Peter Jarvis (here is his website - look at his blog) is exhibiting his watercolour paintings in the foyer of Southampton Solent University from today. The pieces are built around precisely replicated architecture. The best images include settings of very convincing depth; vivid trees and graded skies.
Most of the exhibition is given to the sites of Southampton's old town. Tudor House, God's House Tower and the others are rendered with great appeal. More fascinating, though, are the close-ups of ancient stonework dotted with plant life and shifting shadows of branches; and two studies of metal boats rusting on the River Itchen. These are more engaging than studies of stone and iron should be.
Aside from a view of Stokesay Castle, Shropshire, the main departure from the south coast is a set of nine round-towered Saxon churches in Norfolk (out of the one hundred and twenty-six in that county): Bedingham, Brooke, Freethorpe, Geldeston, Hemblington, Morningthorpe, Seething, Surlingham and Thorpe next Haddiscoe. They take me back to a happy holiday cycling in Norfolk, seeking out these little churches, and they're a great subject for a series.
A case of sketchbooks of all sizes shows Peter Jarvis' practice of sketching on site, usually outdoors. It's easy to deprecate "Sunday painters" and the washy chocolate-box landscapes associated with watercolours. These pieces, however, are a concert of three elements. The stunning architectural draughtsmanship is made appealing by Peter's command of the subtlety of watercolours, making the views crisp, yet softened by every variation in colour. In turn, Peter's eye for strong colours and warm sunlight in the surroundings brings the viewer half-way into the quiet, unpopulated scenes.
Of course, it's all pretty enviable and very different from my work, but it's a pleasure to see Southampton given such a treatment and, having met Peter now and then in the past couple of years, to see a proper display of his work.
A Point Of View: a solo exhibition by Peter Jarvis
28th October 2011 to 7th January 2012
Concourse Gallery, Michael Andrews Building,
East Park Terrace, Southampton