The Art of Biodiversity
‘I am committed to the practice of plein air painting. The sense of the subject being about to slip away as the light changes lends the working process a sense of urgency. I am often drawn to subjects which have a sense of slippage such as the coast where wet mud or rock pools gives way to water which reflects the sky, or woods where light falling on a visual tangle creates tension between the form and weight of the subject and the play of light which both reveals and disguises it.
I tend to produce a group of paintings in each location and there are some places I have been working in for many years. Paintings are sometimes completed in a single session but more often I return to them aiming to carry on when the light and weather are similar. I paint quickly and relish the improvisations required by painting in front of a quickly changing subject.’
I was born in 1967 and studied Fine Art at Norwich School of Art 1986 – 1989.
I was elected as a member of the New English Art Club in 2021.
I show regularly with the NEAC, Alan Kluckow Fine Art in Sunningdale and The Russell gallery in London as well as at the Star Brewery Gallery. Recently I have also shown at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath, Chris Beetles Gallery in London and Panter and Hall in London.
I have been making and selling paintings since 1992. The composition and drawing skills I developed during my design and advertising career have a strong presence in my work. Whether I am working small or large, I find detail is unavoidable.
I have recently been exploring the world of moths and butterflies. Close observation of their intricate wing patterns has inspired me to make a series of oversized paintings in celebration of their beauty. I prefer to paint moths and butterflies I have known – moths drawn to the bathroom and porch light and Butterflies to the garden and meadow flowers. I prefer to make pencil studies of my living subjects when they are resting. These are backed up by searching out specifics like wing venation and colour variations from a range of lepidoptery study sources old and new. The painting is then composed and created in the studio using oil on canvas.
Like much of my work, I look for creative inspiration from my local surroundings, in the case of moths and butterflies many have literally been on my doorstep.
Watercolour was for many years my chosen, and almost only, pictorial medium. A dedication rewarded with the Honorary Curatorship of the Royal Watercolour Society. Time to revisit the medium, I thought, with a couple of pieces for this show. The given title of the exhibition puzzled me a bit. OK, it’s a buzzy word but, unlike Trees or Rivers, an abstract noun and tricky to represent. Floreat Lulii could have been my theme, I suppose - pictures like embroideries, covered with the fantastically varied flowers of July Downland...But, in the end, it isn’t. I chose to acknowledge biodiversity by reaching back into the past and some of the different landscapes I have encountered and pictured over the years. So, this bit of Sussex, things seen in south London, an area of Wales around Aberystwyth - these will be my subject.
Kate lives on the English south coast: visual sources for her paintings are found through walking in the Sussex countryside, running by the sea, and the interiors and gardens of Georgian and Victorian houses and museums in Brighton and Hove. The Weald allotments site in Hove also provides timeless images of landscape and cultivation.
Her language of paint and image is informed and motivated by the visual culture of the Middle Ages,in particular, French and Flemish Books of Hours and cloisonne work. Kate also has a deep love and interest in European Symbolist painting and The Arts and Crafts Movement.
Kate gained MA (RCA) Fine Art in 1992 and previously BFA (Oxon) 1988 studying at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art while a scholar at St John’s College, Oxford.
She is represented by Long & Ryle Gallery London, Sarah O’Kane Contemporary Fine Art, Lewes. Chipping Campden Gallery and Le Salon Vert Geneva.
Heather McAteer (b. Belfast, 1968) lives and works in Reading, Berkshire. She studied Fine Art at Belfast School of Art 1987-91 (BA) and Reading School of Art 1992-94 (MFA).
Alongside solo exhibitions at 571 Oxford Road Gallery, Reading in 2019 and 2021, her work has been selected for a range group exhibitions, most recently, ‘The Human Factor’ at the Star Brewery Gallery, Lewes (2022), ‘A Room of Her Own’ at Irving Contemporary, Oxford (2022), ‘Southwark Park Galleries Open Exhibition’, London (2022), ‘Oxford Art Society Open’ Exhibition (2022) and ‘Where the Two Worlds Meet’ at The Biscuit Factory, Reading (2023) . Earlier this year she had a two person exhibition, ‘Uncertain Landscapes’ (with Alex Dewart) at Flowerfield Arts Centre, Portstewart, Northern Ireland.
Heather has been selected for numerous awards, commissions and residencies. In 2020 she was awarded ‘The Drawing Prize’ at the Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition, Ulster Museum, Belfast and selected for a Jelly (ACE/National Lottery/DCMS funded) ‘At Home’ Artist Residency. In 2021 she was commissioned by the Museum of English Rural Life to make work for their ’51 Voices’ (ACE funded) Project and selected by Waldemar Januszczak as a finalist in the Save Reading Gaol ‘Freedom’ artwork competition.
Jason is a classically trained painter. In 2016 he opened an atelier in Lewes where he works on personal projects and commissions. He regularly paints portrait commissions and his paintings are held in private collections throughout Europe. His personal work explores traditional themes through a contemporary lense. Large works are painted over multiple sessions employing a limited palette of muted colours and historic painting techniques, oils and mediums.
