Artist’s memorable images celebrate the human touch
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