May 7-28 2015 CURWEN GALLERY Emma Dunbar, Fiona Millais - Open a 'pdf' of this press release - return to Galleries PR Index



7-28 May 2015

Private View Wednesday 06 May 6-8pm

Emma Dunbar, Harbour Boys, acrylic on board Fiona Millais, These Days of Rain, acrylic on canvas

The paintings of Emma Dunbar and Fiona Millais share common themes of landscape,

coastlines and natural and everyday elements.

Emma Dunbar’s paintings aim to create a feeling or atmosphere of a place or scene.

Encompassing features of her original source of inspiration, she rearranges elements from it,

such as birds, shells, flowers or fish. These may be placed alongside true landmarks as focal

points, as her primary concern is for the impact of the resulting visual image, rather than

making a literal depiction of it. Some works are simple arrangements of flowers in patterned

or coloured jugs, with fruit or chocolates nearby. These reference traditional still life

painting, yet in a contemporary style. Vivid colours are a signature feature to her work as

are her use of decorative elements such as patterning and gold leaf. Her work is consistently

uplifting and has a great feeling of optimism.

Fiona Millais’ paintings are in a similar way a representation of the artist’s response to, or

memory of, a place. Fiona gathers additional materials such as feathers or stones, and they

become reminders of the location and time. She often works in layers of paint, leaving some

traces of the original image visible, with layers of texture, colour and interwoven history.

This represents her interests in the natural rhythms of the land and how it reflects our

presence or the lack of it. The layers within Fiona’s paintings encompass these ideas of how

landscapes are shaped by humankind, leaving marks and echoes through time.


Emma Dunbar’s influences come from travelling in India, Cornish holidays and the chaos of

cats and children wandering onto wet paint. She also draws inspiration from the work of

favourite artists, including Mary Fedden, Milton Avery and Daphne McClure. Born in England

in 1961, she graduated in 1984 with a BA (hons) in Fine Art Printmaking from West Surrey

College of Art and Design. Since then she has worked full time as an artist and exhibited

throughout the UK. Her paintings have been internationally reproduced as greetings cards,

posters, limited edition etchings and even fabric designs.

Fiona Millais grew up surrounded by the heather of the Surrey Hills and exploring the wild

West Coasts of Scotland and Cornwall, these places and her memories and drawings of

them now being an inspiration for her work. She studied Fine Art at the University of

Newcastle upon Tyne, graduating in 1984. Her great-grandfather was the Pre-Raphaelite

painter, Sir John Everett Millais.

And in the upper gallery:


Paintings & Drawings from Les Bassacs

7-28 May 2015

Private View Wednesday 6th May 6-8pm

Artist’s talk Tuesday 12 May from 6.30pm

Mark Cazalet has been making artwork in response to his visits to the small hamlet of Les

Bassacs in the Luberon Valley, Vaucluse for nearly 20 years. This beautiful location has

captivated his imagination with its brilliant light and distinctive aromatic fragrance.

Part of Les Basaacs Autumn series, chalk on coloured paper, 25 x 65cm

The architecture of the woodland has been a reoccurring theme for his work, influenced by

the Romantic English landscape tradition as well as the poetry of Philip Larkin, Dylan

Thomas and Robert Frost. In his new work Mark Cazalet aims to capture a sense of place,

both in the contours of the landscape itself as well as in the subtler emotional essence of his



Six years ago, during a teaching excursion to Les Bassacs, he began working at dawn to draw

the effects of the first rays of the sun on the foliage. In the evenings, after his classes were

over for the day, he found there to be a good moon, so at night he continued drawing. This

habit of dawn and dusk drawings formalised into a routine over that period.

He took to the idea of imagining that the dawn drawings were a kind of Matins focused

around a song of thanks for a new day, Mary’s Magnificat. The Dusk drawings were equally

a leave taking of the light and celebration of a day closing. They became Simeon’s Nunc


These meditative intentions made the works into a kind of graphic mindfulness exercise, a

period of contemplation at the beginning and end of the day. The results of this period of

ritualised working will be showing at Curwen Gallery this May.