Dancing Waves Detail

Alison Critchlow is a contemporary British painter with a broad, investigative approach. She combines drawing outside with intuitive methods of working in the studio exploring ideas and concepts. She is interested in perceptual shifts, how we experience landscape and how environment affects our thinking. Alison recently moved to live beside the Solway Firth where the shifting channels of the estuary and tidal movements of the land are already seeping into her work.

Alison’s paintings often have a timespan – charting fading light, waves crashing, dancing shadows, flower rhythms. Changes of state and fluid boundaries provide a focus – water becoming ice, day becoming night. They invite the viewer to step up close to the edges, and ‘in between’ places – physical and metaphorical. Informed by sensory experience and the ‘mind’s eye’ her paintings move happily between representation and abstraction. The process of painting and the language of paint is central to her approach, using the texture, speed and pace of marks to speak of lived experience. The passage of time and the potential for transformation within creative process are central themes in her work.

Alison trained at Falmouth School of Art, Cornwall, and recently completed three years postgraduate study with Turps Art School, in London. She has spent time painting in wild and remote locations, often visiting the Outer Hebrides and made a trip to Arctic Greenland in 2010. She was artist in residence on the Isle of Iona in February 2017 and has exhibited widely throughout Britain including: ING Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, University of Cambridge, Gracefield Arts Centre, Fairfield Mill, Brantwood, Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh, Manchester Art Show, Bianco Nero and Penwith Gallery, St Ives. She has work in several collections including Royal Bank of Scotland, Ernst and Young, Wordsworth Trust, Edinburgh Hospitals Trust. Since 2017 Alison has worked on several projects with the Wordsworth Trust in particular their ‘Weather Words’ and ‘Poetry and Paint’ projects. You can view her full CV here.

She spent two years learning from Wordsworth’s creative process and ideas. Drawing from his manuscripts and painting in Dove Cottage garden by day and at night, exploring the underlying rhythms of that place. This time has had a profound affect on her work which is starting to inform her practice in new ways.

Alison occasionally teaches workshops and gives talks, often with the Wordsworth Trust. Other recent collaborations and projects have been with operatic soprano Soraya Mafi (ENO) for Netherby Hall’s art and music programme; working with the Eden Project Communities and taking part in their ‘Festival of Discovery’. At the start of 2020 Alison also ran a big mural project with a group of men in prison. The art project at HMP Haverigg was spread over three months and involved art history, discussion and debate as well as practical painting skills. It was an uplifting project which saw one of the cell blocks transformed as part of the education programme at the jail.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss collaborative projects, exhibitions or to enquire about any of the paintings.