SMALL WORLD is an exhibition of two halves - work made before and work made after the prism of Covid.
Sutton comments: Work made before was in response to two different trips: the first being a road trip and month long residency in the Midi Pyrenees in 2018, and the other a walking vacation to Orkney in 2019. On both trips, I took many contextual photos, particularly of buildings, often in rural locations. In Orkney, the Neolithic and Iron Age sites and coastal geology also loosely informed my work at that time.
In March 2020 I left my home and studio in London at the start of the pandemic, not thinking I would be spending the next 5 months in Norfolk. Along with my wife Carol Robertson (also an artist) I drove to Norfolk on the 20th March and moved into the workspace of artist Roger Ackling. He had been my closest friend before he died tragically in 2014 from Motor Neuron Disease. Our time was now spent isolating in a beautiful 1890s Art & Crafts house and large garden with its own orchard, wood and flower garden. As well as walking and working most days in the garden we spent months creating a large vegetable garden that needed constant tending. In between times I made my own work. I worked solely with small pieces of oil-painted paper or with watercolour, on a long work table by windows looking out onto a raked gravel courtyard. I started assembling collages in to distinctly shaped sets. Everything I made was on a small and intimate scale. I found myself constructing and painting in response to place and circumstance: my colour referencing the outside, to nature and landscape, to the colour and light of the changing seasons. The shapes and formats derived more from the architecture, both inside and out. I started making triangles and trapezoids. Surprisingly, it was to be an extremely creative period. The combination of garden work and walking with studio time seeked to strike a perfect balance. In hindsight, it was a very happy period.
The exhibition title, Small World, derives principally from the Norfolk collages, but also from the overwhelming feeling of no longer being free to travel abroad and from a sense of shrinking persepctive, kept from seeing friends and from shared cultural activity. A handful of people and places became my whole world in these exceptional times.
Vitis Trevor Sutton: Small World viewing room