Summer 2020

It is now more than three years since I moved back to Barry Island. The move from Newcastle and Teesside, after thirty years of working there, could perhaps have been foolish. However it wasn't.

November 2019: Legacy Show, Teesside
I am a figurative artist, and years ago in Israel, the symbolism in various images touched me, specifically the inclusion of a vessel, like a chalice called the Heimweh. The presence of this symbolised a longing for home. It acknowledged pining, yearning, a sort of nostalgia and a form of home sickness.

Whether this is the longing for the past, the familiar, the hearts ease of home, or a promised future, I still don't know. But I recognise it and it is something of this unspoken desire that I seek to sometimes imbue a painting with. While it is evanescent, it matters.

When I first moved from Wales, it was temporary, but when all ties were cut, I could haunt the home I left, walk into its pantry and smell the slate shelves. I was in fact profoundly home sick for thirty years,

If all Paradises are Paradises lost, much as I loved the North, would I miss it so when I returned to Wales? I hope not.

Barry studio
My studio once more looks over the sea and the house is simple, and large enough to provide studios for drawing and painting. All one needs is inspiration.

Inspiration comes from many sources, sometimes a line of poetry, sometimes a situation, other times a seen event or something that one has been told or remembered. Some such will resonate with me and there is a rightness and excitement about exploring them further.

My work revolves around drawing, pencil on paper and painting with oil on canvas. It is drawn to a reality that engages with metaphor and imagination. Take for an example a bridge – it might be the passage from one side of a river or road. But it is also the metaphor for moving from one conscious state to another.

I liked the seasoned in listening to confessions of the French Monseigneur in Andre Malraux's "Museum without walls", who indicated that there was no such person as a "grown-up". Like Watteau, I like the people I paint to be ageless and optimistic, somehow untouched by paper rounds and still gleeful. I love also the content of intrigues and occasions in Pietro Longhi's work.

StudioThe paintings combine vision, dream and reality and they reference other worlds, other states and inner thoughts. So they reflect both an exterior world of what is there, and an interior one regarding how the world is perceived.

It has been suggested that this might be termed 'unreal realism', a selection of ways of picturing the world from the point of view of the fabulous, the mythical, the near-surreal or the fantastic.

I am always mindful that a painting is read as much by how it is painted as what it depicts. A practice perhaps more readily understood in abstract work but also remobilised in figurative painting.

I hope you will enjoy looking at my work and will email me so that I can send you updates on my work, progress and exhibitions. You can also follow me on instagram I am always delighted to have comments.

Gerda Roper

June 2020

All images and content © Gerda Roper 2020