Saturday, January 8, 2011

Simon Fletcher ,Professor Lynne Suo

Professor Lynne Suo on Simon Fletcher.

Simon Fletcher was born in Birmingham and since 1982 has lived with his wife, Julie, in the mountains of the Herault in Languedoc. An unapologetic europhile he is widely traveled and exhibited in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, England and France. The inspiration for his work, in recent years, has extended to Morocco, India, Japan, but retains the classical European watercolour traditions at its core. A professional landscape designer, Fletcher is passionate about the possibilities for emotional reprieve in landscape and attends his brilliant watercolour palate and brushes with great intensity, flirting with abstraction at the edges of his paper yet never leaving the recognizable structures of his experience. His works have an appreciative audience. 

            Patrick Cameron, a retired businessman from London, living on the spectacular hillsides of the Orb valley has a particular love of landscapes, no doubt inspired by the situation of his home, and is a collector of Fletcher’s work. He now owns three watercolours and a print from a recent vernissage in Pezenas. There is a vibrant Garden in Neffies, a celebration of the houses, gardens and palms in hot reds and deep blues, a purple church with bleeds of red into sage. Another, “must have” for Cameron is a view of Vernaza from Monterossa in the Cinqueterra that is startling in its shadow. The view is from under a boardwalk, at low tide, eight heavily encrusted posts recede into the middle of the frame. Often, in Fletcher’s work there is an unexpected darkness, a blur of a rock, a bloom of Payne’s grey that hints at a not-so-pretty history of place. It is indeed hard to work in the Mediterranean without some reminder of conquest, some bloody battle, some dark purge of Cathars or Jews and, if one takes history as seriously as Fletcher does, it is hard not to see those threats in the blur and swipe of his brush. Even in the more sedate prints (Cameron owns one of French Catalonia) there is a sickly yellow in the calm of the marsh—a disturbing stain on the landscape, a smudge of industrialism on the far horizon. These are contemporary takes on landscape, not merely a transparent nostalgic romancing. A more recent purchase for Cameron (from the summer of 2008) is an atmospheric scene of spring blossoms, splattered with peach and all the yearnings of spring racing the depth of the village.  This is Haut Languedoc, Fletcher’s home turf, but it is not all unadulterated—one layer washes over the other. Like Eliot, there is churning and breeding, if not some cruelty, in these April works, a sadness for things past and a recognition of what we have done to blight our planet.

            Fletcher, when he wants to, also finds a profound Arcadian métier in villages and fields. In numerous Languedoc village scenes traversing all seasons we find domestic dwellings, tumbling volumes, contrasting colours, one squeezed up against the next, centuries imploding under the gaze of bell towers, church spires, turrets. There is a sense of the eternal, the persistence of human labour in these works. If Poussin, Gauguin and Edward Lear could compose a picnic they would take it in the middle of a Fletcher watercolour. In his celebration of landscape, Paysages de la Vigne and du Vin en Languedoc (Fletcher collaborated with the journalist and wine and travel writer, Rupert Wright, on a giddy tour of twenty Domaines.), the viewer sits in the timeless fields shared with labourers from the Greeks and Romans to the present day, sipping from a sheepskin as the sun pours honey colours over the villas and grand chateaux with their cypress allees, wild flowers, tended gardens, and mazets. We can relax under open skies, in the camaraderie of exhausted vignerons and watch as shadows merge through endless rows of vines. For full sensory overload, these watercolours demand a glass of wine. One of the paintings from that book depicting the Chartreuse de Mougeres, is owned by sometime-resident Jonathan Miller and hangs on the wall in the centre of his library in Caux. It seems a requirement of slow middle age that one should also sit there awhile, scanning shelves, debating the varietals of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre while gazing at this glorious monastery in the sun.

