British artist John Lendis has always painted his relationship with the landscape wherever he has lived and worked in the world. His return to the Cotswolds with his family, a landscape so familiar and loved by Shakespeare and the Pre-Raphaelites, has reunited him with the stories and visions of these historical writers and artists:
“For an artist, coming back to the Cotswolds is definitely about ‘coming home’. It is the source of so much of what I know in the history of art and literature. It is like a concentrated landscape that is the site of the whole Romantic tradition and the birth of the Modern Spirit.”
For his new solo exhibition, Brook, Lendis has taken the much-painted image of Ophelia as his start point:
“Ophelia has been painted so frequently she has become imprinted on our brains as a Romantic emblem. She is both incredibly elusive when it comes to having any specific identity as a woman, but she also possesses a great presence in the imagination of Hamlet, and the many artists, writers and audiences who have dreamt of her since. In short, Ophelia was, and is, not a woman in the real sense, but a muse.”
Lendis continues, “These paintings are as much about the relationship between the artist and his muse as they are about specific stories, people and places.”
John Lendis, Elsinore (2013), oil on linen, 170cm x 180cm
“So the painting, Elsinore, alludes both to the Danish castle where the play of Hamlet is set, but also to the Broadway Tower, the famous hilltop castle in the village just behind Moreton-in-Marsh, which now becomes woven into the story of Hamlet. The turned figure could be Ophelia, or not, but either way it is not clear what she is thinking about or looking at, or even what period she lives in.”
John Lendis, Kelmscott (2013), oil on linen, 90cm x 190cm
Sometimes the background landscapes in John Lendis’s paintings depict real places, such as in the painting, Kelmscott, which features William Morris’s house of the same name, sometimes they are imaginary. Either way, Lendis’s background landscapes function as a symbol for a truth about the way that we live in relation to the historical and physical landscape around us, as Lendis explains:
John Lendis, ‘There’s Rue For You’, oil on linen, 120cm x 160cm
“We create the image of the real world around us as though it were a mirror of an ‘interior world’ that we carry, imagine and remember within.”
The exhibition Brook opens at 6pm on Saturday 11 May at the Celia Lendis Gallery in Moreton-in-Marsh and continues until 6 July 2013. For more information please contact the gallery on [email protected] or 01608 650 852 or visit the website at www.celialendis.com.
Summertime Gallery Hours are 9.30-5.30 Daily.
BROOK by John Lendis
Celia Lendis Gallery, Moreton-in-Marsh
Exhibition opens 6pm, Saturday 11 May
Continues until 6 July 2013
Price Range: £1800 – £9,000
John Lendis (b.1950) has a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Tasmania, where he also gained a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting Major) for which he was awarded the University Medal. He has had more than twenty-five solo exhibitions in Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain and has been the recipient of a number of major grants and prizes to support his practice since 1997.
Lendis has paintings in numerous public collections including Government House (Tasmania), the State Government of Tasmania, the University of Tasmania, the Jane Franklin Museum and the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University where he was also artist in residence during 2006.
Over the last decade, Lendis’s work has attracted critical acclaim and reviews in Australian art magazines and academic journals including Art in Australia and The Australian. In 2005 he was interviewed for a special profile on Stateline on ABC television and his work is the subject of a chapter in the book Tasmanian Visions by Dr. Roslynn Haynes (Polymath Press, 2006). Lendis’s work is also a major focus in a PhD thesis currently being written at the University of Tasmania and is rapidly gaining attention and critical focus in the United Kingdom.
John Lendis was born in Nottingham and studied textile design at university before travelling through the Middle East, Asia and the Far East in the early 1970s. He settled in Australia for some 25 years, where he met arts writer/curator Celia Lendis (nee Broughton) and they married in 1997 and had two children. The couple returned to the Cotswolds in 2009, where Celia opened a contemporary art gallery and John resumed his painting practice on a fulltime basis.
Celia Lendis Contemporary represents artists of integrity whose work expresses an authentic vision, commitment to craftsmanship and an intellectual engagement with the world. The gallery’s exhibition programme of established and emerging artists, both British and International, is gaining a reputation throughout the UK for quality and depth. Open since July 2010, Celia Lendis Contemporary is a member of LAPADA Modern and exhibits regularly in London.
Celia Lendis Gallery
High St, Moreton-in-Marsh,The Cotswolds, UK, GL56 0AF
Summer Hours: 9.30 to 5.30 Daily
Access: Trains run regularly to and from Moreton-in-Marsh Rail Station to Oxford City and on to Paddington Station, London (on the Worcester line). The gallery is 500 metres walk from the station and is located directly opposite the junction of Station Road and the High Street.
Parking: Free parking is available throughout Moreton-in-Marsh, except on Tuesdays when a central market is held and parking is restricted.
Source: Celia Lendis Gallery