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Last chance to see Head exhibition

In a recent article on Sheilagh Head's current exhibition at Windjammer II, I mentioned that my earliest memory of her paintings were depictions of a Bermuda transformed.

The Island was rendered in muted English colours, which were seemingly, in the manner of Walter Sickert, a well-known London based painter of the early 20th century. This brings back a personal memory of my art college days in London.

I recall a friend, a Canadian student who, having had some art training in Canada, was busy muting his colours where appropriate. He would mix say, a green with either its complement possibly a red or possibly a split complement. The instructor, observing this, asked, where is your black? The English, at least in that school, muted their colours by mixing them with black and Ms Head apparently did also.

I bring this up because, in her current exhibition at Windjammer II, in at least a couple of paintings, she is once again muting her colours but with this one difference. She is not doing it with black, but by mixing her dominant colours with their complements or near complements. Considering that Mrs Head is now known for painting in vibrant colours, this may indicate a subtle new direction in her work. Whatever the case, her 'Double Fare Ferry' is certainly my favourite in this show. It might have been noticed that I seldom mention outright the works that I particularly like in any given show, although I do mention them in other ways without revealing what I personally feel about a work. For 20 years, I specialised in making grey-scale paintings. I have a bias in the direction of muted colours and it may be useful for readers to realise this.

This is not to say that I am unresponsive to more vibrant colours and one painting in this show that caught my attention that is notably colourful is 'Perfume Garden'. This is far and away the largest painting in the show and for that reason alone, it is difficult to ignore. It is, however, in my thinking, the most successful abstract that I have seen Sheilagh Head paint.

Going back to 'Double Fare Ferry', I note that Sheilagh Head is using, very effectively, a pointillist technique in rendering the sparkle of light on water and this recalls for me the coastal paintings of Georges Seurat, that he made while doing his military duty in the French army, back in 1879. He, being the inventor of pointillism, also utilised this technique in much the same way as that of Mrs Head.

I also note that the paintings I have mentioned in this review, at the time of my recent visit to Windjammer II Gallery, had not sold. Considering that, in terms of sales and otherwise, this has been a really successful show, I was puzzled as to why 'Double Fare Ferry' or for that matter, 'Waterlot Reflections', which is another more muted painting, were still unsold. I have since learned however, that both are now gone. In the case of 'Perfume Garden', which, has not sold, I think size is probably a factor, for it will take a big wall to show it successfully.

Of course, with the general public, tastes vary and not everyone gravitates toward colour restraint and for those who want colour, there are the loads of colourful paintings in the show. Indeed, most are the typical, colourful landscapes that Sheilagh Head is particularly good at creating and these are the ones that have flown off the walls in sales. Additionally, there are a few abstracts.

According to Windjammer II's exhibition schedule, the Sheilagh Head exhibition ends tomorrow, but I understand that it is to be held over for a few days beyond that date. If you have not seen this exhibition, you have a few more days left to do so.

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Published November 30, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated November 30, 2011 at 8:10 am)

Last chance to see Head exhibition

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