‘RECONNECTING’: it’s a word that keeps coming up this year.
At Bowley House it has meant reconnecting with: the place where we live, with our neighbour next door, with the garden and its reflection of the seasons, with the history of an intriguing building (which started life as Woodstock’s Victorian police station), and the idea that our artistic talents – in whatever form – can bring so much enjoyment and personality to a place when shared.
Our story is a recent one, we all moved to Woodstock within the last three years. Many of us rushed off to work early each day, exchanging quick hellos. A large willow tree bloomed and shed its leaves in an empty courtyard.
Then we were confined to home and like everyone, we adapted in small, day-by-day ways. The sun came out, Charlotte put a table and chairs outside, Simon planted colour everywhere, Georgia could be heard practising her opera singing around 5 o’clock. Juliet suggested a drink under the tree, then another…. New neighbours and a new AI business venture were toasted. Jane talked of her art and Juliet about writing. Between lockdowns, we asked Georgia to sing, just for us, and Jane to bring out her beautiful landscape paintings. Simon and Charlotte continued to transform the garden. We talked about places we were from and realised relatives in Oxfordshire knew relatives in Wales and we listened to stories about cultures and landscapes from the Celts to Australia. We talked about places that inspire us.
This all happened under and around the willow tree. We became a community – enjoying, encouraging and inspiring each other’s art in its many forms, both professional and amateur. This exhibition is both an expression of our experience and a celebration of Woodstock’s strong sense of community.
In the personal words of Jane Greer – artist/painter:
“The tree in the courtyard in Bowley House represents for me a branching out in a new direction and reconnecting my art to nature and the community around me.
Renting here means that I have to rein in my usual technique which is to have several canvases on the go at the same time. In my former studio I could leave my work out and allow it to evolve gradually.
After years of painting large canvases and exhibiting in urban, central London locations it feels now is a good time to start painting small in natural colours.
On show here are some weatherproof prints of larger, sold paintings and layered portraits, which explore a human connection with nature.
The sculpture was done during a sculpture course in Portland Bill - it represents Janus, with one head looking to the past, one to the future and in the middle, the ungraspable present. The block of stone I used was taken from the Baltic Exchange, bombed by the IRA and represents the idea that none of us know how we will be transmuted by the future.”