"I paint to express my feelings for what I love in my life and I paint to process feelings of loss, the death of a pet, or the children leaving home. I am constantly striving to find a better and more succinct way of doing this.”
Arabella Shand’s paintings flicker between worlds. In part, they are rooted in the everyday rituals of her life in a secluded pocket of Wales, and in the views that constantly open up as she walks along old drover’s paths and across sheep-dotted fields. They dwell on things as familiar as the domesticity of the living room or kitchen and as beautiful as the shock of a white farmhouse wall, glimpsed through a lattice of boughs and branches. But her pictures are also suffused with a hint of enchantment, and populated by the symbolism of dreams. The artist shows herself sleeping in the woods, encircled by a chorus of trees. Owls are transformed into hovering mirages, or look out at us with bold eyes. Always, though, these different worlds are animated and bound together by Shand’s extraordinary feeling for light, colour and mood, and for the possibilities of paint.
This exhibition of Shand’s new works displays all her many qualities as an artist. In a picture that sings of the comforts of preparing for bed, and of wrapping a towel around newly-washed hair, a dazzlingly-painted patchwork quilt sets the tone for the intricate visual rhythms of the composition as a whole. And in a work that couples the forms of flower painting with those of landscape, the lushly painted reds, pinks and whites of a majestic bouquet are played off against the subtle, striated bands of pale-yellow and green that articulate an expanse of Welsh meadowland.
These are pictures to live with and to return to and that continue to unfold their pleasures long after you first look at them. They have a quiet, enduring magic. – Professor Mark Hallett