Lost in the Woods - Stroud shows its strength in Notting Hill

'Fortune' by Amaury Blow

'Fortune' by Amaury Blow - Credit: Archant

Creative entrepreneur Amaury Blow, scion of the creative and legendary Blow family, is bringing a collection of artists - Tamzin Malleson, Colin Glen and Sheridan Jones - from his native Stroud to London this October.

'Confusion to Clarity' by Colin Glen

'Confusion to Clarity' by Colin Glen - Credit: Archant

Stroud has long been a hub of a significant artistic community. Boasting artists, writers and artisans as diverse as Lynn Chadwick, Damien Hirst, Rachel Howard, Dan Chadwick, Lulu Guiness, the Pangolin Foundry, Giffords Circus and Tim and Sue Webster, the area is an evergrowing hive of cultural and artistic energy.

'Self' by Tamzin Malleson

'Self' by Tamzin Malleson - Credit: Archant

Now Amaury Blow wants to share some of that energy with a wider audience, and is taking the metaphorical Stroud show on the road.

Lost in the Woods - an art exhibition featuring Blow’s own extraordinary installations representing taxidermy, plus pieces from renowned Stroud based artists Tamzin Malleson, Colin Glen and Sheridan Jones - will open at the 20th Century Theatre in Notting Hill on Wednesday, October 23 for three days.

Blow’s own art is driven by the artist’s keenly felt desire to underpin the beauty of his beloved Stroud. Whilst most of us think of the area - as epitomised in Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie, as an idyll of picture postcard perfection, Blow’s own take on it is that the countryside’s gentility is a barely contained superficiality, and that nature ultimately holds the cards in the game of balance between man and beast.

His love of nature is show in the depictions of beast against beast, beast with a symbol of man - a raven with a silver goblet of fruit, a heron with the scales - of justice, of money, a fox with a ruby necklace.

Blow’s art is juxtaposed with three other Cotswolds artists bringing their own unique views to the collective show.

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Tamzin Malleson is a painter whose work ‘Self’ explores a woman’s identity, the remembrance of both the darkness and the lightness in herself. Dense brushstrokes offer a deep sensuality, and the gash of a mouth is both sensous and fearsome. ‘Self’ is about desire, hunger, sex and yearning.

Malleson believes working with oil frees the artist’s expression, encouraging versatility, and embracing change, enabling errors to become transformation, allowing the paint as much as the artist’s hand to vibrate with richness and life. She believes that the viewer plays a part in the painting, that their response is an intrinstic part of the work.

Colin Glen is a Stroud based artist whose conceptual work also speaks of alternate views, of shadows. His body of work for this show includes ‘Confusion to Clarity’, and represents his fascination and enduring focus on mental complexities and challenges - a reflection of his own turbulent life. Personal experiences interwoven with fashion and art, from working with Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy, combine in his extraordinary paintings. His works, which metamorphose through the process of drawing, photography, perception and ultimately rendered in painting with graphite powder in oil bring shadows to the canvas.

Sheridan Jones’s introspective self portraits speak of darkness and fear. Jones’s first career was as a circus performer - she used to hang by her hair, having been taught the secret by a Venezulan performer. An accident ended her career - and her marriage to a Romanian acrobat - and the desire for a similarily creative act of self expression was born.

A self-proclaimed “punk photographer”, Jones’s self taught photography is driven from a desire to challenge censorship - of her self, of others and of the way many of us restrain our own creativity. An artist of her time, she first published her work through the medium of facebook, creating an online following. This is her first show.

Blow says, “The word ‘lost’ in the title of the show is key - we humans tend to see life as human centric, we forget that we are merely an evolutionary experiment amongst many with no lasting significance, we forget that our systems of classification and purpose are merely human constructs engineered to explain to human minds. The crow has no such conceits, he just is and all about him, including human constructs, is just so much noise and detail within an accepted backdrop. The finial is just a rock bereft of all the power and meaning placed in it by us, rather unimportant and fairly transient humans.”