And what a life, from Oxford to Syria, Russia to Washington, South Downs to desert, etching to collage, print to pastel, crayon to ceramics Alison Milner-Gulland has had a richly rewarding life, creating along the way outstanding works of art. This exhibition showcases her remarkable art as she celebrates her 80th birthday.
For over 60 years, Alison has always challenged herself and the viewer with her eye, her uniquely creative vision that combines powerful narrative along with the poetry of art. Where we would see a half burnt door as a failed attempt at burning rubbish, Alison sees it as the “canvas” to portray the ravages of a shattered peace, drawing on the sights she saw in the Middle East, using the symbol of the dove in turmoil, the narrative force. This powerful work contrasts with her exploration of the mythic drama of her next-door neighbour Chanctonbury Ring. Here Alison uses print, etching and collage to illustrate the tales of this magical place she explores on an almost daily basis.
Alison’s work also portrays great beauty, from the Moonlight over the sea, to Tangled Flowers growing in her garden, outside her back door. The images of the everyday, from the farrier shooing her horse, to sheep in the snow, to seeing graffiti on the walls of the world, all have found expression in the colourful and vibrant art works. Such drama of the immediate and today are contrasted with paintings and prints of long held stories and beliefs, especially the Greco-Roman and Christian iconography. Her time spent in and studding Russia and their Eastern orthodox imagery sees the icon re-invented for the contemporary, becoming a symbol of today’s stories, but rooted in 1000 years of artistic heritage.
Rupert Toovey who has known the artist for over twenty years has selected the works for Alison Milner Gulland – a Life in Art. This close friendship enabled Alison to open up and explain the paintings as well as making available rarely seen works. This has added real depth to the exhibition which spans over 40 years of artistic creativity. This partnership along with the partnership between Toovey’s and Horsham Museum and Art Gallery has created a highlight of 2020, an exhibition where the creative talent and ability of Alison Milner-Gulland shines through.