Art: Jutta Koether – Seasons and Sacraments, Arnolfini

Jutta Koether is a master of paint. Her large canvasses are entire worlds of generously applied bright colours and appealing shapes that create other-worldly scenarios. The current exhibition showing at Arnolfini is of new and recent works that Koether has created in response to the artist Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665).

The opening room of the exhibition is sparsely curated to say the least. For me, the paintings looked rather lost on the high grey walls. But I liked that. It gave me time to enjoy my favourite piece in the room – an untitled mixed-media reworking of a lifestyle magazine shot of Queen Elizabeth riding past Balmoral Castle. Koether's paint adds a line of bang-up-to-date dialogue to a scene steeped in tradition. The canvasses on the wall surround a central totem of found items from Bristol.

The next gallery houses The Seasons (based on Poussin's The Four Seasons) depicting spring, summer, autumn and winter with brilliant energy and a charming familiarity; the excited brightness of summer is almost warm enough to feel in Seasons II and that feeling of looking outwards into a darkened world in midwinter is perfectly shown in Seasons IV. They are exhibited rather high on the walls – I would have liked to have been a little closer to the paint.

Along with The Seasons, other highlights for me are the eclectic sculptures under strikingly smooth clear liquid acrylic surfaces in The Seven Sacraments. I enjoyed the exquisite detail of these, and the contrast they offered to the large canvasses.

And those canvasses... Jutta Koether's canvasses are captivating. I love her use of circular shapes and her confident application of zig-zagged paint. This exhibition is definitely worth a visit.

The Seasons I | acrylic and oil on canvas, 2012

The Seasons II | acrylic and oil on canvas, 2012
The Seasons III | acrylic and oil on canvas, 2012

The Seasons IV | acrylic and oil on canvas, 2012

untitled | mixed media

Confirmation | liquid acrylic; acrylic on canvas; glass, 2013 | Photo: Ruth Clark
The Seven Sacraments | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Jutta Koether: Seasons and Sacraments shows at Arnolfini, Bristol until 7th July.


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