John Hitchens’ major exhibition Aspects of Landscape opened at Southampton City Art Gallery on March 14 only to close three days later. A show that celebrates more than six decades of John’s life and work and which has taken over a year to curate now sadly lies dark and empty.
While the show lies ‘sleeping’ we have created a sense of its scope and content on this site. Photographs by Anne Purkiss of the spacious galleries give an indication of the stature and grandeur of John’s monumental landscapes and the lyrical rhythms of his early landscapes.
As a frequent visitor to John’s studio, it was a revelation to see his paintings hung in this way. To be able to stand back and see the connections that run through his work from the early cloudscapes over the Downs, to the later pieces like Wind Considering, 2017. Landscape, wind and weather have been his constant preoccupation moving from the universal to the minute from the near to the far. Rhythm, pattern, sequences – a sense of the interconnectedness of all things unites these works.
I have no doubt that this show should re-establish John’s reputation as one of the most innovative and creative Landscape artists of his time. Nothing seems certain at the moment but Let us hope Southampton City Art Gallery will reopen before the show’s closing date of June 27.
With time to spare in the lockdown, I heartily recommend the 300 page fully illustrated book John Hitchens: Aspects of Landscape, just published by Sansom & co
The paintings from the exhibition are available for sale and if you would like more details or to order a copy of the book please do contact the Moncrieff-Bray gallery.