Jeffery Camp, RA
Published to coincide with the 2018 exhibition: 70 Years of Drawing at the Art Space Gallery, London.
The full catalogue can be viewed online here
Following the death of Jeffery Camp in 2020, Brantwood hosted a exhibition of his works the following year – In Arial’s Wake:
In Arial’s Wake celebrates Jeffrey Camp’s transcendent, spirit-driven dance in the skies above and beyond Beachy Head. In flower topped cliffs lovers become weightless, soar over the sea or strain through the storm to brave vertiginous faces of chalk. In Camp’s world the brush is Prospero’s wand, wielding supernatural powers that spring the human body into space and beyond material limitation. Jeffrey’s infectious joy in life is here, so too its moments of darkness, pain and confusion. Everything is precipitous. Everything precious.
Following its tradition of exploring visionary landscape painting, the Blue Gallery presents some of Camp’s most alchemical and enchanting oils of Beachy Head together with life-class studies that underpin the seemingly impossible elevations of the figures in his enormous paintings.
Camp spent nearly the entirety of his long life painting and it was landscape and the edges of it that were fundamental to his painting since the 1940s when he returned to his native Suffolk to paint the beaches at Pakefield. In the 1960s Camp found the epic chalk cliffs at Beachy Head, Sussex, and this landmark became the defining motif of his life’s work, dominating paintings for the next 50 years.
These vistas of Beachy Head are finely observed, specific places, and yet they often contain a sense of otherworldliness. Camp’s vertiginous, ancient clifftops rich with wildflowers and birds are so impossibly fresh that they must be glimpsed in a vision. Amorous couples loll among the grasses and are caressed by the light of the sun, lost in the reveries of eternal youth. These cliff edges are dreamt places, as well as spaces from where daydreams are conjured.
All of life is here. Lithe and languorous youths embrace and play as the restless sea slowly claims the crumbling cliff. The sensation that a sudden gust of wind might threaten to lift a body over the edge is tempered by the feeling that these bodies would only be carried weightlessly, entwined, up into the pale blue sky. These are paintings of long epochs and of fleeting moments.
In collaboration with Art Space Gallery www.artspacegallery.co.uk