The publication of Aspects of Landscape coincides with a retrospective exhibition at the Southampton City Art Gallery: 13 March – 27 June 2020. This first book about John Hitchens’ art work spans 50 years and includes unseen new work. The artwork is accompanied by an essayby Caroline Collier about Johns’ work as well as an epilogue by Peter Khoroche (biographer of Ivon Hitchens), placing John’s work in the context of an artists’ family.
Aspects of Landscape presents paintings by John Hitchens, created over a period of more than five decades. His main subject and source of inspiration is the landscape of the British Isles, its hills and field patterns, woodland, sea, the night sky and forms in nature.
John achieved early acclaim in the 1960s and ’70s when his work was represented by Marjorie Parr and Montpelier Studios, both in London. A series of successful exhibitions led to acquisitions of his work by many public and private collections in the UK and overseas. Since the 1990s John Hitchens’ work became increasingly studio-based and abstract, but still influenced by the landscape of the South Downs and the woodlands that surround his studio and that he has known since childhood.
The book traces the artists’ journey from early descriptive paintings to increasingly abstract ways of interpreting landscape, reducing its forms to lines, circles and patterns. In his recent paintings John Hitchens has developed a unique personal form of abstraction and imagined landscape forms which sets it apart from conventional abstract painting. Much of this new body of work has never been exhibited and remains little known.
The accompanying essay by Caroline Collier is a first attempt to evaluate the paintings of John Hitchens as a whole and to connect different periods of work, that has up to now only been presented in parts, and in selective exhibitions.