This month Arts writer Alison Summerfield meets Tim Woolgar of the Hybrid Gallery in Honiton whose favourite work of art is a painting by Rachel Ross called “Utensils with Quail’s Egg’.
Tim Woolgar and his wife Jacqueline Hollister have run Hybrid Gallery in Honiton for nearly 14 years, having started the gallery in east London’s Columbia Road Flower Market in the 1990s where they also ran an illustration agency. Many of their artists have come via that commercial art route into fine art.
Rachel Ross is one such artist and Tim explains that this painting is his favourite in the gallery at the moment, and jokes; ‘of course like your children they are all your favourite, but some just sparkle at times more than others!”
Tim explains that the reason he finds this painting so mesmerising is that it is painted from life with no photography involved, no trickery or mechanical means, “just good old fashioned observation and draughtsmanship,” he says.
During Rachel’s recent exhibition at the gallery Tim overheard many conversations by customers thinking the utensils were actual objects behind glass due simply to the sheer quality of the painting.
Rachel has intimately captured in paint those vintage utensils that many readers may still have tucked in a kitchen draw at home. “It is an odd subject to use as a still life but also brilliant as it evokes narrative” says Tim, for example ‘I remember when’ or ‘my Nan had a copper spoon just like that one’.
“Rachel’s subject matter has so many associations for all of us” Tim continues, “we use cutlery every day, we nourish ourselves using utensils, and we probably polish it at Christmas. These simple objects have so much resonance for me and I imagine many collectors of Rachel’s work too.
Tim doesn't actually own this particular painting but does have a couple hanging in prime areas in his home where he can further enjoy Rachel’s meticulous technique which doesn't hide the fact that it is still a painting and, if you look very closely you’ll see a little inverted self portrait of Rachel working away in her Edinburgh studio recording not only every mark and blemish on the spoon but also the weather as it passes overhead in her conservatory studio.
Stand in front of one of Rachel’s paintings and you will find yourself utterly captivated by their serenity and mastery - and perhaps for a moment you are transported back to memories of your Grandma’s cutlery drawer.
Tim with painting 'Utensils with Quail's Egg' 420 x 400mm, £2,200 (acrylic on birch panel)
51 High street
Tel: 01404 43201
Open; 10am - 5pm Tues - Sat (Please check the web site www.hybrid-devon.co.uk as sometimes Hybrid is closed during Art Fairs).
Email: email@example.com Instagram: @hybrid_gallery