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Blog and News

Q&A with award-winning artist Gordon Rushmer

12th August 2019

Can you tell us a bit more about the exhibition at Parham House? What inspired this exhibition?

As someone who was brought up in the Weald on the Sussex Hampshire border and has lived here all my life, the landscape of this beautiful south country is part of what makes me who I am. I worked as a war artist alongside the Royal Marines and Special Forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Eritrea from 1995 to 2007 and that experience not only changed me as a painter but also heightened my appreciation of my homeland. At some point during that period I resolved to look more closely at what gives our landscape its unique character. The ancient churches, my ‘Accents on the Landscape’ were an obvious starting point.

How did you decide on your cycle route/journey across West Sussex?

Cycling is second nature to me. I’ve always ridden, firstly as sport, now for health, so travelling the lanes was a simple and relaxing way to go about it. Also, I knew from the outset that I didn’t want to paint church ‘portraits’ but to look at the way the old buildings seem to grow from and be part of the land. Cycling gave me a closer connection to the location, and made me consider questions such as the way the available building materials had such an influence, the situation and the decoration of these old buildings, and the mystery of why some churches are seemingly so isolated. The more I explored, the more questions I had.

How many miles did you cover?

I live north of Petworth and explored specific destinations, all within around 35 miles, so I did round trips of maybe 70 miles at most.

Is the exhibition accessible to those who aren’t experts in art?

Experts? Who are they?! I trained at art school, qualified and moved on to a career in the art business and, like most of my painter friends, just get on with the job. What I do requires little explanation, so is accessible to anyone who cares to take the time – and I might just add that it’s always easier to talk about a painting than to actually produce one! I don’t think anyone needs to worry about feeling intimidated; my work is based on observation, drawing and a continuing exploration of watercolour techniques. I don’t paint to please a market, although my work does seem to resonate with people who love the countryside, and I’m delighted to share my work and my love of the area through the exhibition at Parham.

Do you have a favourite piece that you’re exhibiting at Parham?

Favourite pieces are few and far between. Each painting is a new challenge and each challenge leads to new discoveries. I know those where I’ve enjoyed the struggle! In this exhibition perhaps there are two, the ‘Interior of Wiggonholt Church’ and ‘Apples & Quinces, Buncton’.

Do you think that the space at Parham adds to the overall exhibition?

The exhibition space at Parham is ideal for my work in terms of setting the mood for the exhibition and considering ancient subjects in a historic location.

What are your plans for the future regarding your work?

My future plans involve a one-man exhibition with Rountree Tryon Galleries in late 2020, followed by a retrospective show and accompanying book a year or two after that.

The exhibition takes place from 1st – 15th September. Find out more information here.