44 - A journey of shape
I'm cheating a little this time, as my blog post has been written by someone else - artist Grant Bull who is a fellow member of the Ryde Studio Art Trail happening between 13 and 17 September this year. He interviewed me for a series of profiles we have been publishing on the twenty artists on the trail. So I have been doing a lot of writing myself, but I was so chuffed with his write-up about me, I wanted to share it here, and Grant has kindly given me permission to do so. At the bottom of Grant's piece, I will post a link to my interviews with the other Ryde artists. A friend of mine said "You have made them all so different to one another!" The fact is, it was none of my doing. These creatives couldn't have been more different to one another - not only in their various styles and artistic processes, but in their very reasons for doing art - it makes fascinating reading and, from my point of view, was a genuinely mind-blowing exercise.
So, without further ado, I will hand over to Grant, and his piece:
The Journey of Shape Nestled away at the top of Ryde town is the studio of abstract artist Rosemary Lawrey. I had the pleasure of meeting Rosemary last year at another open studios event, and browsed her work and workspace for the first time then. I came away inspired by the collection of works and the way in which Rosemary spoke of her local inspirations. At that time she had completed a series of paintings on the shops at the top end of the High Street. I remember in particular the ones she had made following a trip to the Polish food store, fascinated by the labels and packaging and the products within. Her work now is no different, drawing a continued influence from her surroundings and clear love of Ryde.
In preparation for the Ryde Arts Trail, I had the pleasure of chatting to her again in her bright and spacious studio. Surrounded by works new and old and halfway in-between, there is a sense of an artist full of ideas and commitment. Her current projects focus on the Solent and on horses, and contain her usual striking blends of colours. It is therefore to my surprise that Rosemary informs me that she chooses her palette last, settling on shape first and being directed naturally from there.
On the note of shape, I encourage all to browse the various sketchpads that Rosemary takes on her travels. For these contain the clearest window into her thought process, her beautiful linework which tracks the movements of the things she observes out and about, from people as they hurry around to the waves of the sea as she sits and contemplates their movement and their journeys. For ‘journeys’ is a common theme here, a fascination that is reflected in the stitchwork that Rosemary has taken to pairing with her abstract paintings. Rows of thread track across the painted surface, plotting step-like movements and bringing questions and consideration to the viewer; who took the journey? What for? Was it a worthwhile one? A successful one?
Not just satisfied with the two-dimensional form, Rosemary showed me a sculpture made of glasses, eyewear being another fascination and recurring theme of hers. However, these glasses were not just found or purchased glasses but those of her relatives, adding a personal and emotional layer to the piece. As she talked me through the process and the meaning she commented on the “confusion of the reflections” as the various lenses overlapped as they stood above one another, adding depth, both psychic and figurative, to this piece.
We sidestep off topic onto the charming buildings opposite her studio and I comment on the history she has present before her to inspire. It is then that, with a heavy heart, Rosemary advises me that there are proposals brewing to replace the years and years of history with yet more ‘newbuilds’. Objections are being lodged as we speak and she intends to strongly lodge hers. Yet perhaps this isn’t a sidestep, perhaps it is another link to the ‘journeys’ mapped so well in her works, perhaps this is a moment to allow the journey of those historic bricks to remain standing, to continue to tell their story in some form or another, be it vacant or used in a more respectful manner - perhaps an antiques barn or gallery space, for isn’t everyone and everything on a journey, yet some of us are just not able to articulate it as well as Rosemary in her works. - Grant Bull email@example.com
Link to interviews with artists on the Ryde Studio Art Trail: RSAT2023.my.canva.site
Rosemary Lawrey's studio is open every day during Ryde Studio Art Trail, 13 – 17 September, 10 am – 4 pm. (up blue metal steps next to No. 35 Newport Street - Look for the red bunting)