Exhibition of recent paintings by Gerald Dewsbury RCA30. Aug - 28. Sep 14 / ended Art Matters
10am to 5pm, closed on Wednesdays
On closer inspection: Gerald Dewsbury RCA
Tree roots snake along the foreshore of the Carew River at Cosheston, wind-bent hawthorn bushes resembling white caterpillars climb the sloping cliffside near Skrinkle, and a rock (like a church from one side, and like a crouching rabbit from the other) stands immersed in the sea depths at the entrance to Broadhaven South beach...Amongst others, these images of Pembrokeshire comprise about half of Gerald Dewsbury’s exhibition of oil paintings in Tenby in September. To coincide with the Tenby Arts Festival the White Lion Street Gallery has invited the artist, an elected member of the Royal Cambrian Academy, to show his work here for the first time.
The wilder places of Wales form the basis of Gerald’s work – from the peaks and forests of Snowdonia southwards to the least known reaches of Pembrokeshire’s coasts, estuaries and hills. Wider views include an aerial swoop over the stone wall sheepfolds patterning Snowdon, the slopes looking up to Llyn y Garn still holding snow, and seaweed-strewn sands. Smaller studies, visual jokes and painterly observations about environmental changes stud the exhibition.
A typical small lane, winding between high banks and flanked by ash trees, is punctuated by a barely visible ‘road narrows’ sign: “Narrows to what width?” one asks oneself, already imagining having to abandon the car there and continue on foot. A view of mountain peaks from afar could easily be seen as a study of a gigantic nude female figure, not a lascivious model but the mother earth on which we rely. Trees, clothing and obscuring the landscape or singled out for special consideration, are important and recurring symbols of growth and renewal.
One ash tree, mossy-rooted, stark and leafless, is painted in wintry solitude against a deep blue sky. On closer inspection the viewer find that the branches are detached from the trunk, are in the process of falling away, their tips tinged blood red. The decline and imminent loss of the ash tree in the current ‘die back’ disease is made urgently clear but with a clever, subtle touch.
Gerald Dewsbury, though born in Kent, lived in Nottinghamshire in his formative years and began his education and subsequent career in art by studying at Mansfield College of Art. He undertook his BA in Falmouth in Cornwall during which time he was selected to exhibit in an inter-college exhibition at the Royal Academy and for the David Murray Scholarship for landscape painting. Since his move to North Wales he has exhibited in numerous prestigious galleries in England and Wales, won various prizes including being made joint winner of the National Welsh Eisteddfod Exhibition (1989), and having his work purchased for public collections eg. Chester Museum and MOMA Machynlleth. Since 1881 the Royal Cambrian Academy has been a centre for artistic excellence in Wales with potential members presenting their work and effectively being elected by existing academicians. Gerald was elected in 2003 and regularly shows work in the Academy exhibitions.
Gerald’s preoccupation with the landscape, the changes made in it and its future has been his abiding interest since his art student days. He makes his point in paint, using incredible detail and subtle messages. Once having spotted a tiny out-of-place object, or realised a connection, it is difficult for the viewer not to examine all of his work very closely, seeking not only to understand and appreciate this consummate artist’s skill but also his Philosophy.
Gerald Dewsbury’s exhibition will open on1st and run until 28th September at The White Lion Street Gallery in Tenby. The gallery is open from 10am until 5pm every day except for Wednesday. To see this exhibition and all the other work in the gallery view the website www.artmatters.org.uk and for any further information telephone 01834-843375.
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