enjoy it for yourself.
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