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Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Simon Carter: Painting on the Essex Coast

In 2013 Simon Carter collaborated with artist Robert Priseman to co-found the artist led group Contemporary British Painting; a group who donated paintings to the Swindon Collection several years ago, including two of Simon Carter's paintings. Simon recently was interviewed by Katie Ackrill in her 'Meet the Artist series, you can see it here. Apologies I didn't manage to press the record button for Simon's talk. I took some quotes from Simon's web pages:

'My work is based on the stretch of Essex coast where I live and have my studio. This coast is where the gardened landscape of East Anglia starts to fall, literally, into the spare and elemental spaces of the North Sea; where any idea of landscape as static and timeless is replaced by a sense of dynamic flux.     I use the elements of the coast, the creeks and estuaries, saltings and seawalls, as an archive of shapes and colours, of weather and of objects, trying to find a dynamism and passion in the paint that will match those in the landscape whilst retaining a structural clarity that allows observed fact to become something pictured and true.'

Simon talked about the nearby coast to Frinton 0n Sea where he lives including Landermere Quay, Beaumont Cut and Walton on the Naze, all exotic sounding places to someone like me living in Swindon, about as far from the sea in England as one could be, and longing to visit the water's edge. He showed us his painting process through a series of slides. I took photos of the screen and so can share them here:

Above on the left is Constable's painting of Flatford Mill which can be seen at Christchurch Mansion and on the right, Simon's painting of the same view.
A view of a house on Landemere Quay, and I think below a photograph showing where the house is situated
Another view where as you can see the horizon dominates.

A particular favourite painting is Landscape with Ruined Castle and Church by Jacob van Ruisdale in 1665:

Simon's method of working is to make sketches of a scene, and then work them up into paintings:
Below is an example of a painting on two canvasses
The view below has inspired the paintings below it

Simon gave us a view of his studio
and a view into the distance
and then finally a photo of his exhibition at Messum's in Wiltshire in 2018:

There was more information on a web page about Simon:

Simon Carter was born in Essex in 1961. He studied at Colchester Institute (1980–81) and then North East London Polytechnic (1981–84). Recent exhibitions include Made in Britain at the National Gallery of Poland, Gdansk and Contemporary British Painting at Yantai Art Museum, China both in March 2019. The RWS Contemporary Watercolour Exhibition, London, 2019. Solo Exhibitions at Messum’s, London and Messum’s, Wiltshire in 2018 and The Minories, Colchester in 2017. In 2016 a solo exhibition at SEA Foundation, Tilburg, Netherlands. 

Carter has work in collections including Ipswich Borough Council, Rugby Museum and Art Gallery, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, Yale Centre for British Art, USA, Tianjin Academy of Fine Art, . Simon Carter is represented by Messum’s and is currently President of Colchester Art Society.

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