From her beginnings as a fast-track eighteen year old admitted to the Slade, Ann Gardner has come at her subjects with a highly distinctive energy and sense of purpose: her touch is characteristically bold, brisk and buoyant.
We are delighted to present “Le Terroir”, an exhibition of works concentrating on the landscape. Summoning up diverse senses of place, Gardner reflects on the possibilities inherent in the art of painting. Painting can make flatness and depth, permanence and evanescence swap places. This transposition becomes clear in canvases such as Jetty in Sicily or Two Blues, where the far view across a lake is turned into a balancing act between cobalt on one side of the palette, and ultramarine on the other.
Views across water engage Gardner yet again when she returns to her home base in La Chartre-sur-le-Loir, just north of Tours. Tracking the knots of housing seen from her window, she observes the townscape strangely, almost unaccountably upended in the Loir. The most substantial of these views, Le Loir No. 1, a six-months' studio labour, runs top to base from a dense impacted wood to a shimmery floating sky reflected in Le Loir. And thus, in this art with its French antecedents, the solidity of Cézanne's vision and the atmospherics of Monet's meet up in a novel conjunction.
Most strikingly, the sense of place that is the consistent interest driving all these images is expressed through bold gestural metaphors, rather than through descriptive drawing. Two recent canvases The Forest of Bercé and Rain in Brittany mark the point where a painter who started out with enormous precocious promise reemerges as an outstanding visual poet.
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