Friday, 22 September 2017

​Hello everyone,

Just to remind you to pop along to Nunhead and follow the Art Trail, open from 11am - 6pm on Saturday and Sunday this weekend...Nunhead is a very special place, a wonderful village in South East London, with a thriving unspoilt 1950's style high street. They still have a butcher, a baker, a greengrocer and a fishmonger, all nestled around the lovely village green with community centre and gastro pub attached. Recent additions to the high street include lots of lovely eateries, a craft beer shop, a delicatessen and vintage craft and furniture shops. The map includes the tranquil wilderness of Nunhead Cemetry, one of the most beautiful and wild green spots in London.

More info and a map here:​

I'm number 69 in the brochure, 68 on the map, and as well as having a painting at Tracey Francis's homage to The Nunhead Open at 156 Hollydale Road - number 15 - I'll be exhibiting with artists Dick Graham and Frances Greville at 57 Athenlay Road SE15 3EN, where I'll have plenty of interesting work on show, including small affordable pieces, as well as my newly reworked musical mushroom sculpture "Conical Wax Cap":

and my new series of oil paintings, last seen at Cafe Gallery Projects in Southwark Park.
The oil painting “HMS Impregnable” is part of a series of paintings which are an exploration of the wonder and fascination for floral motifs in our history, and a metaphorical description of the power of flowers to uplift and revive the spirit in times of adversity. 

Blue roses stretch across the canvas, surrounded by blue sky above and green sea below. The blue rose is a flower of the genus Rosa (family Rosaceae) that presents blue to violet pigmentation. In literature and art it is a symbol of love and prosperity. The impossible or the unattainable.

Since the blue rose is a rarity in nature, it stands for something that is hardly within one's grasp, an object(ive) that seems too difficult to achieve. Thus, the blue rose is admired and revered as an unachievable dream. It also expresses love at first sight, royal majesty and splendour.

In this painting, vibrant blue roses dance across the canvas, sharing space with motifs such as butterflies, sailors and mermaids. Included are smaller floral patterns described using stencils of William Morris designs, sourced from the domestic architecture at Union Chapel, and Darwin’s famous ship HMS Beagle, being chased by a sea monster, with quotes from his writings found in the Penguin book “It Was Snowing Butterflies”. One of the Little Black Classics series, the book contains a selection of Darwin’s extraordinary adventures during the voyage of the Beagle from December 1831 to February 1832.

Within the paintings can be found 83 names, painted on white strips, emerging from the pebbles at the bottom of the sea. These are names of some of the people tragically affected by the government’s changes to disability living allowance, and the bedroom tax, as documented in Ken Loach’s film “I, Daniel Craig”. For example, Colin Traynor who suffered from epilepsy, denied disability living allowance and found fit for work: 5 weeks after his death his family found out that he had won his appeal. His father is quoted as saying “ I firmly believe – 100% believe – that the system this government introduced has killed my son.” Stephen Hill, who died of a heart attack while awaiting heart surgery, one month after being found fit for work. And Cecilia Burns, found fit for work while undergoing treatment for breast cancer, she died a few weeks after winning her appeal.

These elements are painted in oil on canvas, with vibrant colours, using a broad range of techniques. From free scumbling translucent brushwork, to intensely fine lined detail drawn in paint onto flat colours across the canvas, and stencilling using hand made stencils.

The roses represent the difficulty in achieving a balance between the intense beauty of wild nature and the urban landscape. The source for the roses comes from The 1990s, when my art expressed itself through installations, using furniture, found objects, embroidery and taxidermy. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher rolled out Care in the Community. Hospitals and institutions closed. I attended an auction of furniture and equipment and found a hospital screen. The poignancy of its chintz rose pattern inspired me to start painting again. The patina on the fabric, rich with emotional resonance. Sanderson Chelsea. 1950s style retro. English beauty, wonder, fascination. Floral motifs, history. Domestic architecture. I started drawing and painting as an experiment. Describing and capturing process, a description of flowers. Since then I have regularly used this motif in my paintings, and still do to this day.

Here's a link to the live art singing interaction, "Full Fathom Five", that complemented the painting on September 3rd. Filmed by artist Calum F. Kerr:

And here I am with the lovely Caroline Gregory who also performed on that day:

With love and best wishes - Joanna

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