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Paul Nelson: Rural Rides (after William Cobbett)

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Saturday 31 July 2021 - Saturday 18 September 2021 - All Day


New Ashgate Gallery

Meet Paul Nelson: Mini Talk, Sat 18 September, 10-10.30 Free and no booking is required.

Paul Nelson started to think about a series of paintings broadly relating to William Cobbett’s book ‘Rural Rides’ about 10 years ago. Paul explores Cobbett’s description of his rides through Farnham and on to Winchester, making numerous references to the geology and soil types of the region for this defined agricultural practices in the 19th Century Britain. Paul’s series of ‘Rural Rides’ explores the ‘terroir’ (to coin a term from the wine world) of that landscape: the colours and textures of the rural landscape. Paul uses the quiet reflections in water, the texture of natural forms and the drama of a sunlit landscape to create a ‘theatre’ of observation.

Paul returned to the theme of landscape two years ago following visits to Scotland. He is fascinated by the character and environment of rivers. Topography and ‘place’ is important but it is only equal to his role as translator and poet.

Paul’s work has clear roots in British Romantic landscape painting by artists such as Turner, Samuel Palmer, Holman Hunt and Helen Allingham. Latterly he has been enjoying the work European Classical and Baroque artists, particularly Nicolas Poussin and his ‘Landscape with a Man Killed by a Snake’ that inspired the painting ‘Looking towards Frensham Great Pond’. In this unexpected relationship, the viewer sees the ambiguity of the fallen trees in the dappled sunlight in a kind of natural ‘theatre’ that lasts as long as it takes for the clouds to pass. In Paul’s work, an artist controls the foundations of a painting but the painting takes on its own identity – it is this compelling dialogue that keeps Paul painting.

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