Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper


Landscapes and spirit

“Any landscape is a condition of the spirit.” Sally Cole quotes Amiel to introduce her new exhibition, Draw Paint Draw, at First Sight Gallery in the Old Town. HOT reporter Siobhan O’Hanlon admires the views.

Sally Cole has been on a personal journey into landscapes from the mountains of New Zealand to the extreme point of the Pembrokeshire coastline and back to the quieter hills of Sussex. Her response is rooted in landscape and the resulting accumulation of ideas has been carried back to her Fairlight studio with surprising results.

Sally has changed her viewpoint, no longer looking to (or from?) the horizon, there is just a pure and immediate physical response, no confinements, and at her happiest immersed within the elements, wild wind blowing a gale atop a cliff, with the intention to take the viewer on a journey from which they find their own way back.

All works on show are a direct response to working in the landscape. The Stick Feather Wash 1, 2 and 3 series are action-driven animated pieces like huge pieces of rock rooted yet somehow on the edge and about to slide. They have a life of their own.

A series of busy sketchbooks show the work in progress and ideas as they occur. The concertina display sketches of Pembrokeshire travel from gentle line to struggle and translation, back to order and soft marks.

The unique monotype series entitled Landing 1, 2 and 3 are directly influenced by the trip Sally made back from New Zealand. The limited palette together with the use of vigorous brush marks, scratches and solvents mysteriously render a sense of space and flight. Her Pembrokeshire unique monotypes made over a period of time show transition and shift of mood, an evolution through revisiting.


Three large-scale new oils are fresh (barely dry). Piha Beach New Zealand has kept Sally emotionally involved as this beautiful area is currently under threat of development. Personal Mountain is a construction of powerful forces, tumbling plates are held boldly with strength, an almost masculine force and fearlessness of mark making. The space, light and dark tones earth a natural response to the memory of New Zealand and touches of red spark an emotion. The latent epic quality that is evoked reminds me of the work of Peter Lanyon.

With all the drawings, paintings and prints in Draw Paint Draw, Sally has embodied emotions which enable the viewer to engage personally with the work. “So I don’t have any words to say how you’re painting makes me feel, but I can say that it does make me feel!” A quote from Sally’s comment book. “You’ve made me want to go to New Zealand,” says it all.

I was touched by this celebration of nature; I felt these works – take a walk along to First Sight Gallery and feel moved too!

Kind of Blue.

Draw Paint Draw: Sally Cole First Sight Gallery, 34 High Street, Old Town, Hastings. Friday-Sunday, 10am-5pm, until 16 March., tel 01424 814687.

Opening event: Saturday 1 March, 12-5pm.


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Posted 14:44 Friday, Feb 28, 2014 In: Visual Arts

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