Art Space Gallery is delighted to present an exhibition of new paintings by George Rowlett featuring works made in the garden of the award-winning garden designer Sarah Price alongside paintings from his own garden, studio still lifes and the landscapes and seascapes of the shoreline and downs of East Kent close to his studio in Walmer. The works from Sarah Price’s garden were made during the summer of 2018 when he accepted the invitation to paint in her garden; a stay that offered him the opportunity to work every day and the freedom to set up his boards anywhere he chose within her walled space and paint the rich variety of colour and forms that confronted him. What emerged was a substantial body of work most of which will go on show in the Garden Museum in London during June and July this year.
Throughout a long career of painting en plein air,George Rowlett has balanced the challenges of cycling off with boards as large as 4 feet across and three litres of paint to record his experiences out in the landscape with the desire to stay closer to home and paint the more intimate subjects found in his own garden. In the fields or on the beach it is the structure of the land and the nuances of the weather and light that he strives to record; in the garden it is the magic of colour. Sometimes it’s a particularplant that is singled out; at other times it’s the thrilling combinations of colours that are thrown up byNature.
Sarah Price’s garden is her workshop and laboratory. Itis where she experiments and develops her approach to garden design that has been rewarded with commissions to work on the design of London’s OlympicPark and gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show. It is a modern and iconoclastic approach and it presented George Rowlett with an unfathomable array of shapes, textures and colour scattered in a free-flowing form that is more wild meadow than formal garden; a place wherenature’s own rhythms and accidents are encouragedand then edited and carefully harmonised into carefree unity. A process very like the way George Rowlett constructs his paintings as an accumulation of gestural marks made in response to events as they unfold before him.
This exhibition represents the full range and diversity of George Rowlett’s output and highlights thetechnical ingenuity and invention in the handling of paint. Bold swathes of the material are enlivened with a mastery of touch and woven into rich orchestrations of colour that are a celebration of sustained spontaneity that captures fleeting moment in an ever-changing subject and unleashes his ability to employ colour so brilliantly.