The Fosse Gallery re-opened its doors on April 12th and I cannot believe it has taken me two weeks to get round to visiting-shame! How appropriate though to have Seren Bell showing her New Works for Spring.
Seren’s work shows a real understanding of nature and her works get stronger every time she exhibits. There is a confidence in her latest works which you need to be in front of to understand. It is one of those exhibitions that if you are able to stand in the middle and experience, the whole seems greater than the parts. What I found especially exhilarating was the juxtaposition of the strong limited colours on the almost monochrome ink media
The Mid Wales landscape features throughout the exhibition. She says “I always walk in the early morning or late afternoon, and in the winter, this is when the light transforms the familiar landscape into something magical and exciting”. She goes on to add how important this has been to her recently, “Its given me huge solace over the last year, I feel safe and at home in it and I’m grateful I’m never tired by it. On some days the clouds or the light work to reveal something new and exhilarating. I hope something of how much I love this land is in my work.” I think the personality in the landscape comes through implicitly.
Bell’s depiction of her animals is so very striking. Animals in figurative art has not always been my favourite over the years but in these pen, ink and mixed media scenes they seem to have such composure and assurance. She has clearly grown up alongside her dogs, sheep and hens. Seren Bell adds “I’ve always seen them as individual creatures who need consideration and try to give them a voice that we can recognise and respond to. I hope I give them a dignity and presence which makes them significant to us”. The digital images are good but in front of the paintings you can almost sense their presence.
Re-opening of galleries like The Fosse Gallery is so significant as we try to move back towards some sense of normality. Stow on the Wold has numerous galleries but coming into its forty first year the longevity and permanence of the Fosse is so important to its standing as a promoter of contemporary paintings and artists. Owner Sharon Wheaton told me that “through it all the gallery remains in good shape and heart”. After an online launch the exhibition, now fully open, and running until May 8th, has been very successful, so I can only agree.