The Fragments of Devon collection of paintings and drawings continues an exploration of landscape and topographical subjects that I began the previous year in Wales, culminating in a ‘Fragments of Barmouth’ exhibition during the summer of 2016.
I am not customarily a landscape painter. Only when I travel, and then it is to record a place and time, do I sit and make a picture. My preoccupation in the studio has been with ideas and images based on history or science. I find that, after many years of intense studio work, I have developed a set of techniques and interests that I could bring to this more traditional form of art. Thus I find that I am able to record place and time together with additional perturbations in the picture plane that reference an underlying structure, and invisible events. The ‘Artist’s Statement‘ develops this theme in more detail.
The landscape and architecture of South Devon was previously a closed book to me, save for a few visits to Exeter, and innumerable journeys through to Cornwall. Only since part of my family moved to Dartmouth did an opportunity arise to do some exploring.
I have become familiar with a small area of South Devon bound by Dartmouth, Seacombe and Totnes, in a triangle of outstanding variety and natural beauty. The area contains fishing villages, boggy creeks, boatyards and mills. On both sides of the river Dart up to Totnes are small villages, picturesque churches, waterside pubs, bridges, ferries and old mills. These places are the subjects recorded in these paintings.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Bernard Barnes, January 2017