Annette de Mestre

When asked what I am trying to say with my paintings, I have to confess that I am not trying to say anything – but I am trying to find something. I believe that if I can find that ‘something’ that I am searching for, then and only then will my painting say something – something that I was not clear about in the first place. I worry away at the paint, pushing it here and there, the subject matter permanently in danger of transformation, or even obliteration. The painting could end up upside down or even sideways on. I feel very intense, as I scrub away at the canvas, yet I’m sure if I scrub away hard enough, I might eventually get behind the subject and even the paint itself, and there I might find what I am looking for.

I mostly paint people and birds. They are nearly always alone even if I wanted to add more, I couldn’t. The paintings demand to remain uncluttered, free from unnecessary things. For me the act of painting has to be a prayer: a recognition of the all absorbing stillness, of that moment when life is silent, ‘and bodies are still enough for birds to land on.’ I feel that I am endlessly reaching out to that bare illusive spirit.

Selection of exhibitions from 1969 – 2014: – William ware Gallery, Sloane St, London. Gloucester Cathedral. Avoncroft Museum Worcester. Galerie s’art, Metz France. Galerie de Schuur Ammerstol Holland. Stockvis Galerie, Rotterdam, Holland. Europhalle, Trier Galerie, Germany. Yew Tree Gallery, Stroud and Cornwall. Bartley Drey London SW3. Royal West of England Academy Bristol. Royal Academy London. Piers Feetham Gallery London SW6. Carlyle Gallery London SW3. Mid Wales House Gallery, Newbridge. 54 The Gallery, Shepherd Market London W1. The Troubadour Gallery London SW3. The Boundary Gallery, London SW9.

1964-84 Jointly formed Courtyard Arts Trust on a barge in Gloucester docks bringing together musicians from all over the world.
1988-97 Created and directed Theatre on the Hill, (a theatre of Masks and life size puppets).

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