Artist with a childhood vision

The Spirit of Chagall Lives On, exhibition by Martin Jeffries @ Swan House Restaurant Gallery, Beccles. By Richard Inman.

The Spirit of Chagall Lives On, exhibition by Martin Jeffries @ Swan House Restaurant Gallery, Beccles

By Richard Inman

Two entrepreneurs, Roland Blunk and Lesley Dumphie, have established a reputation at Swan House for top-quality food and contemporary mixed media paintings and prints – where entertaining is a fine art, it could be said. This 1538 building has 17 rooms, the gallery restaurant being the oldest part. A glass of wine, warmth from an open fire in the inglenook and some choice music will enhance your enjoyment of this current exhibition by Marilyn Jeffries.

Shady Characters revives the art of figure composition. A child in adult sunglasses stares out at the viewer, another has a lion's head. Two, perhaps real, animals crouch in shadow beneath a beach hut. Jeffries depicts a dream-like isolation, the fantasy world of childhood. Trees lit from above make claw-like shadows in this imposed ritual of the seaside holiday.

Ichthyology (the branch of zoology concerned with fish) depicts a woman wearing an Elizabethan farthingale, arms outstretched as if in a trance. Multi-coloured fish rendered in watercolour, applied papers and also foils, integrate with bold floral patterns.

The artist often works in dry-point, scratching lines into Perspex, printed intaglio as an etching. Colour brushed or rolled on to the surface is then scraped or wiped away. Papers (collography) are transferred from the plate under pressure.

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Some works have humour and are less foreboding.

More Tea Vicar recalls Marc Chagall (1887-1985) the Russian-born painter. A cleric floats above a sea of flowers accompanied by a yellow teapot!

Marilyn Jeffries, who has preserved her childhood vision, displays drawings that are tensile, economic, even ichthyomorphic!

The exhibition continues daily (11am-11pm) until March 6.

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