Spanish landscapes and Wessex trails

LANDSCAPES are the theme of the two exhibitions that open the autumn programme at The Art Stable at Gold Hill Organic Farm, Child Okeford – Spanish Landscapes by husband and wife Robert and Dorothy Bradbury, and Wessex Trails by Teresa Lawton, both running to 30th September.

This is the gallery’s third exhibition of work by the Bradburys, who met as students in 1934 at the Fine Arts School of San Francisco, and lived for many years at Deia on Mallorca. Gallery owner Kelly Ross was introduced to their work by the late Mario Reading, whose enthusiasm for their work and his long and close relationship with Robert feels like a strong element of this exhibition. Some of the paintings in this show come from his own collection, which was built up over many years visiting Dorothy and Robert in Deia.

They came from very different sides of California life, recalled Mario in an introduction to an earlier exhibition – Dorothy came from an upper crust family, while Bob bummed rides on the railways during the Great Depression. They arrived in Europe in 1949 just a few months after the birth of their only child, Suzanne.

They lived for their art. Dorothy died at the age of 67 in 1980, but Bob continued to paint in the open air until just before his death in 2011, aged 98. Their inspirations included Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, and Mallorcan predecessors such as Fuster Valiente.

Teresa Lawton grew up in Dorset and its landscape is rooted deep in her imagination. She lives between Dorchester and the sea, and that same landscape, largely unchanged, continues to inspire her. And although her paintings are an abstract and imagined version of the landscape, the stories of Thomas Hardy continue to inspire her.

She says: “Living in the heart of Thomas Hardy country, his stories feel very familiar to me, his wonderful, beautifully detailed descriptions of the heath and woodlands touch and inspire me. Some of the descriptions are so vivid I feel his presence as I walk the age-old, time-trodden paths. So it’s not surprising that my paintings are also entwined somehow with the Wessex landscape described by Hardy.”

Since graduating from Winchester College of Art in 1994, Teresa has been exhibiting around the country, and at The Art Stable since 2007.

Pictured: Alicante Sunset, 1964, by Dorothy Bradbury; Quarry Paths, by Teresa Lawton.