Out from the Downs – Reflections on Art and the Sussex Landscape

“When choosing the projects that you do as an artist, it’s really important to be able to have a sense of freedom to create what you want within the project. Having the right people surrounding you to bounce ideas off also plays its part” – A reflective essay by Sam Peacock

Showing at Elisabeth Bauer is as much about an expression of the area as it is working together. The freedom you can get from having a joint solo if harnessed and curated correctly can be a highlight within a career. Being able to work as a trio on a project and build a body of work which sings the same song and plays off against each other’s strengths is a unique experience..

“I’d had to move out of London, I was using fire as a tool to create the work and living in a built up area was never going to satisfy my demands

Sam Peacock and Hannah Ivory Baker at the Elisabeth Bauer Gallery in Hastings

Landscape Studies on the South Downs

Moving to the Hastings area 3 years ago seemed a good way to open up the studio a little and take on bigger commissions, it also gave me a chance to explore the environment which I had been using as a template to base my landscape studies on. Having the beach and coastal paths on my doorstep as well as everything from Neolithic settlements to Saxon and Norman and later Georgian remains to explore. The south downs has always been an influence, I have friends who I explore it with, who understand its mystery within the undulations and barrows. The fields of corn and chalk paths, its ability to remain the same and stand the test of time whilst changing colour within the elements and seasons as they progress.

“Hannah’s work has a similar mark making appeal to the work I produce and I wanted to continue developing work which we could potentially show together”

Hannah Ivory Baker installing some of her work next to a piece from Sam at the exhibition

History of the Earth

I wanted to explore how the marks which appear on my work were as a direct result of metal detecting I had done in and around the Sussex peninsular, the way the earth had been scraped and revealed several layers of history either as object or as sedimentary rock and stone. The way the colours change the deeper you go dependent on the area which you are detecting in. I find Hannahs work quite coastal and wanted to play this off against rolling red landscapes and earthy browns and beach blues.

“The area around Pett Levels has always fascinated me, the way the rocks show layers of history and how they have been torn away by coastal erosion over the years mimics the way I want my art to work”

Landscapes on steel from Sam Peacock are inspired by the South Downs

In the Footsteps of Turner

Pett Levels is just one of the beach areas along the Cinque Ports area in which I’d imagine artists have flocked to for inspiration over the years. JMW Turner enjoyed areas such as Margate and Dunwich in Suffolk amongst others. I think painters intrinsically are drawn to areas for a number of reasons and let the area influence their work, I am trying to let this happen to me as much as I can as far as materials such as rocks and stone along with coastal currents and hidden pathways.

“I did not vote to leave the European Union, I am quite patriotic however and love exploring the kingdom and understanding its rich history”

Living on the Edge of the World

Sam often describes his work as being ‘born out of fire’ such is the process that his landscapes go through

I was born in the Midlands in the 70’s. As a child I would go on great journeys in a Mini Metro to exotic places such as Seaton, Yarmouth and a quirky little place called Sandy Balls. I would get chance to stand in the sea and stare across the coast seeing if I could see the continent. In Roman times, Britain was known as “The Edge of the World”. That phrase stuck with me for years. There is something quite romantic about Britain’s coastline. The Victorian influence which is still evident in abundance across the country. The faded colours of the 70’s when people flocked in droves to the coast in a time before cheap getaways to Europe gnawed at its beauty and profit margins. The millennium which bought about much regeneration to large towns and cities without much thought to the crust of the kingdom, and on the cusp of what may be a change of direction, watching families return to forgotten places, rediscovering their love for their own childhood areas.

Out From the Downs is a joint exhibition from Hannah Ivory Baker and Sam Peacock. It is showing at the Elisabeth Bauer Gallery, Old Town, Hastings, UK. Opens August 7th 2019 and runs until August 30th 2019. This was an essay by Sam Peacock for Inspiring City.

The view of the English Channel from Hastings Castle. The area is what provides much of Sam’s inspiration
The exhibition at the Elisabeth Bauer Gallery in Hastings features landscapes from Sam Peacock and Hannah Ivory Baker
Some of the smaller landscapes from Sam Peacock
Landscape by Hannah Ivory Baker
Landscape by Sam Peacock

To read more articles featuring art by Sam Peacock. Have a look at the following:

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