This series of watercolour monotypes was conceived at the beginning of 2020 and continued over the course of the year. For Charlotte Verity, work on these prints intensified during lockdown; at a time when the outside world was often unrecognisable, she drew closer to what was directly to hand, completing at least one monotype every week. Just as the artist gradually overcame the technical challenges of working in a new medium, the series is notable for its sense of continual discovery. When viewed chronologically, these small-scale works measure out with extreme subtlety the moments and stages of an unpredictable, turbulent and historic year.
The layering of paint and the precision of Verity’s drawing are carried over from her paintings into the monotypes, while the fleeting nature of her subject lends itself to the pace demanded by printmaking. Pale backgrounds are sometimes punctuated by bursts of colour describing a bright red acer or a sprig of spiky green holly. In other works, Verity employs close tonal variations, presenting autumnal leaves almost in silhouette, evoking the kind of melancholy reminiscent of the end of summer. Diverse in their range of plant life and varied in composition, this considerable body of work echoes the changing seasons: skies turn from frosty grey to vivid blue as buds emerge and bloom, then predictably wither and fall away, ready for the cycle to start once again.
Part II of the exhibition will coincide with the publication of a new Ridinghouse book dedicated to the prints by Rachel Giles.