Jeremy Gardiner is The Nine British Art’s most successful contemporary artist, his singular, semi-abstract and expressive take on coastal landscapes continually spurring him on to new vistas, places and spaces. His new exhibition at the gallery this October, South by Southwest The Coast Revealed is another intimate yet expansive collection of atmospheric recent work, revealing an artist revelling in the continued possibilities of texture and colour, geology and history, architecture and nature.
The paintings bridge the gap between traditional landscapes and contemporary abstraction, and there are often almost-incidental architectural details. They remind us, as Jeremy puts it, “how small and recent mankind’s interception has been… like characters in the story of a landscape.”
As Gardiner has literally been broadening his horizons; for the first time in our exhibitions at Bury Street, South by South West includes paintings from Sussex and Kent .
Embedding himself in these communities and landscapes, Gardiner has found new stories to tell of places that have become integral to this island’s sense of itself - particularly in three paintings featuring the White Cliffs of Dover.
In South Foreland Lighthouse, Kent, the magnificent chalk face is dwarfed yet somehow intensified by an incredible, electric blue sea and turquoise sky; in The White Cliffs of Dover, Kent he finds a new angle to appreciate their stark beauty while reducing - quite deliberately - the harbour to indistinct silhouettes. The Key to England, Dover Castle, Kent, meanwhile, uses the soft hues of a setting sun to give the historic fortification an intriguing rather than overwhelming focal point, amid panels of golden acrylic, geological shards and finally, a merest hint of sea. It’s an outstanding achievement.
Of course, Gardiner is rightly famous for his work set in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, explored so memorably in the last exhibition at Nine British Art exhibitions Tintagel to Lulworth Cove. These places have become embedded in his psyche yet still entice and encourage new approaches and ideas. Gardiner’s interest in iconic 20th century railway postcards and posters, with their elegant designs and bright blocks of colour, has most obviously found its way into two glorious paintings of Swanage - Ballard Down and Promenade, Swanage, Dorset and Quayside and Kiosk, Swanage Bay, Dorset - idyllic views of beach huts and vibrant sunlit beaches are given a distinct Gardiner twist in their deference to sea, sky and dramatic panorama.
There’s a similar desire to abstract the recognizable vistas of the English coast in the work based on the picturesque fishing villages and towns for which Cornwall has become famous. In the widescreen Above Porthleven, Cornwall, the eye isn’t drawn to the iconic tower so often battered by Atlantic storms, but the expanse of harbour in this working port, and the glowering hills imposing themselves on the town. In Godrevy Light, Cornwall, the lighthouse is encased in a box of black, a reference to its role as the backdrop for Virginia Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse.
It’s these hints at the ever-changing mood and atmosphere of the coast which give Jeremy Gardiner’s work a rare power, which we are delighted to bring to wider audiences after his shows at St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery and Falmouth Art Gallery were curtailed earlier this year. We look forward to welcoming you.