"Green Sussex Fading into Blue"
8 to 29 October 2016
Private View: 7 October from 6.00-8.00pm
You came and looked and saw the view
Long known and loved by me
Green Sussex fading into blue
With just a touch of sea.
– Alfred Lord Tennyson
This October, we immerse our selves in Phil Tyler's Sussex landscapes, all not far from his home in Worthing, West Sussex.
The gallery will be filled with 10 canvasses, all one metre square, creating a three dimensional view of the South Downs as seen by this accomplished painter and printmaker.
It is no wonder that England’s finest writers and painters have been inspired by these scenes, and continue to be today. Hilaire Belloc called them “the great hills of the South Country”. For Algernon Swinburne they were “green, smooth-swelling, unending”. For Rudyard Kipling, “Our blunt, bow-headed, whale-backed Downs.”
I never get between the pines
But I smell the Sussex air;
Nor I never come on a belt of sand 35
But my home is there.
And along the sky the line of the Downs
So noble and so bare.
- Hilaire Belloc from South Country
For some writers the South Downs conjures a romantic and imaginary England, as found in Kipling’s Burwash-based Puck of Pooks Hill and Charles Kingsley’s Itchen-inspired Water Babies.
For most though, the landscape is very real, a place where the deeply held dream of the English countryside, with its cultivated fields, hedgerows and rolling hills, can still be found.
It was in the Sussex village of Felpham that William Blake wrote the lines to Jerusalem that celebrate ‘England’s pleasant pastures’ and ‘mountains green’. It is a bond that continues today. Whether for writers such as Booker prize winner Graham Swift, who said in a recent interview that he comes here ‘half a dozen times a year, at least – in all weathers’, or amateur literary enthusiasts who make the pilgrimage to Chawton, Rodmell, and festivals at Charleston and Arundel.
Currently Phil Tyler is lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Brighton and is working on his next book "Painting the Landscape", in wbhich he writes:
There is something beautiful about a melancholic cloud hovering in the sky, a moment when the light breaks through, giving clarity to a feature in the landscape. One takes a breath, looks across the distant view and stares in awe at the immensity of the space, the notion of self, disappearing into the distance. To capture that feeling, to put down on paper or canvas that emotional response to the landscape, to encapsulate all those memories and moments of experience and somehow make that concrete in paint.
Phil Tyler has lived at the foor of the Downs for 26 years, and in that time has covered many subjects, but he always returns to this subject again and again.
In the Summer issue of "the Artist" magazine one of Phil Tyler's Sussex landscape paintings was editor's choice.