            Clive and I have had the pleasure of living in the Languedoc for the winter in Rupert Wright and Helana Frith Powell’s house that contains a large charcoal by Fletcher of a rainstorm over the nearby hills. For weeks I looked at the sleet coming down and the spots of light breaking through cloud as I sat reading by the fire. The work is grey and gloomy with a church spire almost submerged in the centre of the frame. One day while driving through the mountains north of Lamalou-les-Bains we were hit by a sudden rainstorm and fierce ice pellets clacked on the roof of the car. Clive pulled over and I opened the window to scoop a cold breath and snap a picture of the descending cloud. When I downloaded the photos I realized I had subconsciously replicated the view I had been living with all winter. Sometimes, the scenes press down on the memory and stick there, riding the junction between reverie and dark dreams. So in my slower years I would like to spend time pondering these passionate landscapes, the lives of those who came before and will come after. I have left clear instructions for my daughters: do not wheel me out to gaze into the teeth of some rotting shark, please pick up the torn clothing in the corner, and for pity’s sake make my bed. I do not wish to be left, like Kurtz, pondering “the horror, the horror.”  I wish to remember what I love about this life. Give me a Fletcher landscape any day.

Professor Lynne Suo MA
London 2009 

Simon Fletcher Watercolors Biography and Bibliography

SIMON FLETCHER BA                              BIOGRAPHY 2008
Born Birmingham, England.
1967/1975     BA in fine art after studies at St Albans, Watford and Farnham schools      of art. Studies landscape design and becomes artistic director for      Gardenesque Landscape Design Company.
1975/1982     Travels in Europe and Africa working and exhibiting.
                   For two years the artist was director of the Oxford Printmakers
1982          Moves to Southern France with his family to live and work.

 Diplome d'Honneur, Salon d'Agde, France.                                                                    

 1st prize for water colour, Mouvement Artistique Française.
Gold medal for water colour, Salon Internationale de Beziers, France


Book, ‘L’Aquarelle, l’art de la transparence’ published by Fleurus, Paris, 1995',
edition of 8000, pp165  with 150 colour reproductions,

Book, ‘Das Pastel, malen mit reiner farben ‘ , published by Callwey Verlag, München, 1997 edition of 6000, pp 130 with 150 colour illustrations.

Book, ‘The Way of the Moving Brush’  published by Hitachi  UK, Autumn  2000. Edition of 2000

Book, ‘Painting the light on the land’  published by Art Profil, Mannheim, Autumn 2001. Edition of 2000

Book, ‘From the coast to the hills’. Published by Commune di SS Quirico in conjunction with an exhibition of Italian water colours. Edition of 2000

Book, 'Landscape & Vines of the Languedoc' published in May 2005 by Domens, Pezenas with text by Rupert Wright Edition of 3500, pp120 with 80 illustrations in colour and black & white by the artist

Book, ‘Faszination Aquarelle’, landscape watercolours by S Fletcher, to be published by Englisch Verlag, Wiesbaden 2007 in an edition of 3500 pp112 with 40 colour reproductions and text by the painter

Book, Images of India and Japan, watercolours of S Fletcher, to be published autumn 2008 by Englisch Verlag, Wiesbaden in an edition of 3500 pp112 with 40 colour reproductions and a text by S Fletcher

Book, The pastels of Simon Fletcher, to be published autumn 2009 by Englisch Verlag, Wiesbaden in an edition of 3500 pp112 with 40 colour reproductions and a text by S Fletcher

Book, The wines and landscape of La Clape, Languedoc. To be published in 2010 by Seagrave Foulkes, London in an edition of 10000, 150pp with 35 colour and 30 pen & ink illustrations by Simon Fletcher, text by Rosemary George MW
Simon Fletcher regularly holds seminars in drawing,pastel and watercolour at various Academies and Art Schools in Europe.

The painter's works are published as prints and cards by :
Bridgeman Getty, The Art Group, Blink Red and other publishers


