Archive for category Author: Jenny Pery

Alan Cotton – Giving Life a Shape || Jenny Pery

This is something more than just, “A few of the artist’s paintings and a bit about them”. Jenny Pery is an experienced writer and she has woven a neat and intriguing account of Alan Cotton’s life as he prepares for his latest exhibition. In many ways, it could be said to be a documentary in book form and the approach works supremely well.

If you haven’t come across Alan Cotton before, although comparisons are nasty things, I’d say that, if you like the work of John Piper and Kyffin Williams you’ll feel at home here. At 176 pages, this is a substantial tome and the extended text doesn’t detract from the number of illustrations, which feature landscapes from Snowdonia to Cyprus and Devon to Provence.

As a feature on an artist’s work in progress, this is hard to beat and the illustrations are, without exception, well handled. As a documentary, it’s an innovative approach that brings both the man and his work to life in a way that couldn’t be achieved by concentrating on only a single aspect.

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Benedict Rubbra: point of balance || Jenny Pery

Any book about Benedict Rubbra is to be welcomed and to find something so completely researched, written and illustrated as this is sheer delight. “I first saw a painting by Benedict Rubbra in the house of my friends … I was spellbound by the beautiful colour chords and the unusual combination of movement and stasis within the picture frame”, writes Jenny Pery in her introduction, where she also records that she has made the artist’s acquaintance, adding, “My thanks go chiefly to him for the patient exposition of his life and his art over many long recording sessions”.

All of this tells you most of what you need to know about the book: that this is more than just a book project, perhaps something of a labour of love, that the artist’s own words and views are incorporated in the text and also the background of musicality to Rubbra’s work: his father was the composer Edmund Rubbra. Jenny Pery also explores Rubbra’s depiction of natural forms and the rhythms and harmonies of nature. There is maybe a very slight hint of hagiography here, but it is balanced by the scholarship and the depth of research that has gone into the book and by the sheer quality of the illustrations; this is Halsgrove at their absolute best.

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