British painter and printmaker Iona Stern describes her work as an ‘expressive response to place, object or memory’. And in this, her first solo exhibition at For Arts Sake, her colour-soaked abstract landscapes take us on a journey through Cornish bays, via purple fields of heather to the dying days of summer and into the clear eastern light of the Yorkshire Moors.
'A Place in Time' brings together more than 60 beautiful works in acrylic, oil and monotype silkscreen - a "collection of memories".
Says Iona: "My work is a visual diary – whether it’s a place visited or an exhibition seen. I look for the abstract, the ‘big picture’, rather than the incidental."
All the artworks blossom from one point: colour. “I start with a colour palette. Colours need to sing together – to fire off one another,” says Iona, a former ad agency creative director who quit to pursue a full-time career as an artist in 2011.
Among the works on show are ‘Heat of the Day’, an acrylic piece inspired by the memory of a week spent painting in Olhao, Portugal: “We took the boat across to a little, unspoilt island. I sat in the shade , looking across the sands to a line of brightly coloured beach shacks sizzling in the heat.”
‘End of Summer’, meanwhile, is an oil on canvas work “loosely based on time spent in St Ives. I love the British seaside, in and out of season. ‘End of Summer’ captures that time when the tourists have departed and the sun is in a lower position”.
Oil painting ‘Enchanted’ is inspired by Iona's cottage garden in the Cotswolds, while of the oil ‘Edge of the Moor’ she explains: “Until recently, my aunt lived on the northern edge of the North York Moors. The views were spectacular with farmhouses nestling in the shadows of the moors. The clear atmosphere and eastern light gave wonderful contrasts.”