Annie Coxey 'Watermarks': A river run wild and ravaged landscape to match

A much belated blog since breaking my ankle last month and alas the mesmerising exhibition of paintings by local artist Annie Coxey has now ended at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal. Its still a blessing that I and if any of you managed to go and see it as its not your average subject considering the damage, destruction and deadly nature of last year's terrible storm.

The consequences to Kendal, Kirkby Lonsdale and the rest of the Cumbrian area were massive. The rivers rose to unprecedented levels and flooded all low-lying roads in and around the River Kent. Pathways were submerged, roads impassable, stone banks destroyed, trees quashed and houses damaged, sandbags were of little use. Witnessing these graphic moments, Annie Coxey herself grappled with the enduring effects of damage and carnage that the floods caused. Grief, distress and sadness were emotions to be dealt by most people living in the area. Therefore its a brave decision to make an exhibition the primary focus of this destructive force.

Coxey manages to turn these emotional feelings and difficult scenes into ones of transformation, hope and beauty. By abstracting the scenes she witnessed there's a sense of being able to distance yourself from the painful effects of the floods, yet collectively channel the full impact of the scenes through the paintings.

A huge factor in their creation was the constant observation of how the floods affected the landscape. The undeniable marks and scars are still there to be seen. Seeing it first hand meant the scenes seared themselves onto her memory. Photographs and drawings were created and found materials left by therising water picked up for extra impetus in her work.

Combining these mixed materials alongside resin, ink, collage and acrylic helped to give off the feeling of swirling water, enveloping and almost drowning the senses inside the whirlpool of being engulfed. The soft, romantic colours are beguiling in disguise. Covert arrow marks, resin channels of water, oxidised metal shards and fabric collaged water indicators add hidden depths. Whilst obviously ravaging and dangerous there's a beauty about the rushing sound of water and its deep depths of potential magic.

By reconstructing these still yet very vivid memories there's a hope it will go some way for Coxey and the community to come to terms with the disaster and the impact its had on them and the landscape. There's quite no other realisation that people and place are inextricably linked.

To quote Annie Coxey... "To paint is partly to understand."

Getting the set-up just right
Curator Jamie Barnes with Annie

Please take note that your art may flourish from reading this blog :)


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