Marissa Weatherhead: From the Middle of the Garden

26 September - 11 October 2019

Marissa studied art for seven years and holds a First-class BA in Fine Art from Gloucestershire College of Art and Design and an MA from The Royal College of Art in London. Throughout her career she has gained recognition in the form of awards notably the Boise Travel Scholarship, the John Minton Travel Award and the Joy Barnes Award for Painting. Her best-known public commission is her 14ft x 10ft mural ‘The Four Seasons’ at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in the Barbican, London.

Marissa has a wide and varied language in paint which emerges in different applications depending on the given subject. In the past Panter & Hall have largely shown her still life paintings of which she explains - ‘they do not deal with direct observational representation; instead they use and concentrate on what we know about an object through knowledge and visual understanding.’ Clearly her approach to the garden images is much the same. Her principle influences, the Cubists and the mid twentieth century British abstract painter Ivon Hitchens, are still very much in evidence. Hitchens in particular was a painter of the natural world, always looking for a new perspective; he rooted his practice in the English countryside while channelling the most contemporary international style. Marissa's landscape work is more figurative and fluid than the structured approach in her still lifes and in the shimmering silhouettes of her sculptures we detect another great inspiration, the arabesque lines of Matisse.

A long-term garden lover and enthusiast, the natural world has been at the centre of Marissa’s artist’s practice for many years. She has been awarded a number of artist residencies on the continent and on each occasion it is the local gardens or vegetation in the surrounding landscape that have provided her principle inspiration. In one recent case, her residency in Hannacc in Spain, her garden musings took her to the Garden of Eden and its associations. The resulting series of Adam and Eve inspired abstracted figures which seem to be the kernel of the ideas she explores further in these fluid depictions of the Stourhead sculptures.

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Marissa Weatherhead

From the Garden Beyond