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ABOVE Sunlit house 36 x 25cms Oil on linen - SOLD
  • LEFT Naples church 61 x 55cms Oil on linen
  • MIDDLE Lost domain 2 61 x 55cms Oil on linen
  • RIGHT Home 2 46 x 31cms Oil on linen
  • LEFT Homageto Thomas Jones 35 x 45cms Oil on linen.
  • MIDDLE domain perdu 35 x 35cms Oil on linen
  • RIGHT Convent 61 x 55cms Oil on linen - SOLD
  • LEFT Cityscape 22 x 30cms Oil on board
  • MIDDLE Castello Nuovo 46 x 31cms Oil on linen
  • RIGHT After the rain 91 x 79cms Oil on linen
  • LEFT Naples dome 46 x 31cms Oil on linen
  • MIDDLE Fountain 50 x 35cms Linocut
  • RIGHT Home 70 x 50cms Linocut
  • LEFT Naples buildings 46 x 31cms Oil on linen
  • MIDDLE Rome 1850 50 x 35cms Linocut
  • RIGHT Naples dome 2 61 x 55cms Oil on linen
  • LEFT Naples house 2 46 x 31cms Oil on linen
  • MIDDLE Naples ruins 46 x 31cms Oil on linen
  • RIGHT Naples view 15 x 48cms Oil on board
  • LEFT Naples window 40 x 40cms Oil on linen
  • MIDDLE On the tiber 46 x 31cms Oil on linen
  • RIGHT Orange house 32 x 30cms Oil on board
  • LEFT Red house 36 x 26cms Oil on linen
  • MIDDLE Reflect 30 x 48cms Oil on board
  • RIGHT Still view 85 x 75cms Oil on linen
  • LEFT Tower 46 x 31 Oil on linen

Lavinia Gallie

ONE PAINTER’S HOMAGE TO ANOTHER

Lavinia Gallie has been a painter and printmaker for nearly 30 years. She began her career painting landscapes; then a growing interest in colour and form led her into pure abstraction, which has been a preoccupation for about twenty years. Large canvases gave way to smaller ones, and with that a concern with the particular and the observed.

Many artists have been fascinated by Thomas Jones, a Welsh C18th painter who is mainly known for a series of small oil sketches done in Naples in 1782/3. These were sketches done purely for his own benefit - they were not the usual grand set pieces, but pared-down compositions observing urban decay and abandonment, of crumbling stucco, slant views, ruins - and empty of people except for the occasional piece of washing hung from a window. They are strikingly modern in concept and appearance.  

Lavinia has been trying to find a way to use these sketches, not to paint pastiches, but rather as a means of understanding what makes them so appealing, and to see how, if at all, anything has changed in 250 years of painting. There are many shared interests - surfaces, contrasts, planes, the sense of an enigma. She has used her colours and his shapes - and sometimes vice versa - and played with the resulting connections. 

Lavinia’s paintings: Unfolding space

Colours carefully tuned to sought-for balances, ratios and tensions within pared down compositions of squares and rectangles, the light, fresh surfaces of Lavinia’s paintings belie many weeks of work and deliberation, with countless revisions and layering of colour. No part of the paintings is less thorough and considered than another, from the choice of canvas support, to the quality of ground, and to the most appropriate make of paints for the work in hand. Colour is the principal anchor in her paintings. There is often a sense that the colours strain against containment, and the squares and rectangles, rather than being straight-jackets, turn out to be fluid as a result of shifting nuances within and between colours. Sometimes, as in more recent paintings, the building blocks of her compositions appear to spill over into another, perceived reality, with shapes morphing from their rectilinear origins within the paintings into walls of buildings, a window or a fluttering cloth. Here the eye oscillates between the two; the essential planar nature of painting and the correspondence of such planes in the world around us. The paintings seem to ask the question: which is truer? Where is the colour freer? A fascinating tension is generated here that dissolves the clichéd polemic between ‘abstract’ and ‘figurative’ and asks: what in fact feels more real? Such questions and uncertainties are at the heart of any art worth engaging with, and the two sides square up to each other, need each other.

This is an ongoing journey that anyone knowing her paintings over the years will recognise as continually unfolding, deepening and questioning, scuppering any notion of facile formulae. Though her work is grounded in a strand of modernist tradition that includes luminaries such as Albers, Malevich, Reinhardt, and contemporaries such as Callum Innes and Sean Scully, Lavinia actually draws from a deeper, broader well of enquiry encompassing the works of Piero della Francesca and Thomas Jones where, though within a different context, the fundamental relation of plane to picture, plane of colour and tone to plane are endlessly adjusted to hold the eye. Lavinia’s paintings are a far cry from slavish emulations or lazy appropriation of solutions and conclusions fought for at other times with other concerns. It is always a joy to visit her studio, because I never really know what I’ll encounter or where she will go next, because her dialogue with painting is real: a dialogue of give and take, which is endlessly open-ended and alert to nuances of modulation and change.

Oliver Gosling, painter, ARCA - September 2017

EXHIBITIONS

2017   The Stour Gallery, Salon, Shipston on Stour.

2016   National Open Print Exhibition, Bankside Gallery, London (Prize), Impress Printmaking Festival, Subscription Rooms, Stroud, Glos. Pilgrimage, Print exhibition,Gloucester Cathedral.

2015   R.W.A 163rd Open,  Bristol.  Ironstone Prize, Banbury Museums and Art Gallery, Banbury, Oxon.

2014   Alchemy - Print Exhibition,  Museum in the Park, Stroud, Glos. Wells Art Contemporary (WAC,) Wells City Museum, Somerset, North Oxfordshire Open, Banbury Museum & Gallery, Oxon

2013   Wells Art Contemporary (WAC), Wells City Museum, Somerset

2012   Abstraction, Subscription Rooms, Stroud, Glos.

2010   Summer Exhibition, Stour Gallery, Warwickshire, Reading the Small Print, Martins Gallery, Cheltenham, Glos.  Royal West of England Autumn Exhibition, Bristol

2007   Royal West of England Autumn Exhibition, Bristol

2006   Arts in Trust, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Gloucester

2005   Royal West of England Academy: National Open Painting Competition

2004   M.A. Graduates Exhibition, Atkinson Gallery, Millfield, Somerset

2004   Free Range Graduates Exhibition, Truman Brewery, London

2003   Royal West of England Autumn Exhibition, Bristol.

2000   Arts in Trust, Cheltenham General Hospital, Glos.  Arts in Trust, Royal Gloucester Hospital, Glos.

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2011    Museum in the Park, Stroud, Gloucestershire

2006    Ashcroft Modern Art, Cirencester, Gloucestershire

2001    The Merriscourt Gallery, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

1995    The Anderson Gallery, Broadway, Worcestershire

EDUCATION

Escola Belas Artes, Oporto, Portugal

English / Fine Art B.A. Hons., Leeds

Fine Art M.A. Cheltenham College of Art

 

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