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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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ArtsDreamscapes in West Bay

Dreamscapes in West Bay

Artists of the imaginary world, Finn Campbell-Notman, Robin Rae, Alfred Stockham and David West are all masters of the surreal, the strange, unsettling, humorous and beautiful. With Petter Southall, they are all five technically astonishing artists, thinkers and dreamers, whose work lifts us out of the everyday.
Winner of Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2023, Finn Campbell-Notman joins Sladers Yard with a group of his exceptional paintings of buildings, birds and animals within landscapes. Finn grew up on a boat on the Norfolk Broads with his artist parents drawing the birdlife and developing a lifelong ecological awareness and interest in the natural world.
A graduate in Fine Art from UWE, Bristol, and Wolverhampton, in Illustration from Falmouth College of Art and with a Multi-disciplinary MA from the Royal College of Art, Finn has a global reputation as an Illustrator, has designed a hotel, founded a record label and worked as a music journalist. In recent years Finn has been principally engaged in landscape painting. During 2022 he took part in and won Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year, filming in various locations in the UK and The Netherlands. His commissioned piece for the Royal Museums at Greenwich can be seen at The Queen’s House. He is currently living and painting in Dorset.
Extraordinary success also marked Robin Rae’s early painting life. He first exhibited at the Royal British Academy in Young Contemporaries in 1946 when he was 18. After Ealing School of Art (1945-49) his teachers at the Royal College of Art included Francis Bacon and John Nash. By the time he was 21 he had had two successful solo shows at the Little Gallery in Piccadilly followed by an exhibition at the Ashmolean. In 1950, The Sunday Times critic Eric Newton put him ‘in the category of Stanley Spencer, Paul Nash and the Pre-Raphaelites’.
Three of the pictures in this exhibition, his Self Portrait and Luis Bunuel, both from 1955, and Eve, from 1958, epitomise the intense energy and conviction of the period after artschool for him. Experimental, atmospheric and ambitious, all three are now available to buy for the first time. He taught at Edinburgh School of Art from 1959, moving in 1964 to Liverpool College of Art where he began exhibiting colourful, abstract, three-dimensional painted constructions regularly in the Liverpool Academy. The John Moores family and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, bought his work.
In 1970 he moved to Bridport, married Kate Beaver and ran a successful screen-printing dress design business with her while bringing up their daughter Alice. He began to paint again in 1987 and never stopped until the day he died. In 2008 Sladers Yard put on his Retrospective at 80, followed by more exhibitions including his 90th birthday and indeed his funeral. We are delighted now to offer a selection of works belonging to Alice his daughter. As Vivienne Light wrote in his obituary in The Times, ‘All possess a haunting, Edward Hopper-like quality, many verging on the surreal. With oil on canvas Rae was able to transform the ordinary everyday into a visionary, dramatic world.’
Alfred Stockham’s jewel-like paintings often convey imaginative force through the simplest of structures. His use of colour, shape and composition are based on a lifetime of study. Hours of contemplation went into each painting, resulting in works of extraordinary resonance.
‘The real or observed world and the subconscious dream world both play their part to make a painting sing.’ Alfred Stockham
After seven years in the Royal Navy, Alfred Stockham studied at Camberwell School of Art and the Royal College of Art where he was awarded a Silver Medal. He was a Rome scholar and Granada Arts Fellow at the University of York before 1968 when he took up a post as lecturer at Bristol Polytechnic (now the University of the West of England) where he would become Head of Fine Art. In 1988, he left to paint full-time which he did with devotion until his death in 2020. His work is in public collections throughout the UK and in private collections worldwide. He exhibited in Europe and USA and widely around the UK, including many times at the RA Summer Exhibition and regularly at Sladers Yard since 2008. This exhibition includes figurative and abstract works which he gathered around himself and hung in his studio as reference points.
An extraordinary wood-carver, David West has worked as an architect, an artist, a craftsman and a teacher during his long life. He has converted houses, restored the Town Mill in Lyme Regis, redesigned a three-acre garden for John Fowles, spent seven years building a doll’s house for a private collector and created unique and fantastical furniture, organ pipes and painted gilded carvings. He has exhibited at Fischer Fine Art, London; Ulster Museum, Belfast; Glyn Vivian, Swansea; Mead Gallery, Warwick University; the Royal Albert Museum, Exeter and Dorset County Museum. He has had two solo shows at Sladers Yard.
Born in 1939, David West studied painting and printmaking at Sutton School of Art and at Camberwell School of Art in the 1950s. He taught part-time at various art schools until 1972, since when he has worked as a full-time professional artist on commissioned and other works. He and his wife Barbara Steel, also a painter, moved to Lyme Regis, Dorset, in 1981 where he still lives and cares for Barbara.
His latest works dive underwater to show exotic fish, exquisitely carved in wood, against painted coral backdrops. As Christopher Roper wrote in the catalogue for David West’s recent Retrospective at Dorset County Museum, ‘David never uses the term wabi-sabi to describe his approach, but there is something of that distinctively Japanese idea about his work. Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include … appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.’ David himself says his work offers a gateway to allow the spectator to enter their own imaginative world.
Petter Southall has been making his distinctive furniture in West Dorset since 1991. He started working wood as a traditional wooden boatbuilder in Norway. He studied cabinetmaking at the College of the Redwoods in N.California followed by sustainable design at John Makepeace’s Hooke Park College. Combining boat-building and fine cabinet-making techniques, he is acclaimed for steam-bending large solid boards into the arches, twists and rings so striking in his designs. Using ethically sourced timber, his work is built to age beautifully. As well as furniture, he has made stunning wooden buildings, doors, steam-bent structural components and solutions for interiors. In 2006 he converted Sladers Yard in West Bay into a gallery to showcase his work and that of other brilliant artists.
Numerous, varied private commissions in UK and internationally, have established Petter as an artist’s maker. He has designed and made dining-room, reception and boardroom furniture for companies and corporations in London, Europe, & locally and for the National Gallery and the Barbican Art Gallery. Public art has included Cambridge Science Park, the Wessex Ridgeway Sculpture Trail, Sanctuaries for Newton Abbott and Minehead Hospitals, a range of benches for the Macmillan Garden at Hereford Hospital and two benches for Lyme Regis Museum. In 2019 he made a ground-breaking steam-bent pavilion for a Show Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Sladers Yard, Contemporary Art & Craft Gallery,
West Bay, Bridport, Dorset DT6 4EL.
Wednesday to Saturday 10–4pm. www.sladersyard.co.uk.
t: 01308 459511. e: gallery@sladersyard.co.uk

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