21st – 24th June, open daily 11 – 6pm
25th June, open 11 – 1pm
Private view 21st June, 6 – 8.30pm
We are delighted to be showing a new collection of paintings by Robyn Litchfield in her first solo exhibition, starting at the Fitzrovia Gallery in London before continuing on to Darl-e and the Bear in Woodstock.
‘Robyn Litchfield takes us into some of the remaining original forests of her native New Zealand, where we quickly become lost in landscapes heavy with primeval time and memory. Instead of grand views and monumental scenes, her paintings linger among the trees, plants and waterways of these unique ecosystems. We travel with her on a journey deep into unfamiliar otherness, along waterways and tracks once used by the original settlers. We stumble across unexpected views, peering through a curtain of trailing fronds. We glide along silent creeks, gazing over stretches of water rippled with the entwined reflections of sky and foliage. We wonder at scenes of natural, untouched beauty, where sinewy tree trunks thrust leafy clouds into a cloudless sky. But the more we look, the more we become disorientated. Differences disappear and these forest scenes all begin to look the same, merging into a chaotic, peripheral confusion that disrupts the focused desire of our gaze.’
– Excerpt from a new essay for Let Time Be Still by Rev’d Dr Richard Davey
Drawing from archival photographs and personal documents relating to the early exploration and colonisation of New Zealand, Robyn Litchfield reimagines and examines the experience of those early forays into a hitherto unknown space.
Her paintings envisage how sublime encounters with places; pristine and untouched might encourage contemplation and self-reflexivity.
The landscape becomes a ubiquitous template for exploring personal history, notions of cultural identity, alienation and a sense of belonging.
Wilderness is used as the transitional liminal space, which can be seen as a place of disorientation and dissolution of order. Processes such as scraping into the paint, layering and erasure reference the destructive and constructive nature of being in a state of liminality. This space can offer an opportunity for reconfiguring subjectivity and reimagining possibilities. An alluring luminosity projects through the monochrome images of dense forests. Elements extracted from the documents of primeval landscapes intrude into the space.
For Litchfield they are haunting symbols of loss and longing; for past lives left behind, the dispossessed and the primeval forest. This layer of amorphous red shapes acts like a semiotic screen casting its shadow on the gaze.
Through the uncanny layering and the juxtaposition of images, the viewer is encouraged to form their own associations and interpretations of the work whilst engaging with the otherness of landscape through paint.
Litchfield studied an MA in Fine Art at City and Guilds of London Art School. She has won both the Collyer Bristow Exceptional Award (2018 & 2019) and the Landscape Award – Jacksons Painting Prize (2020). She has been shortlisted for the for the Beep Painting Prize (2022) as well as longlisted for the CBPP (2019 & 2021) and the John Moores Painting Prize (2020). Her work has been selected for numerous exhibitions including the RA Summer Exhibition (2020 & 2022).