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Common Ground
Group exhibition by Esmé Clutterbuck, Alan Stewart, Phil Ashcroft

2nd – 23rd March 2024

Private view: Friday 1st March (6-8pm)

Studio KIND. at The Corn Store, Barnstaple Pannier Market, EX31 1SY

Open Wednesdays to Saturdays 12:00-17:00

‘Common Ground’ brings together work by three artists; Esmé Clutterbuck (Bristol), Alan Stewart (Essex) and Phil Ashcroft (London) who have all spent time in, and made work inspired by, North Devon. The exhibition celebrates the uniqueness of our area, which has been admired and honoured by artists over many years; exploring the things that bring us together against the backdrop of our landscape and diverse communities. 

Phil Ashcroft lives and works in south-east London and has been a Finalist in the John Moores Painting Prize, the Celeste Art Prize and the Contemporary Art Society’s ARTfutures. His specific form of gestural, emotive abstraction combines flattened out 1980s style art deco and graffiti influences with references to American abstraction which often threaten to overwhelm the upper sections of his canvases. Phil first focused on the beaches, rocks and seashore of Combe Martin and Ilfracombe when he undertook the North Devon Art Residency in August 2019. With long-held influences including abstract expressionism, British landscape painting, Japanese woodcuts, and graphic street art, his paintings could suggest an environment under threat, or already dead, following some unspecified catastrophe. 

Esmé Clutterbuck works in drawing, photography and print, having trained at The Royal Academy Schools and Central St Martins. Esmé’s drawings are made on a range of surfaces including walls, digital images, magazine pages, flannels and domestic linen and plaster. Her most recent drawings, using earth pigments, sourced in North Devon, explores ideas about deep time. The drawings suggest the scientific; cell formations, fabric designs, planets, solar systems, the cycles of life and the female body; generation and growth. 

Alan Stewart studied in Edinburgh and London, now living in Essex and recently shortlisted for the John Moores painting prize. Alan’s work is about belonging, particularly what it is to have a strong sense of belonging. He explores how rural communities uphold and celebrate their way of life through local traditions and customs. This is particularly visible in the towns and villages around North Devon during annual events where you can see people at their most united and fascinating, using extraordinary costumes, icons and rituals they create an incredible spectacle. Having lived in North Devon for many years, Alan has been inspired by these acts, and the people he paints are the participants of these festivals; local people who maintain the legacy they have inherited and embraced for generations. 

PhilAshcroft Tunnels Beaches 2 (Ilfracombe) aoc 61x46cm 2020 Photo TobiJenkins.jpg
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