Alison Critchlow

Beating Time – A Conversation Between Painting and Poetry is on show at the Alison Richard Building, Cambridge, until 23rd February.  ‘It proposes resonance across art forms and sets up a dialogue between painters, poets, viewers and readers.’  I was taken by the work of Alison Critchlow.

Snippets of Time, Alison Critchlow, ARB Cambridge, January 2020

Alison Critchlow is a British painter based in Cumbria and has painted in places as far afield as Greenland and the Isle of Iona.  Her most recent work, exhibited here, was made at Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Trust collection.  The investigation of Wordsworth’s creative processes and ideas, especially about landscape, memory and transformation reflects the themes of this exhibition.  She looks at the subtle rhythms embodied in place that poets and painters share.

Coffee table display, Alison Critchlow, ARB Cambridge, January 2020

Two pieces of her work in particular held my attention.  First, Snippets of Time, 26 small panels made in the Dove cottage garden through 2018-19.  The paintings, in acrylic and ink on boards, capture how the small space of the garden reveals itself to the artist at different times of the day and year.  The second is described as a ‘Coffee table display of the creative process’.  This collages extracts of Wordsworth’s manuscripts and copies of pages from the artist’s sketchbook made during her time at Dove Cottage.

I enjoyed these works not only because of their intrinsic value as art, but also because the approaches helped me to refine my thinking about one of my current photographic projects, looking at sculpture in two contrasting settings.

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