Our first Summer Show opens Saturday 8th August

Jack House Gallery's first Summer Show opens this weekend and amongst the many and varied treasures on show are lithographs by established and renowned RA Chris Orr and rising star Caroline Walker. We'll be introducing ceramics with specially commissioned 'Portsmouth Pots' by Alice Mara and Marion's Brandis's mischevious feline beauties. Some very German Expressionism from Stephan Geisler, drypoint poetry by Kate Boxer and Anita Klein's distinctively stylised and quirky linocuts as well as John Dilnot's exquisitely devised 'boxes'. And there's more...Barry Goodman's collographs of vintage vehicles, Fabio Coruzzi's city scenes and Susie Perring's rather badly behaved dogs.

DEMOCRATIC BEACH, an exhibition of paintings by Andrew Holmes

©Andrew Holmes Breakfast Club

©Andrew Holmes Breakfast Club

Bathers: These pieces are inspired by my visits to the Caribbean where the people of the island use the sea to socialize, relax and refresh. Each morning, groups walk down to the beaches and share time together in the sea. These meetings are sometimes locally referred to as “the breakfast club”. From childhood, at weekends and after school, the children spend time together in the sea. This experience forms an important part of their lives on the islands.

 Observing a group of bathers is, to me, a representation of how we can interact, both with each other and with nature. On the fringe of our world we push just slightly into the unknown space of the ocean. It’s a place where, for a short time, we can leave the material “stuff of life” behind, and simply enjoy the company of family and friends, or spend time alone to reflect. If we enter the sea on our own or break off for a few minutes from the group, we can swim a little, float, walk or stand, and there – in isolation – have nothing impinge from the outside into our thoughts. It can offer the chance for reflection or dreams; perhaps, even a neutral state where we can spiritually relax too.

I found these scenes uplifting and was compelled to try to capture the experience. I love the sea and the Caribbean is a wonderful blend of natural and cultural richness. Upon visiting, walking slowly along the beach at the beginning and end of each day becomes a ritual, however, sketching from the beach has to be quick. There’s little detail to be seen and bathers are constantly moving. Whether bright sunlight or overcast, the rich starkness of the figures’ forms silhouettes against the warm, pale sea and this is the most important image I hold in my emotional and visual memory. After returning to the studio in London and working from fleeting scribbles made on the beach, I wanted the drawings and paintings to reflect these figures and scenes exactly as I saw them.

©Andrew Holmes "Bathers"

©Andrew Holmes "Bathers"

I began with using the beach sketches as a source reference to make preparatory working drawings and, in turn, used these to paint the panels. The first bather was painted in February 2014 and the final piece in May 2015. During this period I continued to make new drawings using charcoal and acrylic paint on layers of polyester film. These sketches helped me to continually progress the painting. I chose oil on panel for the main pieces because wood offers a smooth surface to work with. This aided the techniques I used to both apply and move the paint around to communicate the sense of water and bathers immersed in the sea.

©Andrew Holmes "Dog retrieves stick"

©Andrew Holmes "Dog retrieves stick"

Dogs: This group of oils, painted onto panel or paper, was produced between June 2014 – May 2015, and is an expression of particularly fond memories from an early summer trip on the river Thames with friends and their dog, Horace. The Thames is a beautiful river which, affected by the light and weather, can change so much as it flows through different landscapes. It was a few years later I decided to work on paintings of a dog in water and was able to use photographs and sketches from the time spent on the river with Horace.

Apart from the simple image of a dog enjoying the water I wanted to try and depict the varying quality of light reflecting off the surface of the river as the dog moved through it.  Thus, apart from using wood panels for some of the pieces I chose oil on paper as an alternative substrate that would offer a softer feel to the painting.

My love of water and the connection we have with the sea and rivers is the underlying interest I have in the subject of figures in water. Because we have spent hundreds of thousands of years living near or navigating along the natural waterways and coastlines our relationship with water is almost primordial. I believe for most of us, there has always been a special and strong attraction to the sea.

Greenwich Printmakers Kit Boyd comes to the Gallery to talk about the process of intaglio etching

Here's a bit more about Kit:

My art explores our relationship with landscape and our place in nature. I work in the British romantic tradition following the path of Samuel Palmer and the neo-romantic artists Graham Sutherland, Paul Nash, John Craxton, John Minton, Keith Vaughan, & Eric Ravilious.

I identify closely with British neo-romantic artists as they found that connection in the rural idyll and refined their expression of the spirit of place. Where the Neo-Romantics were escaping from the horrors of war (or Samuel Palmer the industrial revolution), my pictures are a refuge from the frantic modern world where media and technology conspire against quietude and contemplation. While I am not against these advances, I am aware of the danger of losing touch with our environment. I believe the pastoral idyll can continue to co-exist with our advances in technology.

When I lived in the rolling hills of the mid-Wales/Shropshire borders for 2 years before my move back to London, I found the vision of Samuel Palmer alive in the British countryside - the moon rises above sheep fields and the lush vegetation twines darkly in old drovers’ lanes.

My “Man on a laptop” images in the landscapes section are the expression of this coexistence of the new world with the pastoral and ancient.


The day the zoo came to town

We stumbled upon this funky young screen printer at the ASPEX Gallery last summer selling hand made gig posters and even though frankly we ain't a band and can only just about manage a tiny bit of ukulele we still really wanted him do produce one especially for the gallery. And here it is!
He operates under the mysterious title of Petting Zoo Prints and Collectables and sells tins of crocodile tears by day when not exhibiting or rocking out at gigs. 
His gig posters are raw and really beautifully hand crafted and Jack House Gallery is lucky enough to have a special run of bespoke posters printed by hand for our opening. The print is available to buy at the gallery. £55



Fredericks and London Art Fair break

There is such a thing as a free lunch and we had it half way through an immensely enjoyable trawl round this year’s London Art Fair, Islington. A busman’s holiday for the staff of Jack House Gallery (all two of us), a day looking at pictures is always a joy especially when punctuated by stop at Fredericks for roasted cod with clams. And yes it was free. The art was good too, in particular Christos Venetis’s mysterious little graphite drawings on old book covers at Tint and Juiliane Hundertmark’s hilarious paintings like family snaps gone madly wrong at Knight Webb. A special mention to Enitharmon Editions for services to art and literature. Beautiful books. I know from experience how tough art fairs are to work so it was good to be a punter on a wet cold January day.

Back at JHG the first stage of the electrical work is done, the radiators are in and Len the plasterer has done such a lovely job it’s almost a shame to hang pictures on these walls! Floors next…