Fall Line: Wycliffe Stutchbury Solo Exhibition
His forthcoming solo exhibition is comprised of ambitious pictorial wall panels inspired by the countryside he has experienced and lived in over his lifetime; from the Fenlands of East Anglia to the South Downs coated in thick forests, where the artist spent his earliest days. The ancient British landscape and its ever evolving story is an essential part ofWycliffe Stutch-bury’s creative journey. His forthcoming solo exhibition is comprised of ambitious pictorial wall panels inspired by the countryside he has experienced and lived in over his lifetime; from the Fenlands of East Anglia to the South Downs coated in thick forests, where the artist spent his earliest days. This childhood relationship to woodland means he has an intrinsically close bond to his ma-terial: holly bush, oak and bogwood express his emotional connection to his subject while acting as an index of place itself. For Stutchbury, the finished work is always an exploration of landscape, “an observation of its folds and contours, its valleys, peaks and ridges”. Field, furrow, fold and fall line are all embedded in the undulating scenery his work recalls. The artist respects his material as an elemental record of the British Isles’ natural history: bogwood is the spectre of prehistoric oak trees, which fell 5000 years ago and were engulfed by rising waters. Semi-petrifying in sodden soil, the wood reawakens in acidic waters; tannins react with the acid to turn its grain the deepest charcoal black.Holly bush and oak begin as small and delicate saplings and slowly grow into trees that are sculpted in and through their landscapes; seasons come and go and alter their inner forms as concentric rings of grain multiply with the passing of time. Textural imperfections and gnarled branches stand as physical manifestations of incident and place. Stutchbury’s making hand finds these secret histories in nature and creates compositions with them - different yet fundamentally connected to the life of the tree and its rural setting. The process begins in his studio, where deli-cately hewn tiles of wood are placed in a meditative, rhythmic order to create his abstracted pictorial compositions, which at once become emotive, intui-tive and conceptual. The final mass of shimmering wood shingles suggests a tension between the unpredictability of the natural world and the artist’s de-sire to impose new structures, while simultaneously retaining the life of the tree and its small and individual material imperfections. Inconsistencies and anomalies are augmented, allowing the material to express its story. Flaws and failings are shared by humanity and nature alike. These tensions are at the heart of the artist’s tale; a constant interplay between order and disorder as the natural world erupts around him, erratic and enveloping. Rhythms ebb and flow through Stutchbury’s making process, as patterns emerge in linear forms and subtle tonal changes susurrate across the picture’s surface - reminding us of the wood’s creation, guiding us back to place; where moods change, sun warms and water soaks.