Christabel Blackman

Love And Other Treasures

November 18 - December 1 2017

Inspiration slips easily into Christabel's world. Surrounded by gardens, cats, art and music, she doesn't have to search far to find her pictorial muse. Images appear amidst her daily life; the cat observing a pair of duelling butterflies in her florid garden, her beautiful daughter arriving home clasping a single symbolic rose or an open window with patterned curtains swirled by a gentle breeze. She has explored these images further by focusing on their underlying unifying force, which is that of love.

These new paintings have been created in Christabel's distinctive studios in both Valencia and Sydney. She spent several months this year in her European home, which is perched on the edge of a pine forest on the Mediterranean coast. Her absence from her Spanish home had seen an overzealous response from the garden, resulting in Window Dream, illustrating how memory can defy reality. Classical gestures and colours have been a strength in her compositions, to enhance the peaceful and contented faces and facets of love. On her travels she acquired a copy of Umberto Eco's 'History of Beauty', which became instrumental in the reinforcement of the notion that beauty always plays a relevant and pertinent role in society.

Christabel's studio time was interlaced with satellite trips around Europe, visiting Art Galleries. The sketches she bought home, along with the hunger to indulge in hearing literature whilst painting inspired these pictures. A costal walk in Ireland, with the Blasket Islands stretching along the horizon and the cliffs illuminated by the golden late evening skies was the inspiration for Hold on to your Hat, Honey. The spring flowers and elysian fields of Ireland also produced the wildflower bouquets for Flower Girl and Love's Language and floral carpets for Summer Novel or The Cat's Dream.

Poetry has infiltrated both the images and titles of these paintings, as they invite us to reflect on the quieter and perhaps more fulfilling side of love, that filled with treasured memories, which include those that we are currently weaving into our lives. Love can take many forms, it is continually renewed and therefore ever-present. Treasures and Memories and Love Flower are both paintings about the delicacy of love; tender and timeless.

Veils of colour and transparent glazes lend a depth of sentiment, which compliments the visual. Although at first glance, her palette is playfully colourful, it is limited to hues and intensity that carry us into a meaningful emotional plane. The faces of women, often turned away from the spectator inviting reflection, inevitably draw us in to our own interpretations. They incite a narrative that becomes our own. Each time we return to look at these images, that narrative may be a repeated cherished one or totally different.

Love and Other Treasures creates an imaginary world for us, which is closely adhered to a more tangible reality. The canvases are coloured with beauty, honesty, classicism, poetry, memories and love.


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