A triptych of large-scale paintings by artist Pippa Blake is on display at Pallant House Gallery
this spring following her time as Artist in Residence at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2015. The works respond to the powerful play Someone Wholl Watch Over Me by Irish playwright Frank McGuinness, performed at Chichesters Minerva Theatre in the autumn.
The focus of Pippa Blakes second residency at the theatre, Someone Wholl Watch Over Me was inspired by the experiences of those taken hostage in Lebanon in the 1980s and explores the bonds forged through shared adversity by three prisoners: Adam, an American doctor, Edward, an Irish journalist and Michael, an English academic. A powerful testimony to the resilience of the human spirit, the play was directed by Michael Attenborough CBE. The cast was David Haig, Rory Keenan and Adam Rayner.
Blake says: Sitting in rehearsals for Someone Wholl Watch Over Me whilst drawing, watching and listening to the three hostages reactions to each other gave me the rare chance to capture what it might mean to be in captivity. Albeit a silent observer it was a privilege to be one of the team and to witness not only the raw emotions and relationships that developed between the characters in the play but also to watch the input from the director, cast and crew as the production gradually developed.
Blakes first residency at Chichester Festival Theatre was in 2014 when she focused on Richard Beans play Pitcairn about the colonizing of a South Pacific island in 1789. The residency marked the first time the artist had used theatre as a starting point for her work, exploring the visuals, atmosphere and psychology of a play. The resulting paintings were exhibited in London and at West Dean College.
Michael Attenborough CBE, director of Someone Wholl Watch Over Me said, "Pippa was with us for quite a while during rehearsals and effortlessly become one of the team. It was rather thrilling to have a visual artist amongst us and the raw vulnerability of her images bears testimony both to her talent and the power of Frank McGuinness' extraordinary play."
Pippa was born in Portsmouth in 1954 and now lives and works on Chichester Harbour. An alumni of Camberwell College of Art, London, she also graduated from West Dean Colleges postgraduate Visual Art Programme in 2005. She has travelled the world extensively, frequently exhibiting in both New Zealand and the UK (London and West Sussex). Her work is often inspired by moving film stills and internet news sites and more recently has focused on images of the aftermath of war and terrorism.
Pippa Blake was born in Portsmouth, England in 1954, and studied Fine Art (Painting) at Camberwell College of Art, London from 1972 to 1976 gaining BA Hons ( First Class ). During that time she exhibited with the New Contemporaries and in the Stowells Trophy, R.A. In 2005 she graduated from the Visual Arts Programme, West Dean College, Sussex with a Postgraduate Diploma (Distinction).
Blake has travelled the world extensively but now lives and works on Chichester Harbour near the Hampshire/Sussex border. She frequently exhibits in the UK and New Zealand. In 2014 Blake showed work in Paris at the Galerie du Jour Agnes B and in 20 Painters The Phoenix Gallery, Brighton.