Cynthia Barlow Marrs – 26th June to 20th July 2012

New Gallery Space – Open weekdays 9am to 4pm
Cynthia Barlow Marrs SGFA: The Portable Forest
26th June to 20th July 2012
Open eve 27th June 7-9pm

Part moonlit meadow, part sunlit wood, this exhibition transforms the New Gallery into a forest clearing. Stylized leaves, trees and blades of grass on canvas line the walls; a mural in many parts designed to be divided up and dispersed. “This is one forest you can take home with you,” Cynthia says, “one or more bits at a time”. With a background in environmental planning, Cynthia draws on her experience with landscapes around the world to convey sense impressions of space and light, using layers of coloured glazes for depth and atmosphere. Also on show are small graphite drawings from Cynthia’s Lunar Series.

Cynthia can’t help seeing an exhibition space as a whole and imagining how she could transform it. That’s what happened with The Portable Forest. “It occurred to me that the New Gallery, with its enclosed space and roof light, was not unlike a clearing in a wood,” she says. The idea of The Portable Forest was born, and Cynthia is creating all new work in response. All of the art is for sale.

Cynthia’s first exhibition of this kind was in 2007, at the River & Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames, when she created “Undercurrents – Ten Views through a River of Words”; a five metre-long section through an imaginary river. Undercurrents is made up of ten canvases 120 cm high that are designed to be hung close together or spaced apart. “I like to create multi-part works of art that are linked but can be combined in different ways,” she says. “In my large paintings I try to draw the viewer right into the artwork.” She is building on what she learned from Undercurrents to create her new artworks for The Portable Forest.

As a former environmental planner, Cynthia is fascinated by scale. “I love maps, magnifiers, measuring devices and finding my way,” she says. “I think that influences how I see a space like the New Gallery. To me it’s not just four walls on which to hang paintings, but an opportunity to scale down part of the out of doors and bring it inside.”