Conversations with Nature: Helen Thomas, Alison Critchlow and Natalie Dowse

27 July 2022 - 21 August 2022

Conversations with Nature brings together the works of three contemporary painters from across the UK, Alison Critchlow, Natalie Dowse and Helen Thomas, in a new exhibition that celebrates the artists’ relationship with the natural environment.

From plants that squeeze their way through the cracks in the pavement, to the uncanny and the familiar in the urban and natural landscape, this collection of paintings is a recognition of their shared explorations. Whether from a physical connection or an emotional feeling, or a combination of the two, the artworks in this gallery apply the language of paint to explore the beauty and unpredictability of nature.

The three artists originally studied together at Falmouth School of Art, Cornwall, and 2022 marks the 30th anniversary since their graduation. Conversations with Nature will be the first time their work has been shown together in three decades and is a celebration of their achievements, friendship and innate connection to the natural world.

Artists in Conversation

Sunday 21 August, 13:30–14:30

Join Alison Critchlow, Natalie Dowse and Helen Thomas in conversation with Joanna Whittle as they discuss Conversations with Nature.

As well as being a member of Contemporary British Painting. award winning artist Joanna Whittle has had multiple solo exhibitions across the UK, with her dramatic and organic paintings which bridge the gap between reality and imagination. Together, Joanna and the artists will discuss the exhibition and explore what it means to interpret the natural environment.

This if a free event and everyone is welcome!


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Exhibition Access

We provide various access accommodations depending on the nature of each exhibition (more information about our accommodations for this show coming soon).

Did you know that we offer exhibition private views by appointment? As well as having level access throughout the building, we can accommodate private views for any visitor who is unable to visit during standard open hours.

To find out more about our approach to access, download our social story to support your visit, or to book a private appointment visit our Access page.


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Artist Biographies

Alison Critchlow is a contemporary painter with a broad, investigative approach. Based in Cumbria, she spends her time between studio practice and educational projects. Informed by sensory experience, memory and observation, Critchlow’s paintings merge together representation and abstraction. The process and language of painting is central to her approach, using the texture, speed and pace of marks to spark conversations and curiosity.

Natalie Dowse is based in Portsmouth and has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Working with photographs, she emphasises the split-second moment by careful composition and reframing. Questioning the validity and truth of the lens-based image, she aims to elevate the status of the original source material, drawing on the considered value and historic importance of painting and image production.

Helen Thomas is a Yorkshire-based artist and studio holder at The Art House. Often inspired by the overlooked, and sometimes controversial self-seeding plants, her work explores responses to nature in its everyday environment. Thomas’s practice includes field and studio work, alongside educational and collaborative projects.

Image: Helen Thomas, Yarrow and Nettle on Smyth Street, 2021. Courtesy of the artist.

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