Flora McLachlan

Atmospheric, Chagall-like impressionist landscapes and animals

May 25, 2006

Flora McLachlan & Sarah Naybour, Artweeks 2006 (May 20 - June 4), St Giles Church, Woodstock Road, Oxford

Passing through the atmospheric graveyard of St Giles prepares the senses for Flora McLachlan's enchanting landscapes. The ornate, richly coloured stained glass windows of the church frame the deep purples and crimsons of McLachlan's etchings of sweeping mystical panoramas to great effect. McLachlan produces work in both oil pastel and watercolour to tell of ethereal landscapes roamed by poetical beasts, displayed in a venue just a stone's throw from where the otherworldly writing group the 'Inklings' held their weekly meetings. The Gothic and Romanesque features of the church are a stimulating environment for this display of bewitching forests. McLachlan's woodlands convey the distinct impression that something curious is stirring in the undergrowth. Smaller pieces, such as 'Hellebores & Moths' and 'Apple Tree', show such animate detail in pen, ink and watercolour that the viewer is effortlessly transported to this sensual vista.

Sarah Naybour's new prints from France use abstract expression to portray nature in even finer detail. Compositions of leaves are printed onto carved relief, cleverly marrying the figurative and abstract to engaging effect. Evocative titles such as 'When Morning Moves' and 'Slipping into Autumn' brings the experience of nature closer to the viewer, inviting us to share the Artist's sense of heightened consciousness. Naybour has developed an original and individual style of self-expression and generously shares the ideas behind her technique with visitors, inspiring budding printmakers. Representing natural forms through a visual collage is reminiscent of 1940's Cornish Artist John Wells. Wells' quote of the experience of Art itself seems appropriate to describe this exhibition, 'here is a tremendous language capable of conveying elemental truths. Words can't say these things'.
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