‘Drawing from a deep understanding of art history, I seek to create a visual language that evokes introspection and encourages viewers to consider their own relationships with the world.
Ultimately, my work is a reflection of the emotional disconnect many of us feel in today’s world. The greys and muted tones I use serve as a metaphor for this disconnection.’
My official art education ended in 1987 with a BA Hons in Ceramics from Farnham. I was then fortunate enough to find work in Sussex making traditional finials and floor tiles. We worked on many Heritage projects - including the floor tiles for the Crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral.
It was during this time that I explored working with woodblock printing. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the process; instead of a press, using the back of a wooden spoon and a lot of elbow grease!
Peeling the paper off the block for the first time is always a magic moment as the picture is revealed, a mirror image of the piece of wood I have been carefully chipping away at for days.
I live and work in East Sussex and exhibit my pictures mostly locally, whilst also facilitating and teaching the occasional workshop through Blackbird Arts.
A few years ago, I returned to clay after becoming involved in making the tiles for a friend’s new build house from the clay dug from the foundations. I have since had small, bespoke tiling commissions and run tile making workshops.
After leaving Brighton Art School with a BA Fine Art I worked and lived in London.
Married with two children in school I joined Maggi Hambling’s weekly Life Class at Morley College and stayed for 15 years.
After moving to Sussex, I made a garden and I began to paint landscape and still life, setting up my own studio, which is open for Artwave on Sept 2 and 3 at Spithurst Hub.
Immersed in nature growing up in rural Surrey Heath, at primary school I kept a Nature Book in which I recorded in text, paint and drawings specimens collected and observations made on a weekly nature walk.
My painting Heathland Flora references that Nature Book, with plants collected on my walks on Chailey Common, a protected Site of Special Scientific Interest where I now live.
“As a contemporary artist, I paint landscapes which express my somatic, emotional experience of being within the natural world and responding to its power, fragility and temporality.”
Riga Forbes is an award-winning landscape painter. Her work is inspired by the dynamic shapes, elements, moods and drama of weather and light within nature. She is passionate about protecting the environment and painting the British landscape. Her painting practice combines working from sketches and photos captured directly in the landscape as well as from memory, imagination and found images.
In 2020 she was shortlisted for the Holly Bush Emerging Woman Artist Award 2020. In 2021 she was shortlisted for the Royal Cambrian Art Prize. In 2021 she was also a prize-winner in the Painting Awards at the Florence Biennale 2021. In 2022 she exhibited at the Galleria Turelli in Tuscany, Italy and was shortlisted for the 2022 Wales Contemporary Prize. During 2023-24 Riga is being funded by the ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND to make a series of large landscapes of Britain. She now lives and works as a freelance artist in Sussex, UK.
I am a landscape artist, inspired by my local surroundings and my love of trees. I work mostly with oils, adding pastels, charcoal, acrylics and oil bars to enhance the mark making and add depth. Besides brushes, I use my hands, sticks and rags as tools to move paint around and see what textures and forms emerge. My painting in this exhibition was inspired by a stunning volcanic rock face that really captivated me while away earlier this year. The trees, shrubs and grasses growing on the rocks gave me the idea of presenting them as hanging gardens, thriving in a place that might appear unsuited to such lush vegetation.
Rosie completed a fine art degree at Byam Shaw school of Art before going on to study painting and printmaking at the Royal Academy of Arts. She was lucky enough to learn from artists such as Norman Ackroyd and Christopher Le Brun and went on to win several prizes including the Richard Ford travel award.
She exhibits work regularly both in Sussex and London and this year has had work selected for the RSBA Annual open, the NEAC (where she was awarded the Anthony Lester Art Critics prize), the Green and Stone Summer Exhibition and the RWA annual exhibition.
Her work is often focused on forgotten or abandoned spaces and she is interested in depicting changing landscapes. The microcosm series is a close up look at fragments from nature and how they mirror what’s happening in the world around us including desolation and renewal.
Mark was born in Yorkshire and studied photography at Wolverhampton Polytechnic. He moved to London in 1991, where he learned about the industry working as a photographer’s assistant, before going freelance. Since then Mark has worked as a still life photographer, illustrator, digital artist for newspapers, a children’s illustrator working in CGI and most recently as the Creative Director for an American toy company. He began his latest career, as a full-time artist, in 2019.
Mark’s work coalesces photography, painting and collage to create atmospheric pictures inspired by his experiences in nature. Beginning with images drawn from his expansive collection of original landscape photographs, he transforms them, revealing subtleties of colour, texture, light and form, while evoking the natural beauty and drama of the scenes, blurring the boundaries of what is traditionally considered photography and painting. They are presented as limited edition prints on sheets of brushed aluminium, which gives the work a uniquely dynamic look, depth of colour and contemporary feel.
