'French Escapades' Exhibition at Red Rag Modern Art Gallery, Bath UK (from Sunday, 18 September 2011)

Top Quote The forth-coming exhibition, French Escapades, at the Red Rag Modern Art Gallery in Bath is unusual, beguiling and quietly engaging; a timeless journey into memory and reverie. It is a show for the senses. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) August 25, 2011 - There is something unusual, beguiling and quietly engaging about the latest show, French Escapades, at the Red Rag Modern Art Gallery in Bath (which opens on 18 September). It is not that Bath is twinned with a French town (Aix-en-Provence) though that is interesting. Nor is it that it is an exhibition of exceptionally high quality paintings of France by highly skilled contemporary artists, though that might be captivating in itself. It is more in its celebration of a timeless journey into memory and reverie that it strikes an inner chord - it is a show where it is easy to lose one's sense of time and place and, willingly, to be transported to experience again the hazy sunny days and cool evening shade of Provence, the ancient rural views soaked in history and the elegance and romance of Paris. It is a show for the senses.

    A select group of artists with a special feel for, and intimate experience of, France are brought together in this exhibition and share their insights, their personal journeys and discoveries of this surprising, sensual, romantic country - from views of Mount St Victoire (near Cezanne's studio) to the alleys of Aix; from the noisy cafés to the secluded olive groves, from the lavender fields of the Ardèche to the gardens of Montmartre and the sidewalks of Paris.

    The contributing artists are all experienced travellers. They present very different insights into the life, culture and soul of France; its diversity, beauty and 'joie de vivre'. Jeremy Barlow evokes the convivial atmosphere and colour of scenes of everyday urban and rural life - secluded olive groves, busy squares, cafés and streets - with intimate understanding (Eze, Le Clemenceau). Colin Carruthers brings his light touch to imbue the landscapes of France with a dreamy, hazy freedom and sense of timelessness where one can almost 'smell' the wild herbs he paints (Mount St Victoire). Robert Crisp and Douglas Gray capture the life of the Parisian metropolis against the background of its cityscape, architectural elegance and spacious public spaces, as well as more intimate insights into city life (Gardens of Sacre Coeur; Quatre Septembre); while Tina Morgan brings her subtle, impressionistic style to trigger fond memories of street, square and coast (Morning Walk in Paris). Michael Kidd's distinctive, graphic views of chateaux are crisp and sure (Chateau Latour), while the landscapes of Scottish artists John Kingsley and James Orr capture a sense of the light and shade, heat and colour of southern France that is an enduring attraction for visitors and artists alike (Baie des Fossettes, Cap Ferrat; Lavender Fields, Ardèche).

    Carine Besse, Gallery Manager at the Red Rag Modern Art Gallery, comments that, '…often we see things - feel things - afresh from a distance…our memories activate all our senses so that we smell the coffee, hear the conversations, taste the fine wine and food, remember how we were touched by a view or a word. This quiet, reflective show is a chance to walk back to those times…to remember the heat of the afternoon and the cool of the evening, to savour again the special delights of France, its landscape, people and culture.'

    Brief biographical notes (more is available at www.bathartgallery.co.uk/artists.asp)

    Jeremy Barlow (b. 1945, Kettering, Northamptonshire) studied at the Northampton School of Art and is a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters; Colin Carruthers (b. Antrim) studied at the Birmingham Institute of Art; Robert Crisp studied at Croydon and Nottingham Schools of Art; Douglas Gray (b. 1965, Wetherby, Yorkshire) began his career in poster design (for Athena) and advertising illustration before concentrating on a professional career as an artist; Michael Kidd (b. 1937, London) studied at the Wimbledon School of Art and the Royal College of Art; John Kingsley (b. 1956, Glasgow) studied at the Glasgow School of Art; and is a member of the Glasgow Art Club, 'Group 81 Artists' and the Paisley Art Institute; James Orr (b. Glasgow) studied at the Glasgow School of Art; Tina Morgan (b. 1952, Lynton, Devon) studied art and design in Cornwall and is a member of the Royal Society of Women Artists.

    All the artists exhibiting in this show have exhibited widely in the UK; and have works in private, public or corporate collections.

    The show runs from Sunday, 18 September 2011 to Sunday, 02 October 2011.

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