Anthony Garratt SOLO Exhibition
The winter of 2013 / 2014 will remain long in the memory, not just for those on the Somerset Levels or Thames Valley who experienced the forces of nature at their most destructive, but for the nation as a whole. Few will forget the cataclysmic imagery of recent months - the Church at Porthleven, helpless in the face of wave after wave of Atlantic onslaught, monstrous swells towering over the seawall at Porthcawl, the rail line at Dawlish limply suspended in thin air or the countless square miles of countryside lost beneath a boundless lake stretching to the horizon with only the trees and hedgerows offering any suggestion of geographical form. Whether climate change might render such occurrences more commonplace in future is an area of discussion beyond the scope of these pages. What we are concerned with is artistic opportunity and how the fates conspired to bring about an exhibition of both creative virtuosity and historical significance.
Anthony Garratt has established himself as one of the leading lights in the 'New Wave' of British Contemporary landscape artists. He has a particular penchant for working in extreme locations and conditions, capturing the drama and energy of the elements that ravage our shores. He was just starting work on this solo show at Claremont Gallery - the first since his highly successful sell-out exhibition of 2012, when the first series of storms rode in. The focus of inspiration announced its arrival with somewhat discourteous effrontery and refused to release its grip on his (and the nation’s) attention. Sevenoaks-born but now working in Bristol, Garratt was ideally placed to witness at first-hand the full power of these events. Trips were swiftly arranged to Cornwall, the Welsh coast and across the lowlands as he is a firm believer that first- hand experience is essential to the success and authenticity of his work, “in my paintings I focus on the beauty of our surroundings, the poetry of the weather, the vulnerability of human existence....I stand in the face of the elements, adrenalin-charged, excited and inspired. I strive to capture, re-live and communicate the moment on canvas”.
There is an indefatigable quality to the workings of the artist. Garratt is constantly striving to experiment and to break new frontiers. Recent projects have included a number of short films, one of which, in October 2013, as an intriguing portent of events to come, featured his painting a 15 metre long expressionist ‘storm’ landscape on a renowned graffiti wall in central Bristol. Out went the sable brushes and palette knives in exchange for rollers and mops, a remarkably natural and effortless transition which produced a spectacular result. The film may be seen here -
A new venture in June this year will see 3 metre paintings exhibited long-term en plein- air in the very spot they were painted. He has worked with architects and engineers to produce a steel easel which can be ‘planted’ outdoors to withstand the elements. The first installation will be on Tresco in the Scilly Isles and the pieces will be on show throughout the Summer. His plan is to create an outdoor painting trail around Britain, encouraging viewers to hike between the paintings and introducing the work to a new, ‘vernacular’ audience who will happen to encounter the works on their travels.
Garratt studied at Chelsea and then Falmouth Colleges of Art. He has exhibited widely, including at the RA, regularly at
the RWA and has held successful solo shows in London and Bristol as well as the aforementioned show at Claremont. He
is sponsored by Winsor and Newton, has appeared on the BBC ("Show me the Monet") and was selected by the BBC to paint the Queen’s Jubilee Pageant in 2012.
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