Harbours and Havens

Harbours and Havens neatly captures the subject of Gardiner’s paintings: the south coast of England, which he has been patiently, creatively, exploring for over three decades. In Harbours and Havens are paintings that revisit and re-present subjects, reflecting the light that alters the cast and colour of the coast from minute to minute; paintings that refresh, recalibrate and revitalise our vision of landscape through Gardiner’s eyes. In a culture that fetishises speed and convenience, we are invited to slow our response: to contemplate a timeless subject (landscape) and a medium (painting) that retains its commitment to the handmade.

More recently, since 2018, Gardiner has mastered the technique of marbling, familiar from the patterned endpapers of 19th-century books. Used sensitively, as in examples from 2023 (Mousehole IV, Cornwall; St Michael’s Mount from Marazion II, Cornwall; and Copper Lode, Trewavas I, Cornwall), it evokes water or the veining of rock, in colours that weave a dreamlike skein across the composition.

Judith LeGrove