This is the second solo exhibition at STOA from Annabel Overbury, British artist who has been living in Estepona for many years. The intimate and personalized landscape is one of the most prominent genres in Annabel’s artistic production, as are her delicate flowers. This is not surprising, considering her artistic education, originally British, and let alone, adding her fascination with Mediterranean light. If you add to that her love and lifelong commitment to environmentalism and the natural environment, we have a fairly accurate idea of Annabel’s art.
The exhibition consists of 42 works of medium and small format with a common theme, landscape and still life of cut flowers. Watercolours predominate, the artist’s favourite technique, of which she makes masterful use, and a new mixed technique where tissue paper is the main element. The support is usually paper, but also cotton and linen canvas. Fluid brush strokes abound, analytical studies and sketches that could become works of larger format in the future, or stay as they are, with that superb freshness found in the watercolour washes.
Annabel’s landscape must be incarnated in the tradition called European “au plein air”, fervent supporter of outdoor artistic exercise. The artist’s working system consists in precisely that, in going to the countryside, choosing the landscape that inspires her and, patiently, fall under its spell, entering the union with the refreshing energy that is reflected in all her work. This “plenairist” exercise requires a deep understanding of all the elements, truly complex in the case of this artist, despite its apparent simplicity, for her paintings transmit sounds, rhythms and beats in each composition, as well as rumors, cadences and rhymes of a subjacent writing, all this constituting a delightful vegetable score. Through the threshing elements that compose these “anabeliana operas” comes the syncretic phase, of complex conceptualization, to establish the “less is more” in her paintings, without losing completeness. Part of that process is done in the monastic space of the studio, a sacred place for every artist, a sanctum in which, far from the eyes of the uninitiated, there is a “pictorial substantiation”, the real miracle of turning pigments and binders in quasi-divine material in which the officiant, in this case Anna, manipulate acrylics, watercolours, inks, pigments as they are, in what we would call “annabeliana mixed techniques” where the tissue paper is also present, gently deposited, masterfully juxtaposed, or finely folded and crumpled, on paper or canvas.
Her position is not that of a violent or decisive complaint of environmental degradation; hers is the flag of subtlety. Without doubt the term subtle acquires all meaning in Annabel’s work. The nature she describes and exalts is, on the one hand, delicate, soft, full of tenderness, but at the same time, it appears to be covered by a glaze of ingenuity, resulting from her sharp and perceptive vision. They are landscapes that capture you for their lyricism, their pictorial environmentalism and the sound of water as the centerpiece, but they are also real “symphonic poems” where the brushstrokes interpret a score where the landscape elements are anthropomorphic beings who speak, converse, sing, dance but always chaired by the serenity, emotional depth and elegance that are a reflection of herself, true self-portraits of the soul, for there is a lot of Annabel in these luminous harmonies.