Oxfordshire Artweeks are delighted to announce that Summertown artist Claire Christie Sadler is the winner of the 2018 Mary Moser prize for her monochrome drawings of the west coast of Scotland. The award was established in 2003 to mark the work of a local artist who has taken up art as a second career later in life. Claire was previously a professional cellist and the skills developed during her musical career are evident in the transient quality of her pictures, and the technical accuracy too - she’s acutely aware of the movements she uses and the marks she makes, using the charcoal or brush with the precision and delicacy of a bow, for example - and although alone as she creates, it is almost as if it was a performance.
‘With awareness, emotion, and a quiet contemplation, Claire captures a sense of movement on paper with clear, clean lines and considered contrast.’ explains Esther Lafferty, Artweeks Festival Director. ‘Rich in atmosphere, her drawings show the narrative of the landscape in all its moods, from harmonious, luminous and ethereal to brooding and dark, as the substance of the land, the rhythms of the seasons and the tides, and the transience of the light present a continual ‘performance’: the parallels with music are clear to see. The relatively stark nature of black-and-white is explicitly dramatic and expressive whilst timeless and evocative, her light touch and loose lines softening a strong and sometimes bleak skyline.
Claire describes how the West Coast of Scotland offers a sense of perspective, and contradictions too; the vast scale of the landscape heightens our awareness of how small we are, and yet there is an increased sense of self; the ancient history of this place highlights the brevity of our own lives; this place which has such a physical sense of permanence appears to be constantly changing as one looks at it. There’s tranquillity and power at the same time, and the rain, wind, snow, sleet and light disguise, enhance, conceal and then reveal the mountains, hills and water.
‘Art and instrumental music are both wordless forms of communication yet can convey perfectly a feeling or an emotion,’ she explains. ‘In music, silence is as important as sound and in t it is the sound of silence (or at least the lack of man-made sounds) that I am trying to capture in my art. ‘
Claire Christie Sadler is holding an exhibition of her work as part of Oxfordshire Artweeks in May. Her exhibition (venue 41) will run from 4th-12th May in The Garden Studio, Oakthorpe Place, Oxford OX2 7BB.