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Eric Meadus' much loved late drawings of his native Swaythling were intended for exhibition: nearly all of them are now in public or private collections. Some are included in this show, but they are only one part of his work. His early death robbed the world of an original and distinctive artist.
As part of the countrywide Gallery Week '97 (coordinated by engage, a national body seeking to further everyone's understanding and enjoyment of art) the First Gallery mounted this special exhibition of topographical oilwatercolours and drawings, mostly done in the 1960s, some not seen before. By coincidence, the work of Eric Meadus matches the aims of engage. The images are identifiable, everyday places (some long gone) yet they are recognisably Meadus's own. They were made to share his delight. The art is in the feeling which comes out of them: always lively, often faintly humorous; above all, it shows in his masterly command of line.
Meadus was, in fact, much more than a straightforward topographical draughtsman. In particular, his late paintings show the heights he had reached and some unfinished works hint at the promise of what was to come. These add another dimension to the superb draughtsmanship and fresh outlook of earlier pictures and, ultimately, they will see his reputation rightfully established. This is not to dismiss the topographical works, which are now historically interesting as well as beautiful. Sketches, now in folders to be browsed through, were made for himself purely for the love of it and not intended for exhibition. Many have been identified but you might be able to help pinpoint some locations which have puzzled others.
More about Eric Meadus
"I try to make things which move in simple but interesting ways, hoping that they will appeal both to children and adults. Moving toys are still made in many parts of the world from wood, bamboo paper, string, wire, feathers and so on. These toys, which are sold on the streets or appear for fairs and festivals) often achieve the vigorous imagery and ingenious use of simple mechanisms that I aspire to in my work. At their best they cleverly exploit the properties of natural recycled materials, readily available. I try to do the same and at present I particularly like using driftwood because collecting it qives me a good excuse for going to the seaside", says Robert.
Margery Clarke's pictures inevitably involve people: even empty land- and sea-scapes imply the onlooker and much of her work contains figures. Her favourite medium is oil paint, which can be built up slowly layer on layer, but there are drawings, pastels and prints among the exhibits. Recently she has experimented with deliberately subconscious application of paint, taking her imagery into uncharted territory.
As much at ease with a needle as with a paintbrush, she has had light-hearted forays into other materials. Do not be surprised to get no reply when you speak to that old lady sitting with her gold shoes dangling above the floor: look closer and you will find she is a puppet to dance with.
PEOPLE MATTER, so in her work the bleakness of the human condition is tempered by Margery's compassionate humour. As Picasso said:
Two Potters, two Painters
One-time staff at Southampton College of Art
|Until a few years ago the four participants enjoyed working together at Southampton Institute: Alvin Betteridge was Head of Ceramics and John Cattell its technician; John Butterworth used to head the Fine Arts department, where Steve Powell was a printmaking tutor. Now the group has dispersed, only John Cattell remaining permanently (although Steve is frequently co-opted). This event has come about through the suggestion of John Cattell, who was taught to pot by Alvin Betteridge. In addition to the exhibition of their work for sale, they will be in the Gallery on both days ready to talk to you. Weather & inclination permitting, Alvin will demonstrate. This is a serious exhibition with much of the work being specially produced but they will be so pleased to see each other that the atmosphere is sure to be full of warmth, doubtless with lots of banter.
The Private View will be on Friday 25 September, 6-9pm with the usual Open Morning on Sunday 4 October, 11.30am-2.30pm during which purchasers will be able to collect their works.
"The Animated Eye: Paintings & Moving Machines by Peter Markey"
As it is a selling exhibition the contents change so it does not get stale.
Private View: Friday 6 November 6-9pm
Festive Opening: Sunday 15 November 11am-4pm
Every year we get cold feet about the Xmas Show in case we are not able to keep up the exciting standard; in the event, so far, each one has been slightly better than the last. Keep your fingers crossed for us!
Back to First Gallery Home Page and Current programme
Submitted by Trevor Gilson 26 September 1999.