Above and Beyond at Sandsend gallery

Richard Pottas in his studio.
Richard Pottas in his studio.

Richard Pottas is looking forward to his exhibition at Turnstone Gallery in Sandsend where 25 of his latest works will be hung.

Part of the pleasure of exhibiting at this gallery is the way in which Harry Casson runs the show.

‘He gets the right people through the door and I am delighted to be showing with Garry and Pollie Uttley, ceramicists who spend half the year in India. Their work is influenced by local culture and their focus is on surface and textile patterns.’

Some of his new Languedoc inspired pieces are on a very large scale for watercolours and further demonstrate his confidence with the medium. Refining his very specific techniques Richard looks at patterns in foliage and the landscape. Depicting them in their wild and natural forms then progressing with these themes into Japanese inspired abstract prints. New directions and disciplines mean that emotionally and artistically Richard’s work remains fresh and vivid. His colour palette never rests in one place.

In the South of France his work finds it’s spiritual home as a combination of the searing heat and Mediterranean light produce amazing colour combinations.

Here he finds ways to further stylise the landscape and discover new abstract qualities inspired by the Languedoc region.

It all sounds very idyllic, as Richard explains: “I get to relax and paint whenever I want to paint outdoors. It’s a place that inspires me more than anywhere else. The light tends to bleach colour out so its much more about capturing the sense of heat on vegetation and the effect this has. Going in September means its not so intense and it brings a whole new different palette. The leaves are starting to turn but the air is still warm.”

Capturing this is done naturally and without the aide of photographs or sketches, so its all in the moment. This spontaneous approach translates into vivid and liberating landscapes which feel infused with joy and light.

“I want it to appear optimistic and create situations for my work to be in. I don’t want to be influenced by photographs but focus on retaining memories.”

“The region is very hot and rugged, its an extreme landscape with mountains, huge plains and vineyards that lead down to the Mediterranean. There’s a whole range of vegetation which is affectedly differently by the heat.” All of guarantees to bring a touch of heat to the gallery in autumn.

Richard Pottas’s use of watercolour has undergone many changes over the last twenty years but the last ten years has seen him concentrate increasingly on interpreting surface pattern as found in vegetation. This interpretation has produced two very different directions of travel and, although on first viewing the link may not be immediately obvious, the two are totally related and dependent on each other.

The use of resist to achieve depth and varying edge qualities is an integral part of the process. Richard is happy to acknowledge the debt he owes to aspects of Japanese and Chinese art in the realisation of some of his work. End products are produced in series and create challenging, though at the same time subtle, surface pattern.

The recent work is wild, romantic, gestural and large scale. Which means you get an awful lot for your money investing in these watercolours.

Exotic shades come through the foliage and are thrown into relief from the sun,. “Built up in progressive layers where the richness of nature is incorporated in abstract landscapes gold leaf is applied. Japanese print techniques mean each one is unique and a surprise to me. Which is what keeps me going.”

Richard also reflects on the negative and positive spaces, movement and the effect of transitions that comes from the speed of wind.

His statement pieces are all about geometry and layering. The depths and changes of colour often reflect the darkness of nature and decay, along with spring like optimism and life affirming combinations that inspire thoughts of summer.

Finding a garden of eden will be a whole lot easier, visit The Above and Beyond show at the Turnstone Gallery in Sandsend and invest in some of Richard’s inspiration.