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Art not restricted to canvas

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: November 15, 2012

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EVERY artist has their own unique way of working to get their creativity flowing, and what works best for Totnes-based artist Louise Dear is having up to 16 pieces on the go at the same time.

In her studio, the acclaimed contemporary artist can often be found flitting between her powerful, bold paintings, adding more and more layers as she goes.

A new collection of up to 30 works, a mix of originals and limited editions, is to go on show at Exeter's Castle Galleries in Cathedral Yard from Saturday, November 17, to Friday, November 30. It highlights Louise's diverse interests from artists in the 1920s to her travels around the world.

Just as erratic is the way Louise flits from one piece to the next is the various paints she uses, from good old emulsion and household paints to small specialist pigments.

Categorised as a contemporary artist, Louise's unusual creative process transpires in the eclectic mix found in her portfolio.

One minute you can be admiring a series of art for luxury car manufacturer Alfa Romeo, and the next a hat design for renowned milliner Hayley Marsden for Royal Ascot.

All eyes though are now on Louise's latest body of work, a collection of limited edition and original figurative art, filled with colour and detail that sparkles with confidence.

The exhibition at Castle Galleries features an interesting mix of works from one entitled Yum Yum, about every woman's inner desires, to Coo-ee and Lovely, based on 1940s pinups. Revealing a glimpse into Louise's life is Crush I & II, titles given to portraits of her daughter Lama.

Sticking with the family theme is Tinkle, an infamous family portrait based on Louise's nephew when he was a toddler and wee'd in Grandma's best prize peonies, which Louise managed to capture on camera.

What inspires Louise's current work the most though is 16th to 18th century art, which stems from when she studied art history, as well as her travels around the world.

Revealing a greater insight into her art, Louise said: "My earliest memories are of an incredibly happy family life with time spent in such exotic locations as South Africa and the Far East. When I was six, we returned to England and set up home in a small country village back in the beautiful Hampshire countryside.

"My grandparents had owned a coach company and my grandfather's skills as a sign writer were emblazoned along the sides of the buses. My mother inherited this artistic flare and her paintings of birds, flowers and butterflies adorned the walls, furniture and fabric of our home.

"Art was actively encouraged, and many an evening meal was eaten among the artistic debris which festooned the kitchen table from papier-mâché dragons, to disco outfits created out of curtain linings or plastic bags."

Initially hoping for a career within the rag trade, Louise first decided to get the travelling bug out of her system. It took nine years and it was the birth of her daughter in 1993 that brought it to and end.

Settled back in England, Louise returned to full-time education and has been working as a professional artist since 1998. During the last decade, she has exhibited extensively from London to New York, and Sydney to Los Angeles, and has shown at the Royal Academy and sparked the interest of several major museums.

Describing her style, Louise said: "I am a painter with a simple ambition; to create beautiful paintings. I make large, contemporary, figurative works. I am passionate about colour, shocking, vibrant and intense, continually exploring the power it has to invade our senses and influence our emotions.

"I work on large sheets of prefabricated aluminium, priming the surface then throwing, rubbing, pouring and dripping inks and dyes, glitter and glosses, to form a background.

"This is then sanded, scratched and distressed, depending on what image will be overlaid. I continually experiment with a multitude of materials, seduced by their substances, fascinated with their movement, individual textures and how they respond to one another.

"As the painting evolves, I become intrigued with the marks, how the line within a magnified face or body, organically flows. It is as though the image has, at this stage, become a vehicle for the marks. Selecting elements from a photograph and magnifying them to such an extent, creates a new dynamic.

"The finished pieces are stylised and ordered, the line defining the independent sections of colour and texture."

Art lovers can gain a greater insight into Louise's work when she visits the Castle Galleries exhibition in person on Saturday, November 24, from noon to 4pm.

Looking forward to creating many future exhibitions, she said: "My fabulous adventures continue to inspire my work creating paintings which are vibrant, passionate and full of romance."

Castle Galleries is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm, Saturday 9am to 6pm, and Sunday 10.30am to 4.30pm.

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