Thorncombe Beacon copy

Elemental Drift

An exhi­bi­tion of work by Grace Crab­tree, fea­tur­ing her inves­ti­ga­tions into the tra­di­tion­al tech­niques of fres­co and Eng­lish medieval wall painting.

13/01/24 – 03/02/24
Opening Times
Sun–Mon, Closed
Tue–Sat, 10:00 – 16:00
Grace Crabtree is an artist working in buon fresco and egg tempera, finding in these traditional techniques a way to draw connections between the earthy, elemental materials of stone, sand, and pigments, and the terrains she explores, drawing in particular from the coastlines of Dorset and Cyprus. The paintings, depicting fragments of figures and landscapes, are often grounded in an experience of walking or swimming through a place, while also drawing from historic or mythic narratives woven through the landscape.

Over the past year, Grace has been immersed in fresco painting, a medieval and Renaissance technique used for creating wall paintings, usually in religious spaces, which has largely faded from use. In the buon fresco technique, the image becomes an integral part of the surface. Pigments, suspended in water, are painted onto a layer of wet lime plaster (fresco, fresh) and absorbed. As the plaster dries over hours and days a chemical reaction of carbonation takes place, binding the pigments under a layer of crystallised lime, and so the painting becomes stone. Since the fresh plaster will begin drying out over the course of a day, this medium necessitates a careful preparation process followed by a short, concentrated spell of working.

As a recipient of an Arts Council England DYCP studio and research grant for her project, ‘The Art of Fresco’ (2022-23), Grace attended a specialist fresco course at Bosa Art School in Sardinia, and since then has been continuing her work to fold this ancient medium into a contemporary painting practice.

Drawing from a year of investigations into the alchemical art of fresco, as well as research into the forgotten world of English medieval wall paintings, Grace will be exhibiting her experiments with this medium, and other works also inspired by the landscapes of West Dorset and further afield.

Saturday 13th January until Saturday 3rd February.
Preview: Friday 12th January, 6-8pm, Allsop Gallery.
Allsop Gallery open 10-4pm, Tuesday to Saturday.