Varvara Roza Galleries and K. Nichols Contemporary are presenting a new show, ‘Release’ by Amanda Watt, at Gallery Eight, London. Watt’s first large-scale solo show in the UK since the 1980s combines her interiors, landscapes and depictions of the female form to create a bold, bright and brave display. All painted since returning to her native Northern Ireland after almost thirty years in the USA. As a result, the pieces have taken on a new sensitivity and emotional expression.
An outpouring of energy and emotion that creates an explosion of colour and form
This latest body of work is an artistic release: an outpouring of energy and emotion that creates an explosion of colour and form. Watt investigates her personality, experiments with paint and canvas, and trusts her intuition, letting her memory and imagination lead the way. Inspired by her life in California and Florida and her subsequent return to Ireland, ‘Release’ is an epiphany for Watt, a true outflowing of creativity.
The art of Amanda Watt is a fusion of East and West, a melting pot of various movements. A thirst for knowledge and a peripatetic mind means that she draws inspiration from sources as varied as Japanese Shunga and woodblock prints, cubism, expressionism, orientalism and fauvism. This unexpected juxtaposition of different styles results in a manner unique to Watt: Fusionism. For her still lifes and interior scenes, Watt delves into her memory and imagination to retrieve the images for her paintings. She combines pattern-making with a playful attitude towards perspective to draw viewers into her canvases and infuse inanimate objects with life.
‘Release’ will feature paintings’ Hollywood Hills’, ‘Hockney’s View’ and ‘The Chair’, which evoke the 1980s Los Angeles- era paintings of David Hockney, playing with perspective and flooded with colour. Watt’s paintings are also reminiscent of the luminous, colourful Impressionist still lifes and depictions of the Cote d’Azur by Henri Matisse and Raoul Dufy.
With this new solo exhibition ‘Release’, Amanda Watt’s paintings will offer a welcome escape from the trials and tribulations of contemporary life, from the fear of climate change and war. The final release from the barriers erected by COVID-19 into a world imbued with vibrant colour, light and an alternative escapist artist’s perspective.
Watts explains the inspiration behind her work:”Release is the culmination of many years’ work since returning to Northern Ireland. The process has been a substantial creative release. I have been emotionally honest and unabashedly put it all on the canvas to view. “Every technical and intuitive weapon in my armoury has been employed to imbue this body of work with absolute and complete authenticity. The backstories and memories attached to some of the paintings may not always be the most wholesome, but now seeing it in its entirety, I believe the result is bright, bold, positive and uplifting.”
Varvara Roza, Founder and CEO of Varvararoza Galleries, says about Katharine Nichols and Amanda Watt: “I came across Amanda’s work four years ago when I met and started to work with Katharine Nichols! From the first moment I familiarised myself with her artworks and artistic oeuvre, I was absolutely impressed. Amanda’s work synthesises honest emotions, love, expressionism of her inner soul and the manifestation of her vulnerability. For Amanda, art is more than the mere production of compelling images. It is way beyond that. It’s a way of life, expressing and, finally, how she visualises the world through her own eyes and depicts it on her canvases.
I am looking forward to working with Katharine on this exciting project and fantastic solo exhibition by Amanda Watt! It’s a real honour being part of her first solo exhibition in London, a city which is one of the most important centres of the contemporary art world and a global hub of fine art that will embrace and bring out the best of Amanda’s artwork.”
Katharine Nichols, Director of K. Nichols Contemporary, comments: “I have been working with Amanda for almost five years now and am thrilled to be teaming up with Varvara Roza Galleries to be giving her the solo show she undoubtedly deserves. We have showcased her work in galleries and societies across the UK, but she is a highly collectable artist, and the heart of Mayfair is where her career truly belongs.
“‘Release’ has been coming along, being delayed several times by the COVID-19 pandemic. To a certain extent, the show’s title references the release from the mental and physical confines of the pandemic. The true core of the exhibition, however, is a reflection of Amanda’s abounding artistic energy and her greatest yet creative release.”
Amanda Watt was born in Northern Ireland and graduated from the Belfast College of Art and Design in 1982. After three years in London, she was given an opportunity by one of her collectors to move to Los Angeles, where she spent the next twenty years building a successful career as an artist. With annual solo shows in LA, San Francisco and New York, Amanda’s bright, vibrant interior scenes and semi-abstract figurative and landscape paintings became a staple of Californian society. Watt’s key collectors include casino mogul Steve Wynn, award-winning film director Barry Levinson, Cultural Ambassador Vanessa Branson, former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, and fashion designer Marla Ginsburg. In addition, her work is held in vital global collections, including Allied Irish Bank, Dublin; ARCO Corporation, California and Nagi Corporation, Tokyo.
Watt considers herself a ‘Fusionist’, merging styles that inspire her while playing with the fusion of East and West. She combines orientalism and primitivism with western cubist principles and the expressionists’ use of colour to create bright and vibrant figurative images. She is influenced by the pattern-making of Gustav Klimt, the highly stylised figures of Tom Wesselman and Alex Katz, and Rainer Fetting’s use of bold colour and gestural brushstrokes. Japanese woodblock prints and Gauguin’s Tahitian women have also inspired her. At the same time, the bright Californian colours of David Hockney and the decisive curves of Matisse are recognisable in her work.
Amanda favours acrylic paint, which allows a fast pace of work with spontaneous gestures. Transparent washes precede bold primary colours to create depth and vibrancy. Multiple motifs, all from memory or imagination, are peppered throughout her work: highly stylised furniture; a picture within a picture; a torso – fragmented parts that on their own don’t necessarily make sense, carefully placed to create a balanced whole.
Varvara Roza is the owner and Managing Director of Varvara Roza Galleries. Varvara has a track record of organising cultural events on a large scale not only in Greece but also in London, Paris, Berlin and the rest of Europe. Being a successful businesswoman in the energy industry and a former politician in her home country, Greece, she has always loved contemporary art. She has been collecting for over 20 years. She is passionately combining the two great passions of her life: her political and entrepreneurial life in Greece with her enduring love for art and its evolution. In doing so, she has decided to strongly support and promote Greek Art in London. London is one of the most important art centres in the world, a place that, to a large extent, acts as a barometer for the global art market. Through her extensive experience working in the cultural sector, she introduces some of the brightest protagonists of Greek Art to the London art market. Varvara Roza Galleries aims to promote and establish Greek Art in the UK and European markets.
K. Nichols Contemporary is a full-service art consultancy specialising in Modern and Contemporary art. Based in London but operating globally, K. Nichols Contemporary offers first-time buyers and passionate collectors alike strategic advice on buying, selling, and managing their art collections. Whether for investment purposes or to adorn the walls of a home, K. Nichols Contemporary utilises market insight, industry contacts and a roster of key emerging and established artists to source the most relevant and beautiful artworks. K. Nichols Contemporary also believes in championing the work of talented emerging and mid-career artists and has been an agent to Amanda Watt since 2017.
Amanda Watt ‘Release’: 23 September – 8 October 2022 Venue: Gallery 8, 8 Duke Street, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6BN Invitation only private view in partnership with Club Vivanova: Thursday 22 September, 6-9 pm Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 11 am – 7 pm