Have Easel Will Travel
Devon Life - September 1997
From Devon to Ireland via Provence, Tuscany, Cyprus and Venice
When Alan Cotton first began painting in Devon in the early 70's he was captivated by the drama of Hartland in the north and the tranquil beauty of the Otter Valley near his home in Colaton Raleigh. His Hartland canvases captured the power and grandeur of the jagged rock faces and pounding waves. Examples of these can be seen in the Public Collections at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, Plymouth City Art Gallery and in the Queen's Building at the University of Exeter, where a series of large Hartland paintings were commissioned to celebrate the University's Silver Jubilee. For over a decade Alan's palette was vibrant with the greens and golds of the Otter Valley as his canvases depicted it throughout the seasons - in early morning and late evening light - in brilliant sunlight or with stormy skies, at harvest time or under deep snow.
Since then Alan has moved on. Not only have locations changed but from the early 1980's he has been with the David Messum Gallery in Cork Street, the hub of London's West End art scene and has exhibited world wide. The value of Alan's paintings has greatly increased and he has become one of the most sought after painters in the South-West. In the 80's he worked extensively in Provence and was excited by the hill towns of The Luberon from which have flowed a wealth of glowing paintings. His palette became warmer - with the reds, ochres and hotter tones of the Mediterranean. Alan moved on to Tuscany, Cyprus and then to Venice where he took a studio and became fascinated, not only by the buildings, but by the reflections of the facades in the labyrinth of small canals. The Fish Market too was a source of inspiration for his work.
This year Alan has renewed a long standing love affair with the West Coast of Ireland and has travelled from Donegal to Connemara and to the Dingle Peninsula. The finished canvases adorn his studio, dramatic cloud formations and bursts of sunlight illuminating the fields, cattle and cottages. This is Alan's first major series of Irish paintings shown in London and RTE, Ireland's national television network came to Devon to film the paintings and also filmed at the private view in London. The film will be shown nation - wide in Eire during the exhibition.
Alan's biography by Emma Burn, called "On a Knife Edge" will be launched in the Autumn of 1998. This year's exhibition opens at the David Messum Gallery, 8 Cork Street, London on the 10th September and runs until the 28th.
For further information contact the Gallery on 0171 437 5545.