1988/98     Galerie Norbert Baeser, Düsseldorf.  Also various art fairs in Germany since 1990      
1988/2004     Galerie Dietmar Wolf, Dusseldorf & Basel, Germany                                   
1989/91     Hall Richards Gallery, London.
1992/97     Kunst & Kultur, Aschau, Munich.
1992/94     Galerie Richard Hartmann, Munich, and Hanover International Art Fair
1993/97     Galerie Prisma, Vienna
1997          Commune of Ravello, Italy. Works on paper, one man show,August 1997
1997          Deutsche Telecom. Presentation exhibition, Munich
1998          Foundation d'Art, Niedergelstein, Suisse. One man exhibition
1999          Commune de Ravello, Italy. Retrospective exhibition
2000/2009     Galerie Vetter, Düren
2000          International Corporate Services Geneve
2000          Osram Galerie Munchen
2000          Hitachi International. Sponsored exhibition & book ‘ The Way of the Moving Brush’
2001          Musee d’Espace Riquet, Beziers, retrospective
2001/2009     Modern Art Gallery Karlsruhe
2001          Molesworth Gallery Dublin    
2002/2009     Galerie Hyna, Rottach Egern
2003          Palazzo Chigi, SS Quirico, Toscana. Paintings of Italy, with book
2004          British Embassy, Oman. recent works
2004          The Economist, Frankfurt. Sponsored exhibition of recent work
2005          Akvarell Center, Stockholm. One man show of water colours
2005          Galerie Hyna, Rottach Egern,Munich. One man show of new work
2005          Exhibition of work to launch new book 'Wines and landscapes of the Languedoc'
2006         James Rothschild, St James Place, sponsored exhibition.
2007         Atelier Simon Fletcher, France. New work
2008          Anima, London. Group exhibition with Peter Blake, Louise Bourgeois, Damien Hirst etc.
2008          Le Couvent, Herepian. Summer exhibition
2009          DMA art consultants, Basel


1978/79     Aberbach Fine Art, London.  
1988/97     Galerie Norbert Blaeser, Dusseldorf. Cologne, Munich & Frankfurt Art Fairs and various art auctions
1980/81     National Portrait Gallery, London.
1981/1984     Francis Kyle Gallery, London.
1986          Galerie 18 Paris. Show of new work with Paul Feiler
1993/2003     Kunst & kultur, Aschau, Munich.
1994/98     Galerie Prisma, Vienna
1990/94     Singer & Friedlander \Sunday Times Water-colour exhibition, London
1995          Royal Watercolour Society, Annual exhibition
1996          Museum and Exhibition service of Southern Italy. Group exhibition "A terrace on     the meditteranean" with invited international artists.
                   Ravello, Oslo, Stockholm and Paris.
1997          Galerie Rosengarten, Thun. Mixed show with Mader, Panzenberger etc.
1997          Galerie Prisma, Vienna. Bella Italia, Gallery artist
1998          Galerie Norbert Blaeser, German Art Fairs: presentation of pastel book and new       pastels.
1998          Galerie Hanssler, Munich. One man show of new work, Spring 98
1998          Christ Church Oxford, print exhibition
1999          Galerie Wolf, Basel and Neuss. Selected new work.
2001          Kunst & Kultur, Munchen, with Salzman, Vogel etc.
2003          Italian watercolours with Bernhard Vogel. Modern Art Gallery, Karlsruhe
2004          Bohun Gallery, Henley with Peter Blake, Bill Jacklin, Allen Jones, David Remfry, Patrick Hughes
2009          Damaris Muller Fine Art, Basel, one man show of new work
2009           Lawrence Arnott Gallery, Marrakech            group show
2009          Atelier Simon Fletcher, France. New work
2010          Moulin en Clarens, Vich Geneve. One person show of new work
2010           Modern Ground Art Consultants, London. One person show of work  


Simon Fletcher's work is to be found in numerous private collections in Europe and America and in the following public collections:
Oxford University
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris
Warburg Merchant Bank, London
Foundation Pro Castellione, Suisse.
März, Germany
Hitachi Corporation, Germany
Kunst & Kultur, Aschau, Munich
Siemens Germany
The Economist Frankfurt
H R H The Sultan of Oman

Wim Blom, artist and one time director, Toronto Gallery of Art.
                         "Simon Fletcher, an appreciation"  Barcelona 1978

Oliver Knight
                         "The etchings & woodcuts of Simon Fletcher" Minorca 1981

                         "The Graphic Works of S Fletcher"  Dolines no 15, Conseille Generale de                        
                         l'Herault, Montpellier, France.
Dr Claudia Junkers
                         "The mysterious still lifes of Simon Fletcher". Rheinische Post, Cologne 1988

