Geoff Uglow presents a new series of paintings inspired by the Rose Garden that surrounds his studio in rural Cornwall. Over the last ten years Uglow has cultivated the garden, gathering countless hips and seeds from his travels to Scotland and Italy to create a magnificent idyll filled with the heady fragrance and palette of nature. This vibrant new group of works celebrates the rose in its many guises: as a symbol of love, mysticism and spirituality. Inspired by the poetic resonance of the flower, Uglow also recognises the ferocity of nature in his pulsating colour palette and technique akin to the violent rose paintings of Cy Twombly.
Much like for artists Le Sidaner, Martin and Claude Monet’s sublime Japanese water garden at Giverny, the rose has come to embody a creative and personal sanctuary for Uglow. Capturing the ephemeral beauty of these flowers in paint, Uglow responds to the fleeting moment that the rose bursts into life and then fades in a single image that can never be recreated. With strokes of sumptuous colour and light, Uglow embraces the fluid uncertainty of each canvas before the surface dries and the image is stilled.
Born into a farming family, Uglow has always felt a deeply personal connection to the rugged landscape, which is now embedded in his art and practice. Beyond simply imitating the ardent palette of the Rose Garden, Uglow embeds his practice within nature itself. By nurturing the soil and blossoming roses, Uglow has created the very environment and subject for his latest series himself. Through this new group of works Uglow will continue to develop his fascination with the pastoral countryside and man’s identity within nature, as seen in the ‘Quercus Robur’ paintings of English Oak trees.
Since graduating from Glasgow School of Art, Uglow has won numerous awards including The Sainsbury Prize and Alastair Salvesen Art Scholarship, and has been the subject of a solo exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy (2010). His work can now be found in public collections including Kelingrove Museum in Glasgow and the Royal Scottish Academy Collection. ‘The Rose Garden’ marks Uglow’s fifth solo show at Connaught Brown, following Fathom (2008), Coda (2010), Quercus Robur (2013) and MMXIV (2015).