Friday, 11 November 2011

'Gone to Earth' is go!

 Hello everyone,

Alison's solo exhibition, 'Gone to Earth', opens tonight.  Be prepared for a real feast for the eyes!

'Silent Observers of the Passing Seasons', oil on canvas, by Alison Auldjo.

"I would describe my work as a personal response to, and need of, the landscape as a means of release, appreciation and escapism.
My paintings are not necessarily traditional or representational and it is only recently I have realised that there is an important element of autobiography in the work. I turn to, and rely on, the landscape to express emotions. I find that it is in natural surroundings that I can realise my inner most feelings: be they joy, uncertainty or longing. Often I deliberately seek out the remotest places, or most comforting, to reflect upon and record important developments in my life.
I find landscape matches my ideas and my “style” of painting very well - it is endless, full of possibility and non-restrictive. There is also an obvious, untampered beauty in the landscape that one can only aspire too.  I strive and embrace the challenge of achieving painterly qualities. I like paintings that demonstrate how the work was fought with and nurtured. I like “battle scars”, mark-making and layers of thought. I tend to stop at nothing to achieve the effects I want.
The majority of work in this exhibition was produced in the summer, in a small wooden chalet near the Solway Firth.  It is a place that I have visited many times to make work and, although it may sound like an idyllic setting, the actual process was hell for me.  On speaking to a regular visitor to the gallery recently, he made a comment about artists producing their best work when they are under pressure and in times of need.  Perhaps that’s true but in the time I spent there, I forced myself to reflect upon, and get to grips with, what my work is actually about and that led me to some pretty dark places.  Having spent so much time getting inside the ‘zones’ of other artists and working out what makes them tick, I knew I had to force myself to do the same thing.  It was a very stressful and emotional experience that I would not choose to go through again (although I know I will), but ultimately out of that experience came some of the strongest paintings in the exhibition and, I believe, some of the best work I have ever produced.

This exhibition is titled ‘Gone to Earth’, after the Mary Webb novel of the same name, and I have tried to use the landscape as a metaphor for the need of artists and, indeed, the wider public to support each other and help each other in these difficult economic and social times.  With titles such as ‘Safety in Numbers’ and ‘Run and Hide’, much of this new work has a melancholy feel to it and perhaps an edge of uncertainty - a comment on the situation in which we find ourselves – yet even in these dark times there is still beauty to be found." 

Alison Auldjo
November 2011

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