In a trailer park in deepest Florida, it’s three in the afternoon. Metal is too hot to touch, tarmac is sticky like maple syrup, the air as thick as grits. It’s quiet, other than the muffled drone of an afternoon TV quiz show. Everyone is inside with their electric fans and iced tea. Only a bloody fool would sit out in this heat.
Oh, look! There’s one now.
Paul Stafford is at his easel, painting frantically before his acrylics dry up in the sun.
In front of him is an old refuse skip.
But what HE’S seeing is the romance of 1950’s Americana – the colour, the lettering, the palm trees behind.
On another day it’s a 1959 Belle Air Chevrolet. Then a scrapped vintage Cadillac.
By now everyone is used to this Englishman out in the Midday Sun. Even the Mad Dogs ignore him apart from the odd sniff of his leg and a drool on his palette. Occasionally a resident will mosey over, telling anecdotes about meeting Elvis or offering cold beer.
Back here in Occitanie, Paul finds similar treasures lurking in breakers’ yards and hedgerows – a weed covered 1956 Mercedes, a burnt out Citroen, an antiquated tractor, a mid century three wheel motorbike. Decrepit contraptions all with stories, written in rust, of a former life whipping around the vineyards of a southern French village.
Paul Stafford trained at the Slade School and has spent his career as a practising artist and art educator at Kingston University, where he is an Honorary Fellow. You can see all these paintings and many others at a new show at Chateau Cabezac.
Paul is sharing the exhibition space with a second artist, Yvonne Lodemore, another London based practitioner and educator, having studied Fine Art at Central St Martins.
Initially inspired by the Cornish landscape and artists, her work developed from observations and interpretations of landscape. It has changed over the years concentrating more critically on surfaces, constructions, rhythm and movement. She has also produced an extensive body of figurative work and often returns to the figure, encouraging both aspects of her work to support the understanding and interpretation of the other. Yvonne’s abstract work originates from the representational but does not define any overt representation. She’s interested in geometry, natural grids and the infinite number of opportunities within. Her work is an attempt to open a new window onto the world, its complexity in turn, reflecting the many decisions we make in everything we do. She intends the viewer to both travel through her paintings and to take them in as a whole.
These recent abstract works were inspired by observations of compressed and contained materials. She has used the grid as a device to manipulate the viewer to explore the surface and move in and out of the shapes, spaces and intersecting lines.
Come and enjoy this doubly diverse exhibition and also of course, sample some delicious Cabezac wines.
You are invited to the Vernissage on Friday, 20th July 2018, 5.00 – 8.00pm.
The exhibition runs from 21st July until 31st August. Open 7 days a week.