Glaciers, stone and marble bring primal Iceland to gallery event

Words and photos by Katrina Ffiske.

The exhibition, Tonia Gunstone X Jonathan Loxley: 63° N 19° W Coordinated, was previewed at the Vanner Gallery, Salisbury, at the beginning of November. There was a buzz the moment the doors opened, everyone welcomed in by David and Nic Christie, the owners of the gallery, with a glass of ice-cold prosecco or elderflower.
Both artists, Tonia Gunstone and Jonathan Loxley, were there to talk about their art, inspired by the landscape of Iceland. The paintings show artworks by Tonia who spent time in Iceland a year ago – the title of the exhibition showing the coordinates of where her time was spent.

Interested in the wilderness, Tonia has travelled to many places around the world. “I have always loved the landscape and our connection to it. I was drawn to Iceland because I am fascinated by the atmosphere and the geology of the country. The area I went to is linked with the glaciers and mountains. Glaciers are very primal and I was blown away by it.”
“I saw Tonia’s work during the Wylye Art Trail,” said David. “Once I heard about her trip to Iceland I knew this was an exhibition we wanted to have at the Vanner Gallery. Having seen the complete work I invited Jonathan, a local Salisbury sculptor, to come and see and respond to the paintings. They are two very talented artists that I feel honoured to have introduced.”

Once Jonathan had seen the artworks he set to work and created seven new works. He used a range of stone and marble. The works are a wonderful counterbalance to the sharp, crystal-clear works by Tonia. The movement and carving in the cold stone echoing the glaciers and mountains. The Italian marble pieces are smooth and finely finished while others, like the square work from Kilkenny stone, are more immediate
and impulsive.

Like Tonia, Jonathan is passionate about the world around him. “It is a moving moment when I start work, the first impact of a tool, the first strike into a piece of stone which has been intact for tens of millions of years.”
One person who was pleased to be at the preview was Tom Corbin, the Mayor of Salisbury. He is a great champion of the arts: “Salisbury is thrilled to have the Vanner Gallery here showing the works of local artists. The city really does have a vibrant art community and as a council we do encourage many art groups and artists.” Jacquiline Cresswell, former arts curator of The Salisbury Cathedral, said: “This is an impressive exhibition, both Tonia and Jonathan have created inspiring works that complement each other.”

The exhibition runs until December 24, 2022.

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