Artist’s mem­o­rable images cel­e­brate the hu­man touch

Stockport Times West - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - SEAN WOOD sean.wood

FIRSTLY, thanks for all the pos­i­tive com­ments about my al­lu­sion to the works of the 15th cen­tury Flem­ish painter Bruegel, and it’s true to say that his pas­toral scenes of peas­ants go­ing about their daily lives have al­ways spo­ken to me.

I sup­pose Bruegel is to the coun­try­side, what Wil­liam Hog­a­rth is to city life, and his se­ries of draw­ings called the Rake’s Progress de­pict 17th cen­tury Lon­don life in all of its mad­ness, in ev­ery sense of the word.

Both of th­ese artists, although a few cen­turies apart, and sep­a­rated by the English Chan­nel, were able to cap­ture the hu­man con­di­tion, what it is to be us, and no writ­ten de­scrip­tion is needed to com­mu­ni­cate across the years; a ‘thou­sand words’ and all that.

I would call both of th­ese pain­ters artists’ artists, kin­dred spir­its in the de­sire to in­ter­pret what they see in their own way, nei­ther too hin­dered or in­flu­enced by oth­ers in their ef­forts to turn tubes of paint into feel­ings on a flat piece of can­vas.

They’re ma­gi­cians. In my view, Glossop artist, and re­cently named Woman of the Year, Ghis­laine Howard, is cut from the same cloth; driven to catch the bit­ter­sweet mo­ments of life, from birth to death, and all those in­trigu­ing lit­tle spa­ces in be­tween; an in­vet­er­ate se­rial painter, a si­lent wit­ness, whose some­times dark and som­bre pal­ette com­bines with mas­terly brush­work to pro­duce re­mark­able and mem­o­rable images, drawn up from the well­spring of the artist’s core.

I am de­lighted to an­nounce that Ghis­laine is hold­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion at The Laugh­ing Bad­ger Gallery, and read­ers are in­vited to the pri­vate view­ing on Sun­day, Fe­bru­ary 8, from 11.30am to 4.30pm, it’s your chance to see the paint­ings and meet the artist, and of course I’ll be there to wel­come you too, and if you’re re­ally lucky I’ll have scones in the oven.

The ex­hi­bi­tion is to be called... The Hu­man Touch, and will in­clude a num­ber of small stud­ies, sketches and prints as well as a num­ber of key works that have been land­marks in her jour­ney as a painter. All cel­e­brate ‘the hu­man touch’ – the way we in­ter­act with each other and the world around us.

Ghis­laine says: “As paint­ing is quite a soli­tary busi­ness, it is re­ally im­por­tant for me to feel part of a lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“Living in the cen­tre of Glossop, what could be more nat­u­ral than to show at The Laugh­ing Bad­ger Gallery in Pad­field, just a mile or two up the road from my stu­dio. I’m sure that the warm and wel­com­ing at­mos­phere of the gallery will com­ple­ment per­fectly the hu­man val­ues of shared ex­pe­ri­ence that are the in­spi­ra­tion for my work.”

There have been many high­lights in Ghis­laine’s ca­reer, solo shows at Manch­ester Art Gallery, the Im­pe­rial War Mu­seum North and many of the ma­jor cathe­drals in Eng­land – but the one that took her most by sur­prise was hav­ing one of her draw­ings – a preg­nant self-por­trait from the Whit­worth Art Gallery Col­lec­tion – be­ing cho­sen as the cen­tre­piece for the ex­tra­or­di­nary Bri­tish Mu­seum ex­hi­bi­tion, Ice Age Art: the Ar­rival of the Mod­ern Mind.

Her drawing was shown along­side the first known works of art made by hu­mankind – cre­ated more than 30,000 years ago – quite an ex­pe­ri­ence.

This jux­ta­po­si­tion of mod­ern and an­cient re­ally ap­peals to me, not least be­cause I use rock paint­ings of bi­son and other an­i­mals from around the world, as an ex­am­ple to ret­i­cent artists, that sim­plic­ity is able to con­vey great things across the mil­len­nia.

For read­ers in Cheshire, more of Ghis­laine Howard’s work may also be seen at Col­lect Art in Lymm, the Gate­way Gallery in Macclesfield and Wendy J Levy Fine Art, Knutsford.

Bring­ing Home The Tree by Glossop-based artist Ghis­laine Howard

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