6 January – 4 February 2018 

Messums Wiltshire is pleased to announce its inaugural exhibition of 2018, Fresh Paint. Displayed in the Long Gallery, Fresh Paint will showcase a mixture of established and emerging artists, from Royal Academicians to those just out of degree shows based around the country. Artists will include Orlanda Broom, Tom Hammick and Stephen Chambers RA as well as a slew of exciting new painters including Kathryn Maple.

The thematic strand through this diverse range of paintings, which weaves them all together is colour. Apart from being critically lacking in the winter scenery, many cultures mark their New Year celebrations by using bright, cheering colours in the form of fireworks or costumes. The use of optimistic hues symbolise — like our exhibition — the hope and the promise of the year’s opening months.

In China, for example, it is customary to mark the New Year by giving gifts or exchanging money, wrapped in red envelopes; a colour prevalent throughout the streets, in the form of bright paper lanterns. In Brazil, people wear various shades of coloured underwear to bring prosperity and good luck, sometimes inside out to encourage extra fortune and Italy it is specifically red underwear which is said to bring love and romance.  

Fresh Paint nods to these celebratory traditions by noting the important colours of other cultures and focusing on vibrancy, dynamism and saturation in order to banish those cold and grey winter days.

Stephen Chambers’ bold paintings hover between the abstract and figurative, minimal and decorative. His colourful images of figures and landscapes are held in a kind of ‘suspended animation’. Stephen wants us to experience the ‘feeling’ of his painting, his own personal experiences, his fears, his memories of childishness tinged with a darker adult knowing. His paintings are a feast for the imagination but are also exquisitely crafted. Relying on flat planes of intense, seductive colour and pattern, their sheer beauty pulls us into his strange and complex world. 

Orlanda Broom’s practice takes two distinct forms: lush, exotic landscapes and abstract pieces. Connecting these bodies of work is a strong sense of colour, references to organic forms and the exploration of the mediums she works with. The abstract paintings are created through a process that involves no intervention with tools or brushes, just the flow and manipulation of the medium on the canvas. Her landscapes represent fantastical, re-imagined places, which in some sense are a rose-tinted view of the natural world. The surface joyousness is tempered by an uneasy sense of abandonment, a place untouched and timeless but a paradise that would ultimately ensnare.

Tom Hammick ‘Three Beds’ (Photo credit: Antonio Parente)

Artists include: