Having never been to Naked Eye Gallery I was very excited about seeing this space. I had heard about it’s unique location, nestled just off Western Road in Hove in an old stable house; but never had the pleasure of experiencing it for myself.
Walking through the courtyard to the space really gave the sense that this was going to be something special. Surrounded by a community of artists and scientists this old stable house is ideally located to give a special kind of intimacy to the artwork.
Naked Eye started out life as a gallery on Western Road, but with steadily escalating rent prices in the area, was forced to relocate and stumbled across the old stable house at Farm Road. Here, David, the owner, found a little garage that was going spare:
“It was a mess. Piles of old clothes, dishwashers, rubbish and there was a massive great big hole in the roof! People told me I was crazy, but I loved the space as soon as I saw it.”
Next to the white walls, the piled up logs and an old wood-burner visually introduces the viewer to the space, but also acts as a lovely feature and reference to its history. It also has the added advantage of keeping you warm in Winter. Next to this he has cleared out the space and put in some lovely white boards that are perfect for housing the work.
There are not many places in Brighton that stick to a conventional “white wall” gallery, purely marketing itself as a gallery and not a gallery/shop. Often, there are touches of the commercial need to sell in the galleries around Brighton, which is cleverly avoided by the owner, David. He insists on renting out his space directly to the artists. The rented space is then used however the artist want to use it, with the gallery only taking 25% of sales vs. the more dear rates elsewhere in town.
At the moment Trevor Scobie’s hyperreal paintings are residing in the space. These stunning seascapes give almost no hint to the intense painting style from afar, but the brushwork and workmanship of the pieces reveals itself the closer to the pieces you get.
These paintings were designed to:
“Offer the viewer the chance to experience the abundance and drama of the coast, whilst also taking a moment to delve into their own reflection and to consider how our own lives which grow organically are mirrored with the ever changing natural world.”
Basically, to make you really look at nature, both spiritually and aesthetically. Personally, I found this spirituality most prevalent in “Black Rock”. The anomalous composition of having the rock directly in the middle evoked a ‘zen-like’ feeling of calm within me. Compositionally, this is usually considered a bad thing to do as it distracts the eye from the rest of the piece, but in this case I couldn’t help but feel that it really touched on this self-reflection element he was talking about.
Scobie’s pieces are not designed to make you think or question too much what it’s about. Really it is about having a tremendous exercise in painting on your living room that can be appreciated by everyone, no matter what your artistic knowledge.
Personally, I prefer his less hyperreal paintings on the periphary of the exhibition that explores the texture of the sea and of the shore. There is something about the physical depth of the brushwork, also probably helped by the perceived exclusivity from the limited numbers of these at the exhibition that drew me in more. The enjoyment I got from exploring the various textures actually stirred more emotion from within.
Overall, I really enjoyed the exhibition and look forward to seeing more from Trevor Scobie and the Naked Eye Gallery