Born in West Sussex in 1952, Annabel Gault’s landscapes emerge as indistinct, evocative hazes of light and colour. She uses many media—gouache, oil, oil stick, charcoal—on paper, to capture the light in her garden (planted and looked after by her husband). Her practice explores natural forms and empty landscapes, the only hint at human presence a house or distant lights. Andrew Lambirth finds in her work an “artist’s true understanding of the moods and hues of nature, its subtleties. Beneath the apparent careless vivacity of surface lies a profound sense of structure: the vigorous sweep and drive of the paint is balanced by a precision of drawing, a flair for accurate notation”.
Educated at West Surrey College of Art between 1973 and 1977, she completed her study at the Royal Academy Schools (1977-80). She now lives and works in Suffolk. Since 1973 she has shown in some twenty-five group exhibitions, and has had solo shows in Colchester, Oxford, Woodbridge, Ipswich, and Welshpool (Arts Council of Wales). Her first show at the Redfern Gallery was in 1993, and she has shown there regularly since. Her work is in many public collections, including the Arts Council of Great Britain, The Government Art Collection, Hampshire County Council, ING Barings, Cazenove Group PLC, and The British Museum.
Between 1993 and 1994 she painted a series of works at Butser Hill in Hampshire, which were subsequently purchased by Hampshire County Council. These pieces show dark hills and the warm browns and greens of the English countryside, their horizons topped with shaded clouds.
In 2008, Gault showed a collection of landscape paintings at the Campden Gallery, which followed her travels through Ireland (Co. Kerry), Cassis and the USA—the Valley of the Gods and New Mexico in particular. She had visited the latter over three years, from 2005 to 2008, and the paintings that she executed in the dry landscape of the Valley of the Gods shimmer with an intensity of heat, picked out in burnt oranges and bright blue skies. In contrast, those paintings that depict the harbour in Cassis are cool and dark, with buildings and glowing lights lending warmth to night scenes.
In the winter of 2010, Gault made a trip to Tresco, Scilly, where she exposed herself to the elements in order to paint small seascapes. Also in that year she documented her Suffolk garden, using oil paint on very large pieces of paper.