Emily Ponsonby. Kettle of Fish

13 Jun 2024 – 18 Jun 2024

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

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J/M Gallery

England, United Kingdom

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This solo exhibition by British artist Emily Ponsonby presents a series of new works delighting in the ever-changing underbelly of rural life in Dorset, UK. She captures curious minds harbouring within a great expanse of green and old country ways. Her paintings are collected from her every day, moments pulled from her pocket, beach walks, a hedgerow or a windswept conversation, conversations that get under the carpet of life.

Reflective of Ponsonby’s vision from her time in South Africa, her paintings and etchings are devoted to studying the human form. Ponsonby paints from life, capturing a sense of wonder and whimsical reality in her day-to-day interactions. In works such as In A Pickle, the largest piece in the exhibition, individuals are seen deeply immersed in concentration over a big piece of soapstone, admiring the creative skills of a local stone carver and in turn inspiring Ponsonby to see her own work through a sculptural, three-dimensional lens.

“There is an undeniable unsheltered rawness to life on the coast” comments Ponsonby. “It fosters a curiosity and appreciation for playful creativity over mere productivity. Every day brings a surprise, a different Kettle of Fish.”

Inspired by ancient Egyptian Fayum Portraits, Ponsonby’s ongoing artistic process includes a unique combination of beeswax and oil paint; a painting process that requires melting beeswax before applying it to her canvas. The act of buffing and grinding into the wax mirrors the same meticulous process used in watercolour application and layering. Despite the medium, whether wax or watercolour, Ponsonby’s process is highly malleable and tactile throughout, requiring a scraping technique to move paint and wax around the canvas.

In addition to her solo show at J/M Gallery, Ponsonby’s painting 'Chewing The Cud' has been selected for exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in July. This painting will be featured as part of the prestigious Herbert Smith Freehills Award, formerly known as the BP Portrait Award. Following its display at the National Portrait Gallery, 'Chewing The Cud' will go on a tour, via other national institutions.

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Emily Ponsonby


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