Archive for August, 2012

Quarry Reflection 4

Water.  Reflections of strength and beauty, transparent layering of leaves and stone, transposed by light immersing itself in the thousand crystals of marble and lying in wait in the luminous pond below.  A feeling of quiet meditation in the whole exhibition. Jacob Cartwright has drawn inspiration for this series of photographs from his excursions walking through the marble mountains and disused quarries of Carrara and Pietrasanta.

Jacob and Jaqui
the doors are open
The opening

The opening night at La Rondine, on 24th August, was hot and full to the brim with art lovers and friends, sipping on prosecco.  It was an exhibition that constantly drew attention to itself, with guests engaging in the work, delighting in the painterly abstraction of stone and water despite it being the ‘first night’ when people are usually more happy to engage with one another.

Quarry reflection 5

Jacob’s photographs are large format and their subject benefits from the sense of space they create.  In ‘Quarry Reflection 2’, the work feels ‘inky’, like an abstract etching, luscious thick black lines criss crossing each other over soft dark grey and deep forest green, white dashes, alleviating the heaviness. ‘Quarry Pond’ is a truly beautiful work of just the reflection without its life mirror. This piece is full of light and the colour is delicious in its painterly turquoise greens and blues. All the works in the series feel special, but I especially enjoy the more undefined and elemental works that keep you uncertain of whether they are a photograph, a drawing, a painting or an etching – it is only the art that matters.

Quarry pond
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Swooping through the air, their forked tails and pointed wings in silhouette against brilliant blue skies, they arrive in spring and leave in autumn, busy all summer long, tending their babies and devouring the myriad of insects floating over the fields and waterways, chirping socially through the balmy twilight evenings on top of their nests under the eaves or on the boughs of leafy old trees. The swallows.  Joyous and free they still observe the rituals of season as do we artists, out and about in this bountiful haven in the warm seasons and gone to other warmer climes as the winters grow cold.  We have called our gallery in Ponte a Serraglio, La Rondine – The Swallow.

Opening at la Rondine gallery
Massimo Betti,(mayor), Michael Cartwright and Kevan Halson
at the opening
At the opening

One week ago the mayor of Bagni di Lucca,  Massimo Betti, opened the first exhibition of La Rondine Gallery, ‘Atrophy’, a series of photographs by Kevan Halson. Living in the hills above Bagni di Lucca, in a lovingly restored old villa, Kevan, talented in many fields, includes photography and printing in his repertoire of gifts.  He is often to be seen, laden with his camera equipment and a bunch of keys loaned to him by the commune, as he enters old buildings owned by the commune who have not the money available to them to restore or keep the buildings intact.  Bagni di Lucca with all its history and all its potential, is one of those special towns that needs a great patron to preserve it.

‘Atrophy’ is a series of small intimate photographs of the forgotten story of the Bagni di Lucca area, interior shots of tumbling villas and houses, old and decaying, snippets of another life, long gone, bits of rubbish left on old shelving, rubble up a staircase from a fallen roof, old tiles.  The colour of each of these works is beautiful.  Each photograph is almost a burnt black and white with one extreme colour standing out abstractly, a delicious turquoise, an apricot pink, patterns created by the lighting that create another level of resonance above the story of decay.  It’s a strange insight into Bagni di Lucca, but it is a true one.  Bagni di Lucca, so rich in history and patrons and beautiful buildings, has declined sadly and graciously; one by one the great old villas falling into themselves, relinquishing the life of the past, not much to remember them by except for a little wallpaper snippet or delicate engraved and broken glass, elegant staircases strewn with rubble from the toppling floors above.  Kevan’s photographs record the vision of a broken past, yet are poignantly beautiful art works in their own right.

La Rondine is manned by the exhibiting artists, so the opening hours are operated individually according to the exhibitor.  The casual nature of our agreements has allowed us to open the gallery doors.


Our next exhibition on 24th August is by Jacob Cartwright.

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