All natural

Joan Sullivan
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Three artists offer their vision of the Natural World in new exhibit at the Leyton Gallery

Anita Singh's "Burin Fence Rocks." Submitted photo

Flowers, Landscapes and the Natural World is the title of a new three-hander exhibit opening at the Leyton Gallery Saturday. The show includes three women depicting their environment, topography of the seascapes and fields and gardens that surround them.

Their media varies, with Michele Stamp painting oil and acrylic on masonite, Louise Sutton wielding acrylic on canvas, and Anita Singh printing monotypes. Their themes and interests are sometimes shared and sometimes highly discrete. Each is inspired by scenery or some element of a natural scene. But they take different approaches in how they control or locate their subject, how they distill the purity of their focus, and their management of the role external factors, like weather, play (or dont) within their fields.

Their technique, and thus their look, is also vividly divergent. Singh breaks the frame by encapsulating the view into intersecting planes. A panel of grass is lifted and impressed alongside a panoramic block of countryside. Singhs work will balance a vista of a mountain range with a closeup of honeycomb patterning, set bees and petals against border lines of fencing or a distant horizon. The resulting design of terrain has an overall look that is something of a tapestry, partly in her lines, which lend a sensation of weaving, and particularly in the natural tones she selects but then energizes with an extra punch of glow. And yet, often, her work on first appearance can appear more simple and even more serene than what really transpires. There can be complexity and even discordance in her imagery.

Suttons work is done with a distinct indistinctiveness. One of her singular practices is to leave outlines blurred and feathered and furred, as perceived through water mists and vapourous fogs. This works strongest in her foregrounds, whether they show heather-tinged foliage or yawning surging seas. The backgrounds of the bigger pieces can lack the same intriguing force. But all her paintings convey a strong and somehow soothing sense of place, and an atmosphere of being with her in that place. An air often blows through the paintings, and the natural colouring is rendered as if mottled by cloud and ocean. In the pieces here she sets her sights on ragged coastlines, a configuration of bare tree trunks, and big rocks in the wild deep water, all seen from a deeply appreciative distance.

Stamps paintings show flowers, most usually irises, often arranged in duets or trios, with one solo blossom and one carefully spaced floral line. The pieces are often small, but even so the subjects are sometimes captured as bigger than they really are. Stamp bases the tones in natural colours but injects great oomph and detail, which play well against a scuddingly textured, off-white background. The forms are almost figurative and really fresh; clear-cut shapes of a splashy delicacy.

These three visual artists start from the same premise (something of nature) but then follow their own path, with Singh seeking poise and perspective; Sutton pulling mise en scene through an imbued sensibility; and Stamp finding form in ephemeral spray.

The exhibition continues at the Leyton Gallery until Oct. 27.

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