How does a war artist recover from the trauma of representing pain and conflict? Our current Petworth show, Gordon Rushmer's Rother Country, offers one answer. When he's not travelling the world and sketching the soldiers, refugees and exclusion zones that describe a region in conflict, Rushmer retreats to the countryside near his West Sussex home and explores a very different visual terrain. These watercolours share the closely observed precision of Rushmer's war images, but these vignettes of landscape, wildlife and everyday rural life dwell instead upon charm and repose, portrayed with an even-handed attentiveness that seems almost meditative.
On Saturday 16 September we celebrated the exhibition with lunchtime drinks at the gallery with the artist. The vibrant watercolours of familiar sights were popular with a mostly local crowd, but also attracted visitors from further afield. Rushmer said, 'The launch of my first exhibition with Rountree Tryon has been a success in no small part due to the enthusiasm and professionalism of the team. The collection of forty watercolours exhibited took some twelve months to create and hopefully show the beauty and history of my beloved Rother Valley. It was lovely to meet with some of my regular collectors and also get together with family and friends whose continued support I value greatly.'
In addtion to the Petworth show, work documenting Gordon's experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan is featured in Rountree Tryon's upcoming London show, War: Land, Sea, Air. As Rushmer says, 'I'm looking forward to showing ten of my war pieces, where I will hang alongside war artists from the past. This is an exhibition not to be missed!'
Gordon Rushmer's Rother Country runs until 23 September. In addition to the framed pieces, the gallery is selling a selection of unframed pieces, books and cards by the artist.