Saturday, 2 March 2013

Emily Patrick at Gallery 27, Cork Street, London

Two years ago I saw a show of works by Emily Patrick for the first time and it made a strong impression on me. Patrick's new work is on show now in Cork Street and it's another brilliant exhibition I saw last Friday with my artist friend Maureen Nathan.

I find that Patrick draws unapologetically on her femininity and is not scared of presenting domestic subjects, pretty flowers arrangement and candy floss colours, enhanced by her virtuous brushwork and an eye for what's beautiful and poetic.
 In her landscapes she rarely paints large and distant views, but she sits in the landscape until she becomes part of it, worries with the immediate foreground and the sky above her, with a branch rather than the whole tree.

To me her works resonate the delight of Rococo, particularly when she echoes the turquoise of Sevres porcelain like in this painting, "Bounding Grass". 

" It is the spirit of tenderness that I chase", she writes in the catalogue that accompanies the show. 
She is tender in the way she mentions her family, in the depth of her connection with the orchard, in the way she arranges her large still life composition. However I feel that this is not a shallow serenity.

In her last show there was this self portrait, Fragile,  in which she pictured herself while recovering after an illness. In all her works I see an awareness of how flimsy life can be, a joy and gratefulness for being able to enjoy it. They smell of spring buds and of decaying leaves as well. 

"Patrick’s best works hold sensual abandon of paint in tension with restraining, grid-like compositions, airiness and fluidity" says Jackie Wullshlager reviewing the show in the FT. 
It feels to me that there is a gentle breeze moving the brush strokes around as well as ruffling the sheets of paper and the petals of the flower in the pictures. 

Both the still lifes and the landscapes follow the seasons, without ever losing freshness and animation. Quirky animals appear in some paintings. I think these connect with the English victorian tradition of Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll and Beatrix Potter, and allude both to the painter's childhood and to her family life.

All the paintings in the show are beautifully framed, some with an old gilded frame, some by a rough oak baton. Patrick, who was in the gallery while I visited, explained that she works hard with her husband to find the right frame for each work, and that some just need to be enclosed, other don't. This year she has hung the landscapes in the basement room, as if the visitors could go down and out in the open.  A very carefully printed catalogue is available as well as postcards and prints of the works. 

The show is on until the 15th of March. 
If you go to Cork Street don't miss Patrick George show at Browse and Darby ! 


Candace X. Moore said...

Wonderful post. Very insightful. Thought provoking. Thank you.

Ilaria said...

Thank you Candace, it was such a good show !