H&C Recommends: Not a Brief Glance
Words Vilma Paasivaara
Landscape Charles Moriarty
A collaboration show at The Gallery in London brings together two artists’ individual responses to the landscapes that surround their homes and workspaces. The exhibition has been inspired by the ever-changing natural and structured environment of Johnny Brophy and Gerard Hastings…
Not a Brief Glance is simultaneously a debut exhibition and a return to gallery walls after a long absence, with designer Johnny Brophy presenting his intimate sculptures for the first time, while Gerard Hastings is showing new paintings after a seven-year break since his last show. Both bodies of work have been built from and inspired by nature – creating a strong link between the two artists.
The connection between Brophy’s work and his environment – the New Forest – is a very direct one: he sources the materials for his sculptures from the forests and fields surrounding the barn where he lives and works. The materials he uses include pieces of wood, seed pods and rusted metal fragments which he has foraged on his walks. Brophy says that living so close to nature, he has become ‘acutely aware of the landscape continually changing according to light, climate and the rotating seasons.’
Brophy’s sculptures deal as much with the concept of time as they do with nature and the environment. Through foraging items in various degrees of decay, by interrupting that process and combining them with discarded manmade items reminiscent of his childhood, he wants to comment on the passage of time. The combinations form a parallel between the deterioration of memories and the cyclical decay of nature.
With his work, Brophy also wants to comment on how our relationship with nature has become dysfunctional and fractured. ‘As a consequence, we tend to merely give nature a brief glance,’ he says.
Hastings’ paintings, in turn, were inspired by a walk he did along Hadrian’s Wall – giving him a sense of connection with nature which prompted his move from urban London to his houseboat and studio on the River Lee. This newfound relationship to nature is what has inspired his most recent paintings. The tension and union between the manmade structure of the wall and the surrounding nature is similar to that Hastings wants to have with the landscapes they reflect.
His paintings aren’t representations of any recognisable landscapes or places, but rather musings on the concepts of simple environments. Hastings says that in his work he seeks to convey the implications, associations and suggestions of a landscape rather than what it happens to look like.
The name of the exhibition, Not a Brief Glance, reflects both artists’ manner of approaching their work and the landscapes they’ve been inspired by. Hasting’s paintings, as well as Brophy’s sculptures, take a long, contemplative look at nature and our relationship with it.
Not a Brief Glance is at The Gallery (4 Garden Walk, EC2A 3EQ, London).