Artist in Focus: Piers Ottey
Paintings by Piers Ottey are well known to followers of the gallery, and much further afield.
He paints the landscape in situ and figures from life, he also teaches at his Mill Studio and for many years had been a trustee of the National Open Art Competition.
Some of you will have met his constant companion - Audrey - and in recent years the subject of more than a few paintings!
Fewer people will know of his passion for vintage motorcycles, Brough Superiors in particular. He painstakingly sources original parts, and makes those he cannot find to restore and then ride these almost hundred year old idiosynchratic machines.
We have shown his work in Arundel now for over ten years, every eighteen months or so, and in 2013 & 2014 we exhibited his work in London, in Shoreditch and Hoxton respectively.
Piers Ottey is as much concerned with the "process" of painting as with the finished piece. He leaves working marks, mistakes and other observations on the canvas. His work is further characterised by geometry (usually diagonal lines) and the code of colours on the edges (a record of the colours used in the order they were used).
In 2014 we showed his Last Mountain paintings in April in Arundel and his new "grafitti" works in "We Love London" in Hoxton during September.
So what is next for this artist whose output can surprise and delight visitors and whose watchword is "integrity" in all he does........
Then in December Piers visited Rome. Attending a mass at St Peters he was struck not by the Baroque architecture or chapel adornments, but by the modus operandi of the priests observing the mass, there was no music just words in latin and movement - process. (He also regularly attends Friday evensong at Chichester Cathedral more to be amongst the people than any religous obligation).
His Rome paintings are completed in his Hackney studio, which he goes up to weekly after teaching.
The first Rome painting "Rope of Sand" is in direct contrast to the London works - rich, colourful full of pomp and ceremony. The title is a reference to a line in The Collar, a poem by George Herbert (written in 1633).
Our next exhibition with Piers Ottey is scheduled for November this year, I am not sure what exactly we will be showing then, but I am sure it will be an exhibition not to be missed!
After a very busy/intense period of painting up to August 2014 preparing for two exhibtions with Zimmer Stewart Gallery and another with the Highgate Gallery, Piers had a hiatus for a couple of months and did not paint at all.
This was broken in November, when he painted this "monochrome" painting of Audrey at his studio in Sussex. This painting is full of drama, tone and strength.
Then he started painting London again, the first one being a night time view, and more recently Battersea Power Station.
His ongoing fascination with this site is now spurred on with the chimneys coming down, on his way back down to Sussex from Hackney he often stops to walk around this iconic building taking in changes and planning possible compositions.