“My paintings are very much a celebration of how beautiful the natural world is,” artist Fletcher Prentice explains. “I’m especially inspired by periods of intensity in the garden, when everything is in bloom.”
Head down to the Sarah Wiseman Gallery in Summertown and you’ll find Fletcher’s latest solo exhibition The Painted Garden demonstrating just that, his work following the year from spring to late summer, depicting seasonal flowers, and their changes in colour and texture throughout.
Best known for his effervescent, lavishly painted flower-scapes with their gloriously layered and tangled foliage, often dotted with garden birds or hovering insects. His loose, yet detailed painting style describes a constant, shifting movement.
“Fletcher’s paintings have a timeless appeal, with many people falling in love with them as soon as they see them,’ says Sarah Wiseman, the gallery’s director.
“He paints with dazzling technical accomplishment, but he retains a sensitivity and deftness of hand that gives his work that sense of movement.”
Which would explain why his paintings have been much in-demand at the gallery, with whom he’s been working for several years.
Fletcher is also influenced by frescoes found in ancient Rome: “Often Roman villas had subterranean rooms and painted garden scenes on the walls,” says Fletcher. “I am drawn to the idea of bringing the natural world into the interior space, or a painting acting as a window to the landscape and garden.”
Installed alongside Fletcher’s paintings are some delightful ceramics by Emma Jagare, who is based near Banbury, and used to work at Sarah Wiseman gallery before leaving to establish her own studio.
Having grown up in Sweden, Emma’s inherent Scandinavian design aesthetic is also evident in her ceramics.
Inspired by her love of grand country houses and historical ceramic traditions, Emma is currently exploring the tradition of the decorative vase for grand floral display.
“You can never compete with nature but I wanted to make a vase that is as beautiful with or without a flower. Something you leave out when the flowers have gone over,” she explains
Emma’s recent porcelain pieces are decorated with delicate petals and flowerheads clustered around pared back, clean-lined vessels. The look is organic yet uncluttered, celebrating the strange beauty of plants.
The Painted Garden by Fletcher Prentice is at Sarah Wiseman Gallery until October 3