The intense blue graphics of Jacob Wolff use anonymous computer digits to express words synonymous with our sense of community in ‘PUB/ALE’. Clear stories are told in miniature in the oil on wood painting of Anna Tanner’s ‘Blizzard with a shot gun’ featuring a man escaping on horseback. Obscure stories can be personalised from the small details revealed in the exquisite oil on copper paintings of Ethan Pollock that have an essence of Vermeer. The very start of a story can be delightfully guessed at from Sam Race’s paintings such as ‘The Letter’, a correspondence left in an opulent luxurious pad, plush enough to make you want to curl up. The most technical botanic text book has been given a surreal make over by Ping-Yeh Li in exciting acrylic on canvas screens accompanied by a frothing multi-coloured plant in clay. Take a step back and it’s almost like a night at the movies with the series of stills by Chris Succo who claims in his title ‘I know what you are thinking’ - one hopes not as his work is full of smouldering suppressed longing. Karen Purple’s texturally expressive work has adorned some superb exhibitions here in Oxford in the past and it is satisfying to catch up with her latest pieces. ‘Box with very little small paintings’ have woven embossed tiny paintings in a glass cage. Her oil and graphite bleak distressed paintings on board does a good job in reflecting the natural light captured in Jo Stannard’s ‘February Fields’ hung on the opposite wall. Jo Stannard has literally painted the seasons in bold brush strokes, taking one year to progress from painting the same location from February through to ‘Winter Solstice’. The pain-staking quality of etching has not deterred Mohammed Bushara from producing a grid of 9 pieces that show intriguing detailed narrative full of a bold cultural symbolism. A modern twist on the impressionist’s pointillism use of bold brush strokes comes in James Green’s ‘Nude in Studio’ that connect the viewer very closely with the physical act of creating art.
If I could pop any of these original pieces under my Xmas tree it would be anything by Madi Acharya-Baskerville. Up to the moment and brimming with humanity, Madi’s work connects immediately with the soul. Addressing immigration and human displacement, Madi selects emotive objects with an instinctive value, such as found wood, then paints a story on them with a clear immediacy. Celebrate the strong ideas portrayed by every one of these bright shining lights right up until Christmas day!