Finding Turner, Trail and Exhibition

Finding Turner, Trail and Exhibition Art for Guernsey

Finding Turner, Trail and Exhibition

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Following on from the exploration of Pierre- Auguste Renoir’s cultural legacy, Art for Guernsey is embarking on a journey to discover the works and influence of Joseph Mallord William Turner’s visit to Guernsey, circa 1832, where he is known to have sketched extensively throughout the Bailiwick, with the sketchbook held at Tate Britain as part of the bequest from Turner’s estate.

J.M.W. Turner, born in 1775, was an English Romantic painter known for his expressive studies of light, colour and atmosphere. His use of brilliant colours led to him becoming known as “the painter of light”. Turner was a versatile artist, proficient in watercolours, oils and engravings, and his work ranged from depictions of local topography to atmospheric renderings of storms and seascapes.

His career was marked by his innovative techniques, such as layering blocks of colour and using expressive brushwork to create luminous and evocative forms. Turner’s fascination with light and the elemental forces of nature are said to have laid the groundwork for Impressionism. His work was controversial and elicited strong responses, with some critics disdaining his loose handling, while others, like John Ruskin, championed his genius.

Turner’s career was also characterised by his extensive travels, which provided inspiration for his work. Whilst his work is featured in collections worldwide, he bequeathed much of it to the nation, and today the majority of his paintings are housed at Tate Britain.

We will begin our journey in spring 2024 with the launch of the Turner Trail, following the ongoing success of the Renoir Walk established in 2019, with a series of installations in the landscapes that mark the most notable locations that Turner captured in his sketchbook. The Trail will encompass Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm.

Locally based artist James Colmer, who was inspired by Turner as a young artist, has been commissioned to produce a body of work in response to these sketches, which will form the backbone of the initial exhibition, alongside the sketch work featured in the frames of the Turner Trail.

This will be complemented further by a number of artworks, sketches and responses from a selection of our younger local artists, aged 6-12, who will provide their own interpretations of the landscapes, inspired by Turner’s legacy.

During the summer of 2024 we will host three international artists, who will visit the island to pick up the same narrative, exploring the islands’ natural beauty, observing the locations where Turner sketched and providing their own artistic response. This body of work will be exhibited in a second instalment of the project in spring 2025.


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18-04-24 to

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