Dee Ferris' The Places We Go acquired for Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
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Dee Ferris uses large-scale canvases to immerse the viewer in fields of colour, emotive brushwork and enigmatic imagery. She treads the line between abstraction and figuration, resisting a finite narrative whilst evoking a sense of light, space and energy. Ferris uses an intense process where she finds reference images which then are dissolved and re-emerge in her paintings.
The Places We Go is from Ferris’ latest series Azyl/Azul, which explores humanity’s uncomfortable and contradictory relationship with landscape imagery. Epic vistas, deep blue voids and humble figures propose a narrative that lies just beyond our reach. What may be perceived as tranquil escapism, could just as easily conjure ideas of danger and isolation. With its sublime quality and links to the natural landscape, The Places We Go complements the neo-romantic paintings of John Piper and Graham Sutherland whose artworks are already represented in Swindon’s collection. It also brings narratives about migration and social isolation to landscape painting, inviting conversations pertinent to issues of the present.
Sleepy Hollow presents an intricate network of pastel tones, pierced by moments of luminous light. The trace of a plant form prevents Sleepy Hollow from being completely abstract and suggests an intimate perspective on a large scale.
The Places We Go and Sleepy Hollow are currently on display on the ground floor of Swindon’s Civic Offices, in the temporary exhibition Landscape and Longing. The exhibition is open to the public whilst work is underway to relocate Swindon Museum and Art Gallery to the first floor of Civic Offices. These two paintings by Ferris represent different stages of her career. Yet, in equal measure, they enrich the strong representation of landscape painting and large-scale gestural canvases which are already represented in Swindon’s collection. They also speak to other recently acquired contemporary artworks, which address themes of place, memory, individualism and image consumption.
Dee Ferris (b. Paulton Somerset, 1973) lives and works in Brighton. Recent solo exhibitions include Corvi-Mora, London (2022); Corvi-Mora, London (2017); Taro Nasu, Tokyo (2007). Recent Group exhibitions include PI Artworks, London (2022); Attercliffe, Sheffield (2018); Nottingham Contemporary and Tate St Ives (both 2013).