April 14th 2011, Hampstead & Highgate Express: Mother Nature Inspires Rhonda

Mother nature inspires Rhonda

The action of nature on man-made structures – especially patterning on buildings which was created by weather and erosion – is the inspiration for a group of unseen works by Rhonda Whitehead at Highgate Contemporary Art. Tiny details noted and photographed on travels at home and abroad are starting points for large textured mixed media abstracts. Imagery is ambiguous yet conveys the spirit of each place.

Her painting titled Paris has all the zing of that city, whereas Falmouth evokes the sun-bleached and painted surfaces found in that boating mecca. The mysterious painting titled Kings originates from an exterior north wall in the corner of the Cambridge college’s forecourt.

Several works are based on observations made in Italy. Whitehead says of these: “In ‘Italian City Buildings’ colours are intense, details of the image seem to be flattened onto the canvas, revealing what is there, peeling paint, spidery scratchy writings in the paint, altogether more freely painted.”

Rhonda Whitehead was born in Sydney and studied art in London from 1966 to 1971, at Byam Shaw then the Royal College of Art, and had her first solo show at the Commonwealth Institute Gallery in 1975. She has since exhibited widely and is perhaps best known for her atmospheric Water Series of the 1980s, based on the River Waveney and the wetlands near her home in Norfolk. Awards include first prize in the 2006 Byard Open Exhibition, Cambridge, for Venice Ochre – Pictured here:

Until April 30 at 26 Highgate High Street, N6. Open Tuesday to Saturday 10.30am to 6pm