Jane Lewis & Michael Horn: Complementary Painters 

14. May - 11. Jul 14 / ended North House Gallery


Open on Saturdays 10am-5pm or other times by appointment

Exhibition | Painting | South East

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jane lewis, is this happiness?

jane lewis, is this happiness?

North House Gallery is pleased to present the work of two abstract painters based in East Anglia.

To a large degree inspired by landscape, both artists paradoxically aim to capture a sense of place with barely any hint of a literal rendering. From the merest sketch or from memory the paintings are developed in the studio with similar levels of abstraction but different influences, concerns and palettes.

Jane’s Lewis, who counts Auerbach, Bomberg, Diebenkorn and Hilton among her influences, has in this recent work been using a startling preponderance of pink, with flashes of lime green, a contrast with her more usual gentle blues and greys. In the ambiguity of her titles there are hints that her own moods are being expressed as well as the atmosphere of her subject.

Michael Horn, with a darker, earthier palette, enlivened by streaks of white and red, is after an honest response to the sheer delight of the natural world. But with Johns and Klee always in the back of his mind he is constantly trying to balance the expressiveness of the marks with a tendency and liking for a more formal abstract structure.

“I use the language of landscape to define and describe what generally start out as abstract ideas on canvas. My palette is taken from many influences, maybe landscape or just as likely something else. The relationship between colours on the canvas is of more importance than a literal translation of the colours in front of me. The surface of the work is of equal importance to the content and so the paintings become layered with a combination of smooth and textured areas. Paint gets scraped off, sometimes sanded down, reapplied and so on. The quality of line is a vital part of my work both in drawing and painting. Life drawing in particular remains a valuable discipline and anchor for the rest of my work.”

“I have not, unlike Mondrian, wanted to pull down the blind and keep nature out, but to seek a way, without using irony, pastiche or archness to affirm a faith in painting and its ability to renew itself... As with a lot of painters I am attempting to balance contradictory aims – how much flatness, how much depth and how much colour on the painting and how much in it: a reflection of what I see against a more independent language... Weavers Way, which I walk regularly, figures in a number of paintings. The arrangement of geometry formed through the passage between land and sky fits my abstract language well.”

Jane Lewis, taught art for two years after her degree in Fine Art and English from University College of Wales, Aberystwyth (1970-73), and following a twenty year career in publishing in London and Suffolk, she has been painting full-time in her studios in Suffolk and Norfolk since 1997.

Michael Horn trained at St Albans Art School (1960-64), was a Fellow of the Digswell Arts Trust (1966-75), and after full time teaching at City Literary Institute (1975-89), moved to Norfolk to concentrate on his painting, with occasional teaching in Norfolk and at the Mary Ward Centre in London.


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