Elementa at Lewes’ Star Brewery Gallery
Elementa is Adele Gibson’s exhibition at Lewes’ Star Brewery Gallery running until June 13.
Adele, who has lived in Lewes for the past 28 years, said: “This exhibition brings together four strands of my work on the theme of Elementa. This collection of oil paintings, made predominantly throughout last year of lockdown, has encouraged me to mine memories of places that I’ve visited and experiences that have stayed with me.
“All my work is a response to my feelings about nature and our relationship with the environment; painting is my way of communicating and making sense of our rapidly changing planet.
“The work is topical in that more and more of us are realising the value of our connection to nature and the imminent threat of the climate crisis.
“Ice has been at the core of my work for three years with two visits to Iceland and a residency in Svalbard. This experience deepened my engagement with and ability to represent in paint differ-ent aspects of ice.
“Additionally, with the threat of the climate crisis and its huge impact on polar regions, my work engages with the sense of loss and transience in this vulnerable environment. These works document the reality of this new geological age in which we are living, that of the Anthropocene.
“The fire paintings are another small series started during 2019-20 which were terrible years for forest fires with the appalling devastation in Australia, California and the Amazon. My fear is that we are becoming desensitised to news of these events and I was compelled to channel my emotions about this into my work.
“Returning to paintings inspired by the local landscape and made during lockdown these last few months, I have a series of paintings inspired by the big skies, windy days and birds in flight over the South Downs. I take great solace in nature and I always find walking on the Downs uplifting, with skylarks and swallows and birds of prey soaring on the thermals rising from the slopes.
“I have painted most of my life, but as my children grew up and I had more time to devote to my art practice, it became a bigger part of my life. My work aims to convey a sense of the sublime beauty of the natural world.
“My fascination with ice took me on a journey to Svalbard in the high Arctic in 2018.
“Here I was artist in residence on the Art and Science Arctic Circle residency which involved a three-week sailing expedition on board a sailing ship. This was a life-changing trip for me, and I spent many hours, both day and night, painting on board the ship and on the ice itself.
I learned more about the effects of the climate crisis on the region and witnessed enormous calving events on the glacier face.
"I have read many books and journals about the climate crisis, but this trip was powerfully confronting and has fuelled much of my painting over the last three years. Following this experience, I was successful in obtaining a grant from Arts Council England in 2019 to run a project at the University of Brighton. This was called Let ‘s talk about the An-thropocene and comprised an exhibition with over 50 works selected and curated from open submissions across the UK and as far afield as India, Canada and the US. It was important for me to use my experience in the Arctic to communicate with a larger audience, through art, what is happening in the natural world.”