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Well worth a trip to Greenham Common control tower exhibition



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Colour in Common: exhibition by Sally Bettridge, Claire Knott, Anna Anderson and Frank Knott at the Control Tower, Greenham Common. Review by LIN WILKINSON

An enjoyment of colour is evident in the work of four local artists currently exhibiting at the Control Tower at Greenham Common.

Sally Bettridge shows a luscious collection of coloured, slip-decorated, high-fired earthenware vessels ̶- bowls, dishes, jugs and vases ̶- in her Sky and Harvest series. All are functional, but can also be enjoyed purely as aethestic objects.

Harvest series serving dish, Sally Bettridge
Harvest series serving dish, Sally Bettridge
Sky series, Sally Bettridge
Sky series, Sally Bettridge

The vessels are decorated and glazed inside and out. They have a lustrous, transparent shine, and a pleasing sense of fluid decoration and movement. The mark-making and spatters are rendered freely, in deep, soft, subfusc colour – muddy greens, browns, reds and blues. It’s an impressive and technically assured body of work.

Anna Anderson’s acrylic paintings stem from a life on the move as part of an RAF family. Her unsettling, super-realistic work juxtaposes rural landscapes with the machinery of war. These strange contrasts are heightened by her technique of foregrounding pin-sharp flora; using little differential colour perspective; and, paradoxically, painting for the most part in cheerful summer colours ̶- blue skies and sunshine.

In Wildcat on the Plain a row of dandelion heads sit in front of Stonehenge: an ancient structure within an enduring landscape, intruded upon by the military helicopter overhead. In another work, the natural world, in the form of a bustard, crosses a tank range. Almost surrealist is the image of a cow being airlifted from the sea by a helicopter, and Lossie Light Show threatens, the metallic greens of the aurora borealis pierced by fighter jets.

A Lossie Light Show, Anna Anderson
A Lossie Light Show, Anna Anderson
A Fine Day to Exercise, detail, Anna Anderson
A Fine Day to Exercise, detail, Anna Anderson

Claire Knott shows oils and acrylics. Some are works from the figure, others depict the domestic or social sphere, but in Innervision, she seems to be edging towards a more impressionistic approach.

Here the figure is not an identifiable individual, but seems to invite us to see her as Everywoman: the particular trumped by the universal.

In Bend and Stretch, freely painted and semi-abstracted, with colour defining form, the emphasis is on the curvilinear shape of the single isolated figure in each image, rather than on their specificity.

Isolation, Claire Knott
Isolation, Claire Knott
Count to Ten, Claire Knott
Count to Ten, Claire Knott

In Frank Knott’s oils, landscape is always the inspiration and the subject matter. Sweeps of colour reflect both technique and the curves and folds of landscape, rendered in a rich but gentle palette.

In some works, there is an interesting departure. He has homed in on small corners of landscape or individual motifs, using a restricted palette and moving towards some abstraction, rather than depicting the expansiveness of landscape.

This is most evident in Autumn Oak, Burghclere, and Red Coach Track, Burghclere, where the small scale of the paintings also concentrates form and colour, and lends the works a hermetic feel.

Autumn Oak, Frank Knott
Autumn Oak, Frank Knott
Frank Knott
Frank Knott

In Moonlit Oak and Autumn Oak, Sydmonton, he has restricted both viewpoint and colour range, applying dabs and stipples of paint in a “pointillist” technique, giving the images a quiet intensity.



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