Horses in Art Reimagined: Philippa Cannan

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Posted 9th April 2018

Contemporary Art Monday - Philippa Cannan

This #ContemporaryArtMonday we share the voice of artist Philippa Cannan, whose work is currently on display in Watts Contemporary Gallery's latest exhibition - Horses in Art Reimagined (on until 15 April).

'Although I don't have one particular favourite piece in the exhibition, there are different elements of each that I like and am pleased with.

The energy of movement captured in the small painting Godolphin Arabian and my interest in the fact that this was one of the three Arab stallions from which all others are said to be descended. I hope the painting conveys to the viewer some of the sense of fire, beauty and energy that was undoubtedly present in the living stallion many years ago.

In the painting Out of the Ashes, I wished to evoke some of the horror of the explosive and destructive impact of the First World War, in which over eight million horses were killed. The background of raging fire and the burning furnace of heat are contrasted with the calm, serenity and nobility of the blue, green image of the horse, which is also a recognition of it's enduring loyalty to humans.

I particularly like the sense of dawning light in the painting Equus Daybreak - plus the stillness and serenity of the horse silhouetted in the landscape. Until recently I was living in a crumbling Georgian tower in the middle of the Sussex countryside. One day as I took an early dawn walk through the woods, I stepped into the open rolling landscape of a magical dawn, the sun was rising and the land was bathed in a glowing dawn light. I then noticed a horse silhouetted on the skyline, standing motionless, all senses alert, gazing into the distance. The painting is an attempt to convey some of this experience.

Out and About is a reflection on the sheer joy and movement of the horse in motion and the companionship they often show towards one another. The brighter colours reflecting the exuberance and freedom in being outside in nature. Somewhere in the back of my mind is a childhood memory of reading Black Beauty and some of the imagery and pictures that I remember. In particular, that of Black Beauty and Merrylegs, gambolling and galloping freely out in the fields in the peace and tranquility of the countryside. This was in stark contrast to the ensuing story, but the imagery of the carefree early days stayed in my mind.'

Discover Affordable Art - Horses in Art Reimagined is on display in Watts Contempoprary Gallery until Sunday 15 April, all works for sale.