Take a Lesson from the Ground brings together recent work by Douglas Farthing, Paul Patrick Fenner and Jevan Watkins Jones.
Comprising paintings and works on paper, the exhibition presents ideas of landscape and natural profusion: plants and undergrowth, gardens and mud, and the life that goes on at the surface.
Images are organic phenomena: paintings or drawings germinate slowly or quickly. Developing according to their own inner necessity, they can be coaxed, but not willed. Although working in very different ways, these three artists share a sense of the analogue between the life that comes from the ground and that which can be conjured up on paper, board or canvas.
Not so much views, Douglas Farthing’s landscapes are re-imaginings: painterly explorations of a terrain thoroughly known on foot. Bringing the energy of drawing outside into the studio, each painting becomes a deepening of bodily knowledge, a getting to grips with how a particular landscape is put together.
Paul Patrick Fenner’s densely populated paintings derive from a process of improvisation in which both memories and imagined situations are in play. The figures drift in a space somewhere on the edge of town, among weeds and undergrowth. They move about, take on weight, or remain glimpsed, spectral.
For Jevan Watkins Jones, the act of drawing mirrors the natural processes he is preoccupied with. In contrast to the classifying externality of botanical art, Watkins Jones’ studies are empathetic responses: the act of drawing is here about establishing a rhythm that can serve as an expressive sign of a plant’s unfolding unity or slow decay.