Entrance Hall Window with Columns (detail) by Matthew Wood
The inside-out view is what Matthew Wood will be bringing to Weston Park's Granary Art Gallery visitors in November, taking the House as the architectural set piece of a landscape and looking out from it. If you’ve ever visited the House you will appreciate how special the views are from each of its windows – all contrived by the way in which the landscape has been managed by Capability Brown and those who have followed him.
Matthew focuses on the interiors of grand country houses, including Weston Park, depicting the richness of the rooms or, at times, seeing the landscape through the windows. His exhibition will consider the importance not only of the artistic value of the interiors but of the human habitations which are centre-points of the country house landscape park. He explains his approach to us.
"When first invited to produce a body of work in response to Capability Brown and Weston Park, I initially thought of basing myself in the grounds and gardens but it was observing the gardens from the interior of the house that I found most inspiring. This group of paintings is a collection of work that can either be seen collectively as one homogenous piece or as individual separate entities, the connecting thread being the view of the outside from the inside. Although recognised as a Romantic motif, the view through a window or door is associated as a symbol of standing on a threshold; in this context, what I hope transposes to the viewer is the relationship between the classical formal architecture of the house and the occasional Arcadian glimpse of a distant landscape or garden – something that Brown might have considered when designing his gardens.
Having free reign to explore the theme of Capability Brown, I have included views in areas not accessible to the public such as the House Keeper’s office and the Cold Storage room. Although more utilitarian in subject, they still convey a sense of place synonymous with Weston Park and one that links - with their reference to the outside - to the remainder of the works. In addition to these, I also visited Llanymynech Lime Kilns which were also owned by the Bridgeman family of Weston Park. When visiting these kilns, there is an awareness of how the house, grounds and gardens were funded by these kinds of dangerous industries in the 18th and 19th centuries. Although similar in compositional approach, there is certainly a need to recognise or reference the industrial heritage and the origins of the funds required to produce and maintain Weston Park.
I would like to thank the staff at Weston Park for their ongoing support and patience whilst completing this project, and the Artists Benevolent Fund for their generous support with their Career Development Grant."
Matthew Wood was born in Morecambe in 1973. He trained at Middlesex University and The University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He is currently based in Wales. He was shortlisted for the John Moores painting prize in 2008 and has exhibited throughout Wales and the UK. All of Matthew's works on display were completed in one sitting on location and produced over 9 months. The exhibtion runs until 29th November 2016 at the free entry Granary Art Gallery at Weston Park.
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