Monday, 6 June 2011

Peter Brook, Pennine Artist

Recently, on a day out in Swaledale, we visited a small gallery in Muker where my eye was caught by one of the works of the Pennine landscape painter, Peter Brook. In the painting, Peter and his dog walk down a snowy, woodland track into the fading sunset. They have just passed through the pool of light thrown by a street lamp as it splutters into life and there is a strange quality of light about the picture as the street lamp takes over from the glow cast by the sunset, with the figures caught between. Probably painted somewhere in his beloved Pennine country, the scene could be almost anywhere so, again, it has a strangely haunting quality of universality. Well, you can no doubt guess, I bought it as it reminded me of my grandfather and father and a particular path near my childhood home in Wales!

Peter Brook (who died in 2009) was a Pennine artist whose works capture the vastness and variety of the Yorkshire landscape and also record for us a passing culture - the life of the countryside and small villages and towns in the hills of Yorkshire which are gradually changing from tight-knit, self-reliant farming communities into more mixed social units. The countryside, however, changes less quickly and Brook captures the fields, barns, woodlands, farms, homesteads and roadsides in a way that is instantly recognisable yet slightly nostalgic, slightly wry.

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