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If my work had a season it would be Winter.

Many of my landscapes describe the chill of a Scandinavian winter. Frozen lakes, snow laden forests and weighty skies. I am drawn to the melancholia of dark winter nights and a bite to the air. Vast frozen spaces, remote and removed from here and a clarity in the northern light. All unfamiliar and yet intimate; they are distant places that I bring home.

I have been travelling to Sweden for the last 20 years and my time there continues to inspire my work. These paintings are created from many hundreds of photos that I take and sketches that I make which I bring back to the studio to work from. This exhibition is an opportunity to hang some of my winter paintings that I have made over the last decade, all together for the first time.

My paintings are inspired by the lakes, forests and skies of a vast Swedish landscape and a very particular Nordic light. I paint often remote and unpeopled wilderness. Crackling branches lash against smooth snow with long red shadows and fierce pink skies. Hot lupins, dark pines, dripping lakes and quiet fires. Distant echoes of the groaning, warping and thumping of a lake trapped under ice.   I am often enticed by precarious boundaries, where land meets lake and light meets dark. In these unsteady places, you are neither safe nor at risk but feel both at once.

This is a land that becomes something closer to a scene from ancient myth or folklore, where the imagination runs away and the uncanny resides. Where the real and imagined co-exist and are often difficult to determine from one another.

I work on coloured linens and canvases, sometimes leaving vast stretches unpainted, I drip and patch the thin veils and thick strokes of paint together. Colour and form knock, jar and rest against each other, a tangle makes a whole.

I invite an escape into a kind of utopia, where you can smell freedom and pine in the air, a place I think I know. Yet I nod to the nagging impossibility of it and remind you that good fairy tales have a lesson within them.   I tell darker tales and dress them up in the fabric, the costume, of colour and light.

In 2008 I was shortlisted for the prestigious Liverpool John Moores painting prize and more recently in 2015 shortlisted in the National Open Art Prize and took part in the finalists exhibition at the Royal College of Art, London. In 2011 and in 2015 I was selected to hang in the Royal West of England Academy Autumn Open competition in Bristol.

I currently work from my studio based in Painswick, Gloucestershire.



Ange Mullen-Bryan 2017