Coastal erosion at the Mall Galleries!…

I’m so pleased to announce that four of my artworks have been selected for exhibition at the Royal Institute of Water Colour Painters (RI) at the Mall Galleries, London, 6 to 21 April 2018. This is always an impressive and varied show of contemporary work in water media and well worth visiting if you are able to.

'Equinox', mixed media on paper. Selected for the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 2018. © Mari French 2018.'Emerging forms', mixed media on paper. Selected for the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 2018. © Mari French 2018.

'Byzantine waters', mixed media on paper. Selected for the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 2018. © Mari French 2018.

'Cryptic shore', mixed media on paper. Selected for the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 2018. © Mari French 2018.

The selected paintings: ‘Equinox’, ‘Emerging forms’, ‘Byzantine waters’ and ‘Cryptic shore’ (all shown above) are part of an ongoing series created in response to coastal erosion, which I have been working on over the winter. It’s a subject that has been in my mind since visiting Happisburgh, North Norfolk.

Although I’m well aware of and sympathise with the devastation such destructive erosion causes to the inhabitants of affected villages, my interest here was in capturing the energy and dynamism of the forces involved; of crumbling cliffs and bent and broken structures; the sheer power of the waves and the resulting twisted rusting metal, wooden and concrete forms.

I’ll be exhibiting more paintings from this series at my solo show from 24 March at the Grapevine Gallery, Burnham Market, North Norfolk, which will also feature artworks from my reedbeds series. This exhibition will run for one month, more details to follow.

Art in another barn!

Last Friday’s private view of ARTWORKS annual exhibition at Blackthorpe Barn near Bury St Edmunds was mobbed! The general consensus from visitors on the night (and in the visitor book since), was that this is the strongest ARTWORKS show yet.
ARTWORKS are a group of 30 East Anglian artists who exhibit here each year. I’m one of the new ‘guest’ artists and have eleven pieces of work on display and several unframed browser works, plus cards. The barn is a huge impressive space and there is a wealth of contemporary art and stunning sculpture on display. There’s also a great little cafe selling tea/coffee/cakes and a shop with art cards and small items of artworks, jewellery etc. for sale by the artists.
The exhibition is on every day (10am to 5pm) till 1 October, with demonstrations by artists most days and is well worth a visit. Blackthorpe Barn, Rougham, nr Bury St Edmonds (just off Jct 45 of the A14).

‘Painters’ exhibition at the Black Barn …

'Illuminated coast i, ii and iii' by Mari French at 'Painters' exhibition, Black Barn, Cockley Cley, 2017.
I’m currently showing three large canvases at ‘Painters’, an exhibition of work by 19 contemporary Norfolk artists, at the Black Barn, Cockley Cley, nr Swaffham in Norfolk. The exhibition is curated by Hugh Pilkington, for Sir Samuel and Lady Roberts. Artists include Tracey Ross, Elaine Banham, Kate Giles, Anne Allanson and Fred Ingrams.

Saturday (5th August) saw the private view of ‘Painters’ very well attended and enjoyable. Bright sunshine and flowing fizz with Hugh as genial host, made for a memorable evening. But most importantly, the works on display, all contemporary paintings, many of which were large canvases, formed an impressive, well-selected and thoughtfully hung show.

Work by Tracey Ross (left) and Anne Allanson at 'Painters' exhibition, Black Barn, Cockley Cley, 2017.

Work by Tracey Ross (left) and Anne Allanson at ‘Painters’ exhibition, Black Barn, Cockley Cley, 2017.


Hugh Pilkington curates quite a few exhibitions in Norfolk, including the Sainsbury Visual Arts Centre. He chatted with me about his interest in whether there is such a thing today as a Norfolk school of painting, as there was in the 19th century with the likes of John Sell Cotman. This exhibition ‘Painters’ is a result of Hugh’s desire to get together a group of contemporary Norfolk artists to illustrate the high quality of art currently being created in Norfolk. 

Hugh also curated Cley Contemporary 2016 (which I wrote about in a previous post, here). I’ll quote again, part of his text from Cley Contemporary 2016…

Who are the artists who could make up a new Norfolk or Norwich School? Who are the successors of Cotman and Crome; of Sell and Ackling; of Emerson and Payne Jennings? Who are the landscape painters? Who are the abstract painters? Who are the sculptors? Who works in other interesting and challenging formats?

Hugh Pilkington, Curator, Cley Contemporary 2016.

Work by Tracey Ross at 'Painters' exhibition, Black Barn, Cockley Cley, 2017.

Work by Tracey Ross at ‘Painters’ exhibition, Black Barn, Cockley Cley, 2017.

Work by Fred Ingrams at 'Painters' exhibition, Black Barn, Cockley Cley, 2017.

Work by Fred Ingrams at ‘Painters’ exhibition, Black Barn, Cockley Cley, 2017.

Work by Kate Giles at 'Painters' exhibition, Black Barn, Cockley Cley, 2017.

Work by Kate Giles at ‘Painters’ exhibition, Black Barn, Cockley Cley, 2017.


‘Painters’ is open each Saturday and Sunday in August, 11am-1pm (other times by appointment – Hugh Pilkington 01366 328354). If you’re planning to visit, follow signs for the (now closed) Iceni Village south of Swaffham, then follow the signs for the Black Barn.

'Painters' exhibition, Black Barn, Cockley Cley, 2017.

‘Painters’ exhibition, Black Barn, Cockley Cley, 2017.

Mari French and Tracey Ross at 'Painters' exhibition, Black Barn, Cockley Cley, 2017.

Mari French and Tracey Ross at ‘Painters’ exhibition, Black Barn, Cockley Cley, 2017.