SPIRIT OF PLACE
In October Malcolm Croft is set to make a triumphant return to the Art Decor Gallery in Whalley
Artist Malcolm Croft is set to showcase 42 new works of art, which feature paintings that capture the stunning landscape surrounding his home in the Minervois region, one of France’s biggest wine producing areas.
Ironically it is the Languedoc vineyards in Limoux, near where Malcolm lives, where the gallery chooses to source the sparkling wine they serve at their preview events, as Chris who runs the gallery with his wife Julie comments: “The wine is a bit like Malcolm’s work really, it receives plenty of favourable comment and seems to go down so well. It is apt that we are serving wine from this region for Malcolm’s exhibition in particular, as this exhibition is all about capturing the spirit of the place where he lives. Julie and I have been eagerly awaiting their arrival. We are delighted with them all and anticipate another successful show.”
Surrounded by vineyards, the changing seasons and light, provides Croft with an abundance of beautiful backdrops, as he explains: “It’s very beautiful here and the scene is constantly changing – it always feels different. When the seasons change so does the light, for example in autumn the light is much warmer. It is something one can only comprehend if one lives here all year round rather than dipping in and out every now and again. It is about getting under the skin of a place rather than seeing it superficially.
“Those painters who paint the scenes of people sitting outside cafes in the dappled shade of the plane trees don’t really understand what it is like to live here all the time, they are just seeing the surface of things. I live a few yards from a cafe where people are sitting right now in the dappled shade but I could never paint that because it wouldn’t really be true, just a snapshot of a summer holiday.”
Describing his style as post-impressionism combined with an observation of stained glass windows, his work is bold, bright and instantly recognisable. While he describes his style as slightly looser in his more recent works, Croft has also introduced a series of small 10” x 8” wood panel paintings to the ‘Spirit of Place’ exhibition. Some of the panels represent preparatory work for the larger paintings, nevertheless, they most certainly stand in their own right.
“Because the panels are painted on wood they are slightly different in style as the surface offers more resistance,” says Croft. “The black outlines I use on my larger work are dark blue on the small panels, so it is a slight move away from the stained glass effect.”
Looking forward to his October exhibition at Art Decor Gallery, he concludes: “I work from an attic room in the house, which is slightly chaotic, which is how I like it. But to see the paintings displayed in the gallery, which is beautifully lit, is altogether different. They always do a great job there.”
Art Decor Gallery
6 The Arches, Whalley BB7 9SG