Zuleika Gallery is delighted to present a new programme of art exhibitions for the Gardens Gallery Café at Blenheim Palace, launching with ‘Expressions of Nature’ exhibition from 17 May to 12 September 2021.
The exhibitions will showcase the work of regional emerging and mid-career contemporary artists for visitors to the Palace to enjoy in its newly refurbished Gardens Gallery Café.
Celebrating the re-opening of Blenheim Palace after months of lockdown, visitors to Blenheim Palace can enjoy visits to the new Gardens Gallery Café, the new access to the Formal Gardens, whilst surrounded by uplifting works of art depicting scenes from nature and parklands.
The Expressions of Nature exhibition includes work by four Oxfordshire artists: Rachel Gracey RE, Rod Craig, Rosannagh Scarlet Esson, and Peter Care, whose work is inspired by landscapes and the natural environment, with two of the exhibiting artists focusing on Oxford University Parks and Blenheim Palace parklands.
Studied by artists for centuries, the Expressions of Nature exhibition celebrates the boundless inspiration of nature and the environment, ‘bringing the outdoors in’ at a time when the world has experienced extraordinary times of lockdown due to the global Covid pandemic.
Oxford-based Rachel Gracey (b. 1968) is an artist thrilled by the power of nature. A contemporary printmaker, at the core of her practice we find the created world in all its undulating forms. In 2016 Rachel made a series of works inspired by Oxford’s University Parks. After studying fine art at Bristol, Gracey specialised in printmaking.
She gained an MA in Printmaking at Wimbledon School of Art, where her lithographs were awarded the Michael Putnam Prize. Her work is in collections at the British Museum, The Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, the Ashmolean Oxford, Guanlan Printmaking Museum and the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen.
Woodstock-based artist Rod Craig (b. 1952) switched to being a full-time artist in 2010 after a long career in design. Motivated by the contrast between city life and the Oxfordshire countryside, Rod has made many studies of the Blenheim Parklands.
Rod has work in collections in UK, Germany and New York and exhibits regularly. Inspiration for his work comes from Rod’s passion for architecture, landscape and the elements: “What interests me most is trying to create a mood of time and place rather than representational studies”.
Based at her studio in Charlbury, Oxfordshire, Rosannagh Scarlett Esson (b. 1989) explores the alchemy of painting by abstracting colour and form through exposure to elemental forces. Symbolic and unconventional materials are mixed in experimental ways that work with, rather than against, the transformative effects of fire, rain, ice, time or gravity to reflect the untameable nature of the elements and the duality of creation and destruction.
The themes explored include wildness, rewilding, ecological succession and alchemical symbolism. Rosannagh graduated from Oxford Brookes in 2016, with First Class Honours in Fine Art, and was awarded the Fine Art Dissertation Prize for the best critical submission in the year. Rosannagh has exhibited in the UK and Europe and has work in several private collections across the UK.
Oxfordshire based Peter Care (b. 1952) graduated in 1973 from Medway College of Art (now part of the University of the Creative Arts). Care’s work explores the intense relationship between the viewer and the work of art and raises questions about the subject. The real subject for Care is the internal narrative between the artist and his practice.
In Care’s ‘Reflection and Refraction’ paintings, a love of nature informs his work, but he resists literal representation. Care’s work controls paint to carefully reveal and expose forms until he is satisfied with the aesthetic result. For Care, the subject reveals itself during the process of painting which then becomes the basis for a whole body of work. The subject, in this sense, is hidden until it is revealed to the maker.
The contemporary art exhibitions presented in the Blenheim Palace Gardens Gallery Café will be curated by Hannah Payne, Senior Director, and Lizzie Collins, Founder/Director of Zuleika Gallery, and will form an an integral part of Zuleika Gallery’s exhibition programme. The works presented will be for sale through Zuleika Gallery, who are also members of the Own Art Scheme, a government-funded payment scheme that makes buying art accessible through interest-free instalments.
Hannah Payne, Senior Director, Zuleika Gallery, comments: “It’s wonderful to celebrate and support artistic talent living and working in the county, and also to promote wellbeing through the enjoyment of art and creativity.
“As we emerge out of lockdown, this inaugural exhibition reminds us of the value of connecting to nature and its ability to lift the spirits when we need it most. With our gallery located close by in Woodstock and our connections to the Oxfordshire arts community, we’re delighted to curate
exhibitions in the beautiful new Gardens Gallery Café at Blenheim Palace”.
Zuleika Gallery is also presenting Brave New World – a solo exhibition by Stuart Hartley in its Woodstock Gallery from 19 May to 15 June.