OONA CAMPBELL SUSSEX LANDSCAPES – 6TH May – 17TH June 2007

1st December 2011

EXHIBITION DATES 6TH MAY- 17TH JUNE 2007

PRIVATE VIEW SUNDAY 6TH MAY 2007

With vast tracts of southern England being swallowed up by new housing developments, ring roads and super stores Oona Campbell’s most recent body of work highlights the still wild and romantic nature of parts of the West Sussex countryside.  East Head, a fragile, shifting sand and shingle spit at the mouth of Chichester Harbour belonging to the National Trust, wages a constant battle against the winter gales to prevent its erosion.  The South Downs with their rolling chalk hills remain one of the last unspoilt areas on this busy coastal strip.  A decision on whether or not the Downs will become a National Park is still awaited.

Campbell studied at Brighton Art College and welcomed the opportunity to revisit Sussex. In creating these paintings she spent long days walking the Downs and the coastal paths of Chichester Harbour and West Wittering as well as lingering in the famous landscaped parks of Petworth, Uppark and Bignor.  Painted over several months from July to December she watched the landscape changing. The paintings reflect the seasons and dramatic light and climate conditions.  Ranging from the hazy light of a July cornfield on Bignor Hill to early December when the autumn canopy blends with a fiery sunset over the lake at Petworth.

Better known for her paintings of the Scottish Highlands and Islands, in these Sussex works Campbell comes to terms with a tamer, gentler landscape.  Despite its more pastoral nature it is still at the beck and call of the ever-changing elements.  East Head is not the coast of Iona or Mull contending with grey mists and Atlantic gales but what intrigued her were the colour contrasts of a blustery autumn day, the shape of the headland and groins and the colour changes reflected from the shifting sky in the water.

These new paintings by Oona Campbell depicting the South Downs, West Wittering Climping Beach and Petworth Park are joined by the work of three figurative sculptors Leonie Gibbs, Paul Vanstone and Carol Peace at the Moncrieff-Bray Gallery, an impressive, renovated barn with stunning views over the landscape of the Rother Valley and South Downs.