Cynthia Barlow Marrs SGFA

Portfolio: • Pale Grey Castle solo exhibition

Pale Grey Castle - solo exhibition 03 September - 14 October

My first solo exhibition in my home town took place at the Old Court Artspace in Windsor, featuring new large studio drawings and 16 framed sketchbooks

In 2020 I began to create large studio drawings in which I reinvent scenes around Windsor -- 'Pale Grey Castle' is the first in this series. In the Papered Over series my love of mark-making and patterns and repeats comes to the fore. No. 1 in the series layers patterns over litho-printed reproductions of my own drawings, uncut sheets left over from the production of my limited edition book ‘The Windsor Emporium Sketchbook’.

Sketchbooks aren't normally on display in art shows, but in this case they were an important part of the exhibition. Most of my output over the previous year had consisted of sketchbook drawings of live music events within walking distance of my home. Many of those drawings were made at the Old Court, but I also carried my sketchbook to candlelit carol services, recitals at Windsor Castle, music society concerts and a tango evening in Eton. None of us knew at the time how difficult it would be in 2020 to keep live music alive.

On the mantelpiece: Pale Grey Castle

The day before the hang, my three foot tall drawing Pale Grey Castle was finally completed, named and framed.

Now in a private collection.

Studio shot: Countdown to the exhibition

It was down to the wire before hanging day for my solo exhibition Pale Grey Castle. In this studio shot Papered Over iNo. 1 n the foreground was about to be framed, Judith was still contemplating her future in the background, and Pale Grey Castle was still on the easel, waiting to be a) completed and b) given a name.

Not in this photo: two more studio drawings to hang with these three, and sixteen sketchbooks in frames destined for display on the opposite wall.

Pale Grey Castle

I created this large studio drawing for my solo exhibition in September-October 2020 at the Old Court Artspace in Windsor. All I knew when I began was that it would be three feet high and mostly drawn in charcoal. Elements of the composition emerged as the drawing developed over a four week period, but its title eluded me until the day before the hang. And that is the name I gave to the exhibition.

Private collection.

Charcoal, graphite and ink on paper
91cm x 60cm

Papered Over No. 1

Selected for the 2023 Freshfields exhibition of artworks on paper
100 Bishopsgate EC2P 2SR

Papered Over No. 1 is on show in this prestigious in-house exhibition at the London headquarters of the international law firm Freshfields, with 90 works of art on display for twelve months over eleven working floors. The exhibition is organised by the specialist art consultancy Art Acumen, who work with private collectors and corporate clients to curate collections and stage exhibitions.

No. 1 was one of two new large monochrome drawings featured in my solo exhibition 'Pale Grey Castle' at The Old Court artspace, Windsor in the summer of 2020. It marked the beginning of a new direction for my art.

I had been looking for a way to combine my love of layers, grid structure, mark-making and patterns. As I cast an eye around the studio for the paper best suited to this project, I remembered my stash of uncut A1 litho-printed pages from my Windsor Emporium Sketchbook.

In 2013 I had commissioned Vision Litho to design and produce The Windsor Emporium Sketchbook, a small limited edition book of drawings I had made over the course of a year under the chandeliers of Windsor's historic Guildhall. My subjects were the visitors and vendors of the Windsor Emporium, a monthly artist-and-artisan fair featuring handmade and collectible goods. Thus began my habit of returning to the same location, month after to month, to draw for hours at a time.

Using the surplus printed sheets from the Windsor Emporium Sketchbook project, I cover a page with marks in ink and pencil so that all that remains of the printed imagery is an impression of something more under the surface. It's a time consuming process, and as the new drawing grows and covers the older sketches, I think about past and present, and the way all that has gone before influences what we do today.

Ink, pencil and charcoal on litho-printed paper
50cm x 52.5cm

Sketchbooks Wall 2

Sketchbooks Wall 3

Sketch collage wall: Live music in Windsor