For Epoh Beech
s latest solo exhibition in London, the accomplished fine artist has created 45 ethereal charcoal drawings, and a hand drawn animation, inspired by Wagners 'The Ring', and Francis Beaumonts 17th-century tome 'The Masque of the Inner Temple' and 'Grays Inn', 'Grays Inn and The Inner Temple': This Jacobean masque was performed at Whitehall Palace in 1613, forming an integral part of the nuptials of the daughter of King James I to Frederick V. The pairing was a metaphorical marriage of Germany with England, and a symbolic union of the Thames and the Rhine.
Beechs drawings are an investigation into the historic relationship between the Rhine and the Thames. Central characters in Beechs narrative are Hermes, in the form of a seal, and Pegasus the mythological horse, both bearing witness to the voyage of the imagination, unhindered by the straightjacket of history and time.
An expert draughtsman who trained as a fine artist at Studio Simi in Florence, Beechs drawings posses an innate romanticism which betrays literary influences such as Goethe, and a passion for music which has encompassed 9 years of violin practice and a passion for Wagnerian compositions. William Kentridge, Anselm Keifer and Samuel Palmer have also been powerful influences on Beechs practice. The use of charcoal to create such heady imagery is symbolic, and highlights the transformation of dark matter into the light, with a debt to the 15th artists of the Italian renaissance that Beech came across during her studies in Florence.
The fragile, spindly trees featured in Siegfried in the forest are reminiscent of Klimts nature paintings, whilst the moonlit mountains described in Pfalzgrafenstein Island evoke the German Romanticist Caspar David Friedrich. Beech has made a natural progression from the series of still narratives, to a 3-minute animation. The animation will be projected in the gallery, and forms a perfect visual compliment to the series of charcoals.
The animation has a dual meaning; it is both symbolic meditation on a journey into the unknown through the eyes of Pegasus and the seal, both on a quest to heal old wounds and create a sense of unity in their universe; and also an exploration of the geographical history of the Thames and Rhine, which at the end of the last ice age formed one single river. Pegasus not only represents justice and wisdom, but also acts as a muse to the Poets.
Beech is currently creating 8 murals in the crypt of St Lukes Church in Londons Sydney Street. Beechs training in Florence has infused her work with a Florentine tinge, whilst there is a strong use of narrative, combined with an investigation into the relationship between images, color and the subconscious. Beech also studied in Cheltenham and London, trained as a specialist painter with Jim Smart, a pioneer of the specialist painting trade, and spent 4 years at Chelsea School of Art. Beech currently lives and works in London, out of the ACAVA studios in West London.
The meditative quality of Beechs drawings is perhaps a result of the time she spent at a Tibetan Monastery, and her studies in Art Psychotherapy. Previous exhibitions include; "Shakespeare and Globe Theatre", (1998 Shakespeare poem exhibited in Oxford at OUP); "Walking 600 Miles to Santiago de Compostella across Spain", (2002 exhibition); "Walking Along the Rhine From Source" (on going), (2004 exhibition). Beech has spent time working in a hospice and prison as an art teacher, has an MA in Art Therapy, and runs art workshops.