More than Morocco
From Morocco to Co. Kerry, Piemonte and Provence then home to Hartland
Wednesday 2nd October to Saturday 19th October 2002
Foreword by Art Malik
I have visited Ouarzarzate many times, making films, but it was whilst travelling by road to Marrakech across the Atlas Mountains that Gina, my wife, and I discussed how wonderful it would be for Alan to interpret onto canvas the enigmatic arid landscape. There was little vegetation, and as we turned bend after bend we were occasionally surprised by villages, almost invisible as they blended into the hillside, built of the same rock and substance as the mountains themselves.
Having just come from London at that time where we had seen Alan's exhibition of Venice, this spectacular vista made me think of the first show of his I had seen at David Messum's house years before, in which the ochre quarries of Provence had featured. As we were driven round the hairpin bends in the High Atlas, I remarked to Gina who was lying down throwing up in the back of the car, "Alan and Pat must come to Morocco. He has to paint this."
These paintings transport me back there, to the land of the French speaking Berbers, to the times I escaped from the relentless work, up into the hills whiling away my breaks, taking in this spectacular landscape. Pure magic!
I spoke to Richard, Alan's son, who felt that Alan had surpassed himself with these paintings and when I saw the new work in his studio in Devon, I agreed. They are full of Alan's characteristic vibrancy of colour and drama using light and form, which instantly transported me back to the unforgettable atmosphere and impression of that ruggedly beautiful country.
I believe this collection undoubtedly confirms Alan as one of Britain's greatest living landscape artists. As a friend I am so glad that he went painting in Morocco and honoured that he should ask me to write this foreword. I do hope that our friendship survives now that Gina and I have returned from Slovenia... the Triglav National Park... what amazing landscape that is...