Flower power rules at Hampstead's Catto Gallery

The English love their gardens, but they know that there s no floral glory without a great deal of pruning and weeding. This month, the nation s gardeners descend as usual on West London for the annual sell-out Chelsea Flower Show – and it got us wonderin

The English love their gardens, but they know that there's no floral glory without a great deal of pruning