Fletcher Gate Art Gallery presents Darren Stevenson
Fletcher Gate Art Gallery has been providing Nottingham and the world beyond with original fine art works for the past nine years.
The next exhibition to grace the gallery is from Southwell artist Darren Stevenson, a painter and sculptor who has been creating professional works for the past fifteen years.
Darren has been a creative since his early days, but only began to explore a variety of mediums in more recent years. Urged to go to art college by his teachers, Darren instead served an apprenticeship in technical drawing and engineering, only to liberate himself of the trade’s precision after turning to painting during a fine art masters degree from Nottingham Trent University.
Learning instead from observation and good old-fashioned determination, Darren’s technique is similar to the ‘old masters’ of art, using layering and sanding to create a highly textured effect that is rich in colour.
‘Everywhere I’ve been abroad I’ve always gone to see exhibitions, museums, galleries.’ Darren tells us. ‘If I go to a gallery and see a Turner piece, I can stand for an hour working out how he’s actually painted – where he’s started, why is that colour there and so on. And I try to bring that back to the studio.’
But with some works, particularly portraiture, a more random approach is used. ‘I’ll tend to pick a random magazine, tear out the faces, then put another half onto that face and come up with something completely different.’
To find his landscapes Darren travels from coast to coast, painting oil sketches in situ (come rain or shine!) to capture the light and colour, then visualising the final, much larger result. He’ll then develop a series of paintings from those sketches back in his Southwell studio, sometimes working on three or four paintings at once.
At this time of year Darren also finds inspiration in the autumnal colours throughout the Nottinghamshire countryside around Southwell, and along the banks of the River Trent, where the light and reflections on the water can shape his style. He’s also a fan of visiting local galleries such as Lakeside Gallery and Nottingham Contemporary, which is just a stone’s throw away from Fletcher Gate Gallery.
‘I went to Nottingham Contemporary last week and there’s a fantastic photography exhibition showing there. Even if you don’t like that type of thing, you must go!’
The Winter Exhibition at Fletcher Gate Art Gallery is mainly focused on Darren’s atmospheric coastal scenes, which are a whirlwind of rich colour and texture, varying from tranquil waters to turbulent and stormy vistas. But the opening night will also feature some of his bronze cast sculptures, sketches illustrating how the works are developed, and Darren himself will be on site to talk about his work and technique.
Breaking down this divide between artist and audience is something both Darren and Fletcher Gate Art Gallery believe to be important. ‘People want to know how it’s been painted and why it’s been painted’ says Darren. ‘You’ve got to see the work face to face. If you look at a painting closely, you can see the texture, the shades, and how I’ve painted that piece.’
Fletcher Gate Art Gallery works with local artists and buys individual pieces from around the world, but each exhibition contains unique, original pieces. ‘It’s good to find a gallery outside of London that is so involved in art, buying from top auction houses and selling the work on, and exhibiting both older art and contemporary work.’
Curator Claire explains the beauty of beginning a collection of original art works: ‘It’s all about the rarity of an individual piece. Bringing it back to where art was once upon a time; inscriptions on the back, the painting living a life, and being passed on throughout families. When you have art at home, you realise it really has a presence.’
All of the work at Fletcher Gate Art Gallery is for sale, can be shipped internationally, and some pieces can be bought by the Own Art scheme, which allows customers to buy in instalments. ‘As a gallery, we buy and sell globally and it’s nice to have that wide viewpoint on art, that we’re not just for local audiences. We want to pass that on to customers, to generate that love of art – that’s what it’s really about, that’s the reason we’re here.’
Opening with a special launch event on November 24th at 6pm, Darren Stevenson’s works will be available at Fletcher Gate Gallery in an ongoing exhibition. Join Darren, Claire and fellow art lovers to enjoy refreshments and wine and celebrate the opening of this fantastic show. For more information, please click here.