AboutAfter receiving fantastic write ups in the London Metro; London Paper; A-N; Pluk and Art, Art, Art magazine following their Cork Street Show in London; Sarah Crew and Chris Holman's "Once Viewed from Afar" descends on the Centrespace Gallery in heart of Bristol.
"Escape into a world of hills, woodland and wildlife..." London Metro
"Crew and Holman are returning to the appreciative mold of artist, revelling in the idyllic, the beautiful, the nostalgic about the countryside..." Amelia Magazine.
Both Crew and Holman work in parts of the country designated 'Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty' and it is this that informs the love of the English countryside that is at the heart of this exhibition of new work. The result is a contemplative expression of a space so often viewed from afar but which now, through paintings and the contemporary fine art photograph, is seen in individual close up.
Both artists exhibit contrasting but complementary concerns for the potential demise of this landscape, horrified at the thought that it might one day cease to exist. For Holman, the only recourse is to take refuge in the fiction of a rural idyll whilst Crew confronts her anxiety in the guise of the humorous narrative of animals in search of a habitat, which is discussed in Suburbia.
In Crew's photographs, supported by performance, character creation and installation, we see that it is only by confronting the details of modernity (the map, the plastic cup and swathes of bubble wrap) and incorporating them into their habitats. Also that the fox and the mouse are able to make a new home for themselves and as they do so; we are reminded that it is the minutiae of modern living, observed as through binoculars, that tell the story of the stimulating, and at points uncomfortable crossing into this urban space.
In Holman's paintings, the hills, vales and woodland of North Somerset are re-made in the image of the 18th century bucolic, pastoral landscape, whilst vivid colour and manipulated surface pattern, bring a childlike wonder and simplicity to his semi-imagined scenes. As the retreat from nature into the imagination takes place, so memory and recollection are revealed as insubstantial and the specifics of a scene abstracted to give way to shape, colour and pattern that remain in the mind's eye after the detail has faded from memory.
Seen together, these distinct and individual responses to nature encourage the viewer to take time from the frantic pace of day to day living, reflect upon their surroundings and consider the ways in which our life stories are bound to the environments we inhabit.