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Artist of the week
Wendy Somerset-Jones

Wendy Somerset Jones is originally from Cheshire but has been based in Stirling since 2004. She attended what is now the University of Northumbria and completed a degree in Fine Art. For the past thirteen years now Wendy has been teaching Art as well as practising and has been awarded two National Awards.

The paintings that Wendy produces are always the result of an initial drawing stage. This is fundamental to her work and is the basis upon which all her images are formed. 'My drawings evolve from being concerned with the tangible to the intangible, exploring an interest in the transient nature of human existence.' From this stage, Wendy uses the drawings as a reference point from which to build layer upon layer of paint to create a textured surface in oils and acrylics.

The most recent set of paintings that Wendy has displayed on the site are close-up studies of different parts of a baby's body - the hands, the feet, the torso and the lower half of the face. This healthy, chubby infant is Wendy's own baby. As a new mother, she became fascinated - as many mothers do - with her child's tiny hands and feet. Working on six canvases at once, she set herself the challenge of representing something minature on a large scale. 'Drawing lines on the canvas reminded me to keep large and having done this I found myself working in the same way as when painting abstract paintings - balancing shapes and forms to energise the space around as well as within the canvas.'

This group of more abstract paintings - with titles like 'Bounce' and 'Joie de Vivre' - places more control in the hands of the viewer. They are deeply suggestive images that could evoke any number of interpretations. The gentle curves and fleshy tones might signify a human form; there is a sensuality about these images that hints at degree of intimacy between artist and subject. It is impossible to look at Wendy's work and not wonder what she was thinking about when she created it.

But it is this aspect that is most enchanting. The artist hands over the responsibility of evaluation to us, she doesn't insist on any particular reading. The titles themselves are nebulous enough to hint at a possible meaning without defining one in black and white terms. 'Joie de Vivre' for instance, could be a close-up depiction of a woman's reclining figure; but you could also see it as a landscape study of rolling hills and rushing water.

But even this level of scrutiny is perhaps too specific. Whatever you imagine when looking at Wendy's work, whatever images are conjured up by them, the most important aspect is the evocation of a certain mood. The warmth of colour and fluidity of line that make up her paintings should excite a feeling rather than a particular rigid vision.

Even more abstract are the paintings from her 'Untitled' series. These are perhaps the ones that demand the most personal response from the viewer. What is so wonderful about this series, and indeed Wendy's body of work as a whole, is its malleability. Every time you encounter one of this artist's images you will be struck by its freshness; you will probably notice something you have never seen before; or it might take on a new form before your eyes. As a result of this, Wendy's work is always inspiring and always rewarding.

To see more examples of Wendy's work please click here
 

Hand
Hand
£ 2080

Torso
Torso
£ 2130