You can’t get much further from the country’s coastline than Oxfordshire: however, Oxford isn’t one of the world’s intellectual hotspots for nothing! We’re going to make one!
Oxfordshire Artweeks, the county’s giant visual arts festival that takes the place across the whole county each spring, has decided to bring the sea to the heart of the dreaming spires with ‘Oxford’s Sea View’ a multi-artist exhibition by top local artists who take their inspiration at the edges of this island, and bring the the coast in its many guises back to our rural idyll and dreaming spires.
Janine Philips from Thame is an avid surfer and paints in the open air on the beach, her wetsuit round her waist. ‘I have to be quick, you see,’ she laughs, ‘to capture the light and the way it dances on the water because the clouds shoot across the sky so fast – a few moments later and it would be an entirely different picture. And no two views will ever be quite the same - after all, time and tide wait for no man. Or artist!”
Jane Vaux moved to Wantage from Devon, and although she loves her new residence, her strong seascapes show the cliffs, the boats and the swell where she lived previously; the domestic beach scene by Jim Robinson depicts his childhood memory of playing with cousins on Bexhill beach in the 1960s; whilst Oxford Mail journalist and art critic Sarah Mayhew Craddock is preparing a contemporary installation specifically for this venue.
The dynamic light brush of painter Jill Colchester, who is acclaimed for her figurative art, shows bathers in coloured swimsuits dancing in the white horses. ‘They make me want to rush into the canvas,’ says Festival Director Esther Lafferty who is a keen sea swimmer and makes the trip to the coast whenever she can. However, for those who would like to enjoy a sea view without the traffic queue to the coast, then just visit The Jam Factory!
This exhibition is supported by Hamptons International, the only Oxfordshire estate agent to provide their clients with a sea view.
Sarah Mayhew Craddock