My Bathybic Heart

APRIL 2022 at Carey Blyth Gallery

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

Sea Fever by John Masefield (1878-1967)

For so many of us, the sea calls and given long enough away, we experience a deep longing to be by the ocean. Such a creature is Alison Berrett finding inspiration where the ocean meets the land. Her paintings focus on the energy and dynamic of the sea at the point that it encounters the beach. Her seascape abstractions are emotive - ‘My Bathybic Heart’ - eliciting a spectrum of responses as waves curl and churn, rolling and roiling onto the shoreline, flooding into pools in swirling eddies around rocks, leaching between pebbles. Our senses are elevated by the movement, the foaming spume, the spectrum of blues from turquoise and lilac shallows to deep indigos. Smell and taste, the grit of sand and saltwater entwined with ribbons of seaweed, the endless rhythms of tides that pull and pool, the sounds of the ocean that liberate our souls taking us from a state of exhilaration to a meditative calm.

Berrett’s paintings are Abstracted Expressionist, experiential for her, and for us as viewers. Painting the ocean over years has enabled her to perfect her alphabet and language of mark-making, allowing her to focus on the primal energy of the elements at a point of confluence. Transposing that to the land has been a natural consequence of a studio and home surrounded by open Oxfordshire farmland. Far from the coast, her attention has been drawn naturally to the dynamic of the landscape that surrounds her. It is easy to determine which of her paintings are sea-based and which are land-based, not solely from the palette but from the language that radiates from her compositions. Her landscapes are no less liberating and joyous than her seascapes as she delights in her ability to capture the relationship between the elements and their impact on her state of mind.

Alison Berrett trained in Fine Art at Exeter College of Art and Design. Graduating in 1991, she completed her PGCE at Exeter University moving to Oxfordshire in 1994 where she maintained her teaching practice at Cheney School, working also as Art Therapist whilst artist-in-residence at The Art Room Oxford.

Alison is now a full-time painter working from her studio at home in Oxfordshire.