Ellie Hipkin’s nature inspired artwork conveys a profound sense of calm through use of colour, organic form and atmosphere.
After studying fashion design, Ellie worked in production for high street chains.
But when she experienced unthinkable loss, it was her first love – textile art – that provided a way to cope. Now a professional artist, Ellie explores many of the techniques she learnt in her earlier career: fabric painting, monoprinting, embroidery, appliqué and collage.
Based in Brighton, she draws inspiration from the colours, contours and ever-changing atmosphere of the South Downs, the Sussex coastline and the wild plants she finds when out walking. Her paintings feature one-off imprints taken from seed heads and grasses, and she adds movement with free-motion embroidery and hand stitch. These varied yet balanced elements mean there is something new to notice, each time you look.
Steve Gallagher is a Sussex-based photographer, originally from the American Midwest where he graduated with a Fine Arts degree in Visual Design and Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Initially working in fashion photography in Chicago, Miami and New York, he then built a successful career in advertising and digital design before moving to the UK in 2002.
Living in a house next to the sea on Britain’s south coast, his love of photography was reignited by the beauty of the Sussex Downs and the ever-changing nature of the local shoreline and the sea. Moving into a house surrounded by nature, with an artist’s studio already built in the garden, his photographic focus on seascapes and floral portraits was almost inevitable. The confinement of the Covid pandemic imposed a time and space to distil his art. The limit on travel meant that his subject matter was stripped to a minimum, allowing Steve to focus on refining and redefining his practice over this period to produce the intricate and skilfully composed photographs that characterise his work.
Nichola Campbell uses Indian inks to convey the beauty of the natural world inspired by the outstanding environment here in Sussex. Working from her home studio in Newick near Lewes, she creates her delightful ‘Framescapes’, a series of small paintings of local beaches and the South Downs landscape each with an integral painted frame.
Jane has worked in higher education, in art libraries, and as a research consultant. She is now a full time practising artist. Jane won the Artist of the Year award in Brighton’s Artists Open Houses in 2019, and has been shortlisted for national awards including Figurative Art Now, Royal Society of British Artists, New English Art Club and the Jacksons Painting Prize. She is a member of the Fiveways Artists Group and has exhibited in Brighton, Lewes and London. Her work is held in several private collections.
Jane is a figurative artist and paints expressive portraits, still lifes and landscapes in oils, but also specialises in sensitive, detailed portrait drawings. Jane has recently been working on a series of Sussex landscape paintings of the South Downs and woodland haunts.
Jane has trained with the New School of Art and taken masterclasses with tutors including Andrew James, Julia Hawkins and Michael Weller. She holds degrees in English and Art History from Kent and Sussex, including a PhD on medical imagery.
Jane welcomes commissions and can work from life or photos.
Observing and painting detail in nature has been an instinctive quest of mine since early years with the opportunity to then exhibit in London and Sussex.
Sussex, close to the sea and Downs is home for me along with some years spent on The Undercliffs, a nature reserve in west Dorset.
During my career as an Architect and also as an Artist especially now, I have a huge respect for the natural environment and enjoy the freedom to analyse natural circumstances and not just from the human perspective.
In my paintings of landscapes, wildlife and unique horse portraits some subtleties are essential, such as a tear from a horse’s eye, dust on a butterflies wing and sea mist on the Downs to name a few.
Rachael Nicholson makes indoor and outdoor sculptural works using reclaimed metal, glass and found objects. Nicholson has trained in object animation and welding, and is a qualified art psychotherapist. She is interested in the relationship between psychological and environmental boundaries.
Harry Brayne is a photographer based in Lewes. After having worked in the film industry, he learnt photography assisting a huge variety of photographers from Dan Tobin Smith to Juergen Teller. Since moving to the South Downs four years ago, his personal work has found a focus seeking to express the potential for positive connection between man and his environment.
‘The images in this exhibition were shot during the hot, locked down spring of 2020. I would drive out in my rusted red Berlingo and seek out local, isolated spots to park the car. Then, I would hang rags in the boot, check what the light was doing and begin gathering materials I found in the immediate area. I’ve always been interested in the concept of photographing a landscape indirectly. By seeing and presenting what I found on the ground around me, I created small scenes reflecting the moment and place I had come into. It is an indirect portrait of local biodiversity and materials left forgotten.’
Since graduating from Liverpool John Moore’s University in 1991, Dan has been a professional artist in fields as diverse as stencil graffiti (exhibiting alongside Banksy), stage design, club decor, collage, fine art painting, and printmaking.
“It was only at the tender age of 50 that I discovered what I should have been doing all along - sculpture.”
The adaptation of man-made, post-consumer waste into careful representations of nature has poetry that seems apt for our times.
A lifelong love of nature, foraging, and structure are combined perfectly in the finding and repurposing of metal objects into his intricate creatures. It is, he says, a three-dimensional extension of the techniques and juxtapositions that typify the two-dimensional work he created for many years as a painter and especially a collagist.