23 SHADES OF WHITE – 17TH – 31ST MARCH 2012

9th December 2011
TUEMA PATTIE PAINTINGS OF ANTARCTICA
WILD LIFE SCULPTURE BY ANITA MANDL, DICK BUDDEN AND HELEN DENERLEY

EXHIBITON DATES 17 MARCH – 31ST MARCH

PRIVATE VIEW SATURDAY 17TH MARCH 3.30 TO 8.0 PM

Tuema Pattie’s recent voyage to the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic has inspired these remarkable paintings based on sketches and photographs taken on her journey. With the Centenary of Scott’s death and David Attenbourgh’s recent documentary, The Frozen Planet, this region has never been more topical. Tuema’s paintings capture the abundant bird and sea life, penguins, seals, whales and albatrosses; the towering ice bergs and ice formations with their strange crystalline properties reflected in the Antarctic light.

Painting in such extreme conditions posed new challenges and Tuema’s sketches had to be done in an instant before the sleet washed the paint away, her hands became numb or inquisitive penguins forced her to move on. This is why they appear so vigorous and spontaneous there was no time for second thoughts. The sketches which are included in the exhibition were worked up into the larger paintings in her Sussex studio.

Tuema Pattie describes the challenges of recording her voyage. ‘Painting was either done on board ship or ashore. On board there was some sketching on deck, but not much because of the high wind. Most sketching was done by way of the cabin porthole and although the cabin table was bolted down the items on the table were not and frequently developed a momentum of their own. The challenge was to capture the subtlety of the colours and the wide open grandeur of the sea and of Antarctica itself.

We went ashore from our ship in Zodiac inflatables and in addition to the seven layers of clothing we wore life jackets. Somehow we had to carry painting equipment and cameras and once ashore the search was on for a tussock of grass or rock on which to perch. Water colours were washed away by the sleet in an instant and Gentoo penguins pecked inquisitively at our wellies. My most vivid memories are of the silence, the grandeur and the twenty- three shades of white’.

The paintings are complimented by wild life sculpture. Animal specialist Anita Mandl has made the penguin her own, capturing it’s antics in such pieces as her humorously observed Tobogganing Penguin. Dick Budden’s semi-abstract works of a seal, sea lion and albatross in flight engage with the form of these creatures and emerge from the stone or wood in a spirit of improvised free-carving. Scottish artist, Helen Denerley, works with recycled scrap metal. In contrast to Budden’s work her penguins and sea birds, specially created for this exhibition, are based on detailed observation and drawing. On a previous trip to South Georgia Denerley created a maquette of a blue whale sculpture which if built would be 112ft long, the biggest blue whale ever landed. Made from whaling scrap, it is now in the museum in South Georgia.

A contribution from the proceeds of the exhibition will be made to the Peregrine
Foundation Albatross Fund.