Rabley Gallery is launching two beautiful new mezzotints by Sarah Gillespie at the British Art Fair: ‘The Graces‘ and ‘Blackbird‘.
‘The Graces’ was perhaps the most challenging mezzotint I’ve made to date. The group of willows here grow with their ‘feet’ in the water at Slapton Ley. I drew them from the path, which at that point is high above the water level, so one has the impression of looking down through the branches into the water. The observant will spot the two mallards making their way through the ripples at right underneath the trees. For some reason this particular group of trees has always reminded me of Botticelli’s three Graces on the right hand side of his ‘Primavera’. – Sarah Gillespie
British Art Fair
Saatchi Gallery, King’s Rd, London SW3 4RY
Booth Solo 17
SARAH GILLESPIE – Moths and Habitats in Mezzotint
28 September – 1 October 2023
“We have done enormous damage to those we share the Earth with. The work of the artist is to pay attention – to refuse not to notice.”
British printmaker Sarah Gillespie was drawn to moths because they’re ‘overlooked and under-loved’. She then found out they are in catastrophic decline: 50-60 species have become extinct in the past 80 years. Their plight has become an obsessionfor the artists as her concerns are entwined with the threat to natural habitats. In particular the watery world of Slapton Ley, near her home in Devon, where the sea threatens to encroach on a unique freshwater ecosystem.
The triumph of moths is in their diversity, beauty and importance as pollinators. The triumph of Gillespie is to draw us close to her subjects, absorbing us in the unloved and overlooked. Where the global awareness of climatic extremes shouts out as todays news, Gillespie whispers to us to pay attention to signifiers, in fragile environments nearby.
For the first time Sarah Gillespie’s beautiful mezzotints will be installed with their corresponding copper printing plates to echo and reflect the limited edition prints.
About Sarah Gillespie
Sarah Gillespie was born in Winchester in 1963. She studied 16th & 17th century methods and materials at the Atelier Neo-Medici in Paris and then read Fine Art at Pembroke College, Oxford (BFA Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art). On leaving She was awarded the Elizabeth Greenshield Foundation International Award for figurative art and has had a successful career as a painter. In 2016 she was elected a member of the Royal West of England Academy. Sarah Gillespie makes mezzotint prints, an old, slow and painstaking method that produces unique velvet blacks and soft tones. Her work encourages us to refocus our gaze toward the everyday and the overlooked; moths, blackbirds and winter-suns.
Her work is held in public and private collections including: Victoria and Albert Museum, London; National Portrait Gallery; LondonVictoria Gallery Bath; Government Offices for the South West, UK; Royal West of England Academy; Sharpham Trust; Chatsworth House; Museum of Fine Arts, Yekaterinburg, Russia.