Purbeck Art Weeks starts today, stretching from Swanage to Wareham with the theme ‘Out of the Depths’. Similar Open Studio events are held across England over the summer, a chance to visit working artists in their ateliers' and discuss their works and ideas. I like the intimacy and authenticity of driving from house to house, following the trail of yellow PAWs signs, and then discovering something unexpected and wonderful.
Cathy Veale’s watercolours, on display in a church along the Swanage seafront, use bold tones and strong contrasts to evoke the chalk cliffs and lapis seas of the Jurassic coast. She gets the hues in strong summer light nicely, the way the sea shades from deep blue to transparent as it nears the shore and the earth tones mottling the cliffs. The outlines of waves and eddies seem out of scale and figurative, I prefer the more delicate perspectives she captures towards her horizons. But it’s work I wish I could produce.
The Boilerhouse Gallery alongside the Corfe Castle train station houses a number of working artists. I liked Julie Winsor’s balanced kinetic sculptures, Rachel Fooks sand-textured ceramic tentacled forms, and Nikki Hall’s lovely glass sculptures with cilia and organs reminiscent of bacteria. The whole gallery is a pleasing co-op of clever ideas, and the views of the old castle from the adjacent rail bridge are a bonus.
Moira Purver is a sculptor living high above Langston. Her house and gardens are lovely (I got lost, admiring them, on the way to her studios in the stable). The yard was dotted with clever figures in silver and copper; her studio was filled with sketches and notes for works in progress. I loved the human emotion and warmth,rooted into the earth and grass. This was my favorite venue, especially the discovery of vast murals splashed across the outside wall of her studio.