London-based artist Charlotte Verity's poetic paintings are based on careful observation of the trees, plants, and flowers around her.Read More
Born in Germany in 1954, Verity graduated from The Slade School of Art in 1977 before winning The Slade Prize and studying in Italy on a scholarship. Since 2001, she has taught at the Royal Drawing School in London.
Working in watercolour and oil paint, Verity paints in a soft, muted palette and modernist flatness in her depictions of plant life. She often uses her garden in southeast London as reference, paying careful attention to the play of light on foliage and the curves of plants. As the artist has noted in Ocula Magazine, 'I paint with a sense of curiosity, which leaves the painting in a state of open-endedness.'
Drawing is integral to Verity's practice. She likens observational drawing to 'seeing something for the first time with the urgency of a last and final glance.'
The temporality of nature is reflected through Verity's mark-making. The oil painting Billow (2018), for example, shows a large, blooming rosebush as seen from Verity's window. Because the roses only blossom for a short time, the artist had to paint quickly; this brevity is conveyed by the light, open, and loose brushstrokes.
Verity also tracks the ebb and flow of seasons. The light-filled oil painting Hanging Pear (2003) depicts a fruit tree with pears on the ground and swelling on the branches, showing the tree at a pivotal moment of change. Similarly, the grey watercolour Holly in the Evening (2017) depicts a frozen-looking sprig of winter foliage, while the watercolour monotype CV 39 (2020) shows a sparse branch against a chilly-looking sky—suggested by a loose wash of pale blue—with just the beginning of springtime buds.
Charlotte Verity has been exhibiting her work primarily in London since 1980. Selected solo exhibitions include The Seasons' Ebb, New Art Centre, Wiltshire (2019); In Their Garden, Garden Museum, London (2018); New Paintings, Purdy Hicks, London (2015); Midwinter Spring, Boat House Gallery, Flatford (2012); London Garden, Browse and Darby, London (2002); and Anne Berthoud Gallery, London (1990, 1988, and 1984).
Verity's work is part of collections at institutions including the Arts Council of England; Derby Museum and Art Gallery; Deutsche Bank; Garden Museum, London; Imperial Health Charity Art Collection, London; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; Sir John Soane's Museum, London; Tate Education; University College London; and Westminster School.
In 2016, a monograph of Verity's work was published on the occasion of her solo exhibition New Paintings at Purdy Hicks.
Elliat Albrecht | Ocula | 2021