Stephen Park

I thought the Art Safari was a triumph.

I seem to remember rather drunkenly gushing about this into Gregs digital sound recorder, and was no doubt a little embarrassing. But I meant it and I can say again that it was a very optimistic event for me for several reasons which I shall try to list below.

Firstly I really enjoyed much of the work, particularly yours and your co-exhibitor who presented the glass harmonica and they worked extremely well together.

Your pictures benefit from being shown together, important qualities are evident that are easier to overlook when seen in isolation. Something about your handling of materials comes into focus.  I told you already I especially like the two newest small painting which employed a thicker paint.  I like the large red structure too.

I also very much enjoyed a couple of Mark Jessets paintings on paper, one of which I thought was particularly delightful.  All the work I have listed above, I was entirely convinced by and I felt it to be authentic in some way, having  a certain toughness in being precisely itself rather than a close approximation of something intended. There is a reason this is fairly rare which is too long and problematic to discuss here. It is not easy to discuss these things without sounding pretentious.

I don’t intend to go through all the work because it would be missing the point to do so. However I was excited about enough of it, and very sympathetic to most of the rest,  and that fact alone was well worth the journey and exceeded my expectations.

Moreover, I was amazed and delighted by the high attendance and the sense of occasion. Its no exaggeration to say that the venues were packed and that there was a collective buzz of enjoyment with the whole event.  It would please me to think that this was to be a regular occurrence, and that this standard could be maintained and that it could grow in size and perhaps be extended in duration.

You have certainly demonstrated that there is a sufficient audience for real art.  I wonder if it could be linked up with Dartmoor Arts in some way?  If you think of any ways in which I can support another Ashburton Festival please let me know.

Warmest regards.