Two hundred and fifty three

Garden Ghosts

By Sharon Elphick
Elphick’s, Columbia Road;

Elphick’s prints are bold, relying on the clarity of her compositions which, though are often intricately detailed through her use of photography, are clean and fresh with their use of line and colour. Pattern and print breathe through her designs, giving these compositions historical grounding and reassurance – they build on what has come before them, drawing on colour palettes and the simple effect of repetition, allowing a comfortable recognition on the part the viewer. This is not to say that Elphick’s designs are not original; there is just a slight ingrain of what has previously been – an element that often enters into printed design, tying repeated pattern into the evolution of decorative arts. Garden Ghosts is a chequer-board of snap shots of the English garden, encasing images of beautiful simplicity – branches of blossom or budding leaves, daisies on grass and a tree stump at the edge of the woods. Small, but carried by their subtle light-filled colourations, these images appear as a background of natural idealism to the elegant outlines of Elphick’s minimalistic birds. Brilliantly white, their shapes hover, perch and cling to these perfect environments. Though their impactful stamp of saturated colour makes them appear larger than life, they are scaled down to each individual background and Elphick manages not to overpower any detail of each image. There is a lot to take in across this patchwork of gardens, yet the intrigue is one of joy as each scene is happily recognised as a detail of a perfect day outside. The colours – the lush greens, pale pinks and ochre yellows – create a pleasing atmosphere of agreeable harmony as they complement each other in a subtle palette of naturalism. The colours are perfect yet taken from what truly exists – the clarity of a blue sky and the blush of a flower’s petal. Countered perfectly by the white forms, Elphick’s Garden Ghosts is triumphant in effect and impact, playful in creation of design.


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