A triptych of large-scale paintings by artist Pippa Blake will go 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 Who’ll Watch Over Me’ by Irish playwright Frank McGuinness, performed at Chichester’s Minerva Theatre in autumn.
The focus of Pippa Blake’s second residency at the theatre, ‘Someone Who’ll 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 Who’ll Watch Over Me’ whilst drawing, watching and listening to the three hostage’s 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.”
Blake’s first residency at Chichester Festival Theatre was in 2014 when she focused on Richard Bean’s play ‘Pitcairn’ about the colonising of the 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 Who’ll Watch Over Me’ said, “Pippa was with us for quite a while during rehearsals and effortlessly became 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 the Chichester Harbour. An alumni of Camberwell College of Art, London, she also graduated from West Dean College’s 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 the images of the aftermath of war and terrorism.
Pippa Blake: Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me will be on display in the Garden Gallery at Pallant House Gallery from 10 May – 19 June 2016. Entry to the Garden Gallery is free.
About Pallant House Gallery
Pallant House Gallery is a unique combination of an historic Queen Anne townhouse and contemporary extension, housing one of the best collections of Modern British art in the country. widely acclaimed for its innovative temporary exhibitions and exemplary Learning and Community Programme which has inclusion at its heart, the Gallery has won numerous awards since re-opening in 2006, including the Gulbenkian Prize, the largest for arts and cultural organisations in the country.
About Chichester Festival Theatre
Chichester Festival Theatre is one of the UK’s flagship theatres with an international reputation for producing work of the highest quality, ranging from large-scale musicals to distinguished dramas. with its bold thrust stage design, the Festival Theatre is one of the UK’s most striking playhouses; the smaller Minerva Theatre sits nearby. The newly refurbished Festival Theatre reopened in 2014, following the completion of a major project to restore and upgrade its Grade II listed building, and now proudly matches its world-class artistic reputation with world-class spaces.