29th May 2021 - 26th June 2021

Martha Holmes - Between Land and Sea

This exhibition of fifty new works by rising young painter Martha Holmes is inspired by the beautiful Penwith coastline, and is comprised of a series of small studies and larger paintings which capture the shifting detail of Cornwall’s ever-changing landscape. This collection explores the relationship between land and sea at the point where the bright, optimistic greens of Cornwall’s rural landmass meet the deep, dramatic blues of the Atlantic Ocean. In each of these works, land, sea and sky are suggested by simplified areas of shape and colour, while the solid board beneath her bold, semi-abstracted marks is deliberately integrated with the work itself, by way of texture and a strong ground, becoming part of the painting’s dynamic like the stone beneath soft layers of landscape.


Martha’s particular talent is in capturing the essence of a scene through the pure abstraction of colour and light, an approach which expresses a raw and honest sense of the landscape. As a painter, she is inspired by a deep-rooted connection to the land where she grew up, as well as an emotive connection to the ocean and its influence on the landscape she loves to paint. Cornish masters such as Patrick Heron, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, and 21st century plein-air painter Lucy Bray, have all been significant influences on the development of her work.


'Painted throughout Spring, this collection draws on the relationship between land and sea - noticing the shifts in colour between the two components throughout one season, how they stand as two separate entities, yet interact as one.


Part of the collection has been worked on from the windows of two beach huts - one on West Beach, picking up on the simple blend of land and sea, where the deep greens of the Island meet the moving tide of Porthmeor. Other days were spent on the opposite side of the Island, looking out from the small cove of Porthgwidden across the expanse of sea towards the soft dunes and warm tones of Gwithian.


Each colour is lifted directly form the landscape, mixed while stood exposed to its elemental shifts. The unprimed  board used to layer upon becomes integrated into each work as part of its total spatial composition. Often present where two colours meet, small raw parts of board give an earthiness to each work, reflecting the environment worked from.'


Martha Holmes


May 2021