Yvonne Friedrichs
                         Catalogue Introduction, Galerie Norbert Blaeser, Dusseldorf, 1988
Dietmar Wolf
                         Catalogue Introduction, Galerie Wolf,  1989

"The Water colours of Simon Fletcher"  Art News, London  1989   

Heinz Norbert  Jocks
                         "The atmospheric World"  West Deutsche Zeitung, Dusseldorf  1990

Sabine Mrosek
                         "Welcoming Nature. The pastels of Simon Fletcher."  Nord Rheine Zeitung
                         Dusseldorf 1990

Rheinhard Müller-Mehlis.
                         "Great certainty and beautiful transparence", review of one man show in Munchener Mercure 1992

Klaus Jorg Schonmetzler
                         "New works by S Fletcher" Radio broadcast and catalogue introduction
                         Munich, 1992
Professor Kurt Regschek.
                         " A great water colourist". Talk to an invited audience, Prisma Gallery,
                         Vienna 1993
Robert Moran
                         'Dessin'  Fleurus Mame, Paris 1993

Françoise Coffrant.
                         "Portrait de Femme"  Artistes Magazine, Paris 1994

South German television Network
                         An interview  with Simon Fletcher. October 1995

Ada Patrizia FiorilloCatalogue introduction,
                         ' Siggiorno a Ravello' Editions Il Punto, Naples 1996

Rheinhard Müller-Mehlis.
                         Introduction to 'Das Pastel, malen mit reiner farbe' a book about Fletcher's pastel work published by              Callwey Munich in 1997

Klaus Jorg Schonmetzler
                         Catalogue foreword and broadcast to exhibition , Aschau Munich 05 1997

Gertie Falk
                         Review of exhibition, Aschau, Munich for Handlesblatt, Rosenheim, Munich. 05 1997

Prof Kurt Regschek.
                         Introduction to the exhibition, 'Landscape and gardens' by Simon Fletcher, Vienna, 1997
Margrit Kunz
                         Internationale Aquarell Kunst. Exhibition with Mader, Panzenberger etc. In Thun, Switzerland.
                         Thuner Tagblatt 08 1997
Prof. Walter Ruppen.
                         The work of Simon Fletcher. Introduction to the exhibition of new work at the
                         Foundation Pro Castellione, Niedergesteln, Switzerland. 10. 98
Jantje Janssen
                         ‘A voyage to the borders of memory’
                         Article published in Art Profile magazine, Germany, 0ctober 2000

Toshio Watanabe
                         Introduction to book ‘The way of the moving brush’
                         Published by Hitachi, London, 2000
John Tusa, Director, The Barbican Modern Art Center, London
                         Forword to book’ Painting the light on the land’ Published by Art Profil, November 2001Mannheim

FR3 French National television
                         A biography of the painter Simon Fletcher. 15 minute interview . March 2001

The Economist
                          Mired in the past?  Modern water colourists, Salzman, Vogel and Fletcher
                          London December 2001

Prof' Achille Andreucci
Catlogue introduction, "From the coast to the hills" paintings of Italy. Exhibition at Palazzo Chigi Commune
di S Quirico. Sponsored exhibition 2003

Jante janssen
                        The legendary water colour voyage of Fletcher and Vogel
                        Art Prtofil Magazine, Germany Nov 2003   

International Artist Magazine.
"Colour, the final frontier" Profile of the artist , 2004 

Oman Observer
                         Article by Dr P Groves, Simon Fletcher at the British Embassy 2004

The Artist Magazine
                          Simon Fletcher by Julian Halsby 2005

The Artist Magazine
                          A watercolour palette 2006
Connaissance des arts 2006
                          Special aquarelle with G Salzman, E Karpinska, etc.              
Pratique des arts
                          Hors série, les grands aquarellistes d’aujourd’hui
Englisch Verlag, Wiesbaden
                          Landschaft aus licht & Farbe. Ed3500, 112pages 2007

Englisch Verlag, Wiesbaden                              
                         The spirit of Asia. Travels in Japan & India. Ed3500. 112pages 2008
Englisch Verlag, Wiesbaden
                         The pastels of Simon Fletcher. Ed3500.  112 pages 2009

The Artist Magazine London. Techniques of the painter 2009