I WAS interested to hear about the exhibition of cut paper images currently showing at Salisbury Museum, partly because I have used a similar idea for a current show in Taunton.

The results achieved by Vanessa Stone in ‘Slices of Life’ prove to be nothing like my latest photograms, which are mono and abstract, but her work nonetheless seems familiar to me in other ways.

Stone has a background in textile design, and I am a photographer so this may seem unusual, but I’m certain when I look at ‘Through the Barley to the Wide Open Plain’ that she sees the same possibilities in the local landscape as I do.

The fields are alternately flat colour or patterned by farm machinery, and the darkness of distant trees help to describe contour.

I also enjoy Stone’s use of patterned paper backing; in one case she has used graph paper to represent sky. It works remarkably well.

Stone cites Matisse’s late works with cut paper as an influence, as well as the contemporary artists Rob Ryan and Beatrice Coron, but her own work is like none of these. Matisse is abstract or mannered; Ryan fussy and sentimental; and Coron’s works are rooted strictly in the imaginary.

I see more similarities with Patrick Caulfield, the flat-paint artist and printmaker, who once said: “I’m not good enough to do brushstrokes, I leave that to Rembrandt.”

Stone is not austere or melancholic like Caulfield, though; there is a touch of the sentimental here, but wistful. Ryan is by contrast mawkish.

Stone was born in Winterslow and went to school and art college in Salisbury, and the work here was inspired by her memories of the city and landscape.

They are primarily bright and decorative images, but for my taste, I prefer the pictures which contain the possibility of paradox, or darker elements.

Harnham Dreaming’ and ‘Sitting awhile on the Guildhall Steps’ leave something to the viewer’s imagination.

Other images have the appeal of woodcuts, particularly when the colour is more muted, as in ‘The Enveloping Woods’.

‘Swimming Along the River’, a view of the Maltings, is however too far removed from the real experience of one of Salisbury’s shabbier spots. Until July 4.

n IF you enjoyed the Rex Whistler show 2013, look out for a few interesting oil paintings now on display at the museum.

Whistler was only just beginning to understand how to use oils before he was killed in Normandy in 1944, and a couple of these paintings bear that out.

One is of a figure in the shadows of dappled light, the other a view of the Palladian Bridge at Wilton seen across the water. A talent cut short.

Martin Urmson

Readers who submit articles must agree to our terms of use. The content is the sole responsibility of the contributor and is unmoderated. But we will react if anything that breaks the rules comes to our attention. If you wish to complain about this article, contact us here