12:26pm Wednesday 15th August 2012
By Anne James
The majority of artist Jane Hope’s work is inspired by and executed in the winter, when the combination of the light and the play of shadows intrigues and engages her.
Throughout her work Hope creates gentle, yet gigantic and magnificent pieces out of everyday subject matter, enabling the mundane to attain romantic and delicate proportions by marrying each with both the available light and the time of day and year. She attributes her ability to do this to painting when her mind is clear and she is released from the pressures of everyday life — something that happens most often in the winter time.
Her prime focus is East Oxford and its environs, where she lives, gardens, swims, cycles and walks. But she is equally at home farther afield where she will sketch and absorb her surroundings and later create a piece in oil or pastel that captures the light, time and space that spoke to her. One such piece is Last Leaves, Staplehurst, where on a visit to Kent she was captivated by the winter colours of vibrant orange leaves on an otherwise bare branched tree.
Similarly Bibury Orchard 2, pictured here, is one of a series of three pieces each inspired by the same winter orchard, branches hopefully stretched out awaiting spring greenery whilst the countryside undulates away behind them.
From My Doorstep: Argyle Street into Chester Street provides an intimate and beautiful portrait of Hope’s own street, in winter light conditions that make it impossible to see the whole street at any one time. By contrast, Barracks Lane, captures the allotments and their background of domestic architecture in its entirety.
The representational approach she has taken in these paintings contrasts dramatically with her piece about her own allotment site, Elder Stubbs, where she uses pastels to present a much more abstract portrait with blocks of light and darker colours creating a patchwork of interconnecting colours and organic forms.
Hope is self taught and has been painting since childhood. She is a member of Oxford Art Society and West Oxford Arts. Her work is eminently collectable and indeed has been widely collected by those who love both her approach and the places that she portrays.
The unique circular shape of the 03 Gallery makes an excellent setting for the work providing as it does an opportunity to see the work both as a whole body and to focus on individual pieces.
The exhibition at 03, Oxford Castle , is open Tuesday to Sunday until September 2.
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