This exhibition provides a balanced look at the artist’s desire to convey beauty, peacefulness and simplicity, as found in the Japanese woodblock prints of the ukiyo-e period, and traditional Chinese brush paintings; alongside subjects of unrest, protest and challenge. The Bristol Harbour watercolours have a tranquillity and harmony of light and colour, which is carried into illuminating the more turbulent topic of economic change and the Occupy London movement. These new paintings follow on from a watercolour of the last year’s Stokes Croft riots, an event that the artist was able to watch from her sitting room window. This (sold) watercolour, entitled “Bristol Burns” was carried out by creating an invented and balanced composition, incorporating all the elements the artist remembered from the event. It was painted with a colourful harmony depicting the unsettling subject with a still simplicity. Abigail has attempted to bring this harmony into her new paintings based around London and St Paul’s cathedral. She believes that it is the artist’s job to try and capture and convey eyewitness accounts of important moments in the time and history.
The medium of watercolour has often been used in England to depict tranquil and idyllic traditional countryside scenes, but has also been used in a challenging way, by Turner and Paul Nash for example, to illustrate scenes of unrest, such as battle scenes. Abigail’s use of the medium reflects her desire to fully explore its potential for depicting both calm scenes and more challenging and complex ones. The exhibition also shows the artist experimenting with mixed media (acrylics and oils) to create new effects. These works reflect her ongoing pursuit of learning about media and aim to retain the luminosity of her watercolours, whilst assimilating a freer and bolder brushstroke.
Abigail has exhibited all over Bristol and in Bath in the last five years, including shows at the Bristol Affordable Art fair and the Bristol Museum. Her work has been featured in many local and national publications, including the Art of England. She has undertaken several important commissions, including large paintings for the Marriott Royal and watercolours for Ernst and Young. In autumn she will be exhibiting at the London Affordable Art fairs with London- based gallery Degree Art.
Still Waters and Revolutions is Abigail’s second solo show at the RWA, following last year’s exhibition “Art for Sustainable Transport” in the Milner Gallery. She is an Artist Member of the RWA and a regular exhibitor at the Autumn Exhibition.