Up until then, their academic discipline and practice reflected a difference in self-expression. Jeremy had always been entirely focused on painting, studying at Kingston University and Chelsea School of Art. Since graduation he had worked from his studio in London, achieving serious recognition but little financial reward.
Patricia found her voice in both visual art and drama and had studied drawing and painting at Northampton and at the University of Sussex before switching to a course in the Laban Dance Method at Goldsmith’s College and, later, mime and drama at the Academy of Live and Recorded Art in Wandsworth.
Since graduation, she had worked as a professional actress in theatre, TV, and radio and had written, directed and performed a physical comedy solo show but had always kept her sketchbook on the go and continued to paint.
When Patricia first saw Jeremy’s work she was moved to tears, recognising the assurance towards which she had been striving for years, particularly in his choice of colours, oranges and blues and the depth and overlayering of the paint on his canvases. She started to emulate the movement of his painting, knowing that it expressed her own theatricality, the canvas being the stage where the drama is enacted. Jeremy’s support and enthusiasm gave her freedom and courage.
In retrospect, Patricia feels that what she gave Jeremy’s work was similar. Her love and encouragement increased and sustained his confidence but her Mediterranean liberality also helped to continue the process of his shedding the paralysis of self-expression which he felt he had inherited from the cultural and historic milieu of the Northern Ireland into which he had been born.
Their move to Fermanagh was prompted by his inheriting his parents’ historic home in Lisbellaw. There, settling happily into marriage, Jeremy worked on his “Hill of History” series for his 1994 exhibition in London. Those works were highlighted as “critics choice” in the Sunday Independent:
“........they glow with colour and are imbued with the spirit of his native land”: Ian Gale.
In the works chosen for this exhibition, a common thread, literally, is the use of the orange line. Jeremy often used lines in his paintings. He called them his calligraphy. The sweeps of orange round his late canvases were part of his expression of feelings about his illness. Since his death, Patricia feels that the lines round her paintings are indicative of her struggle to hold her life, and that of their daughter, Bella, together.
Jeremy exhibited widely at some very prestigious venues, including The Royal Academy and The ICA in London, The Hendriks Gallery, Dublin and a one-man show at the Arts Council Gallery in Belfast.
Patricia continues to exhibit. Venues include The Southwark Gallery, Fermanagh County Museum and The Higher Bridges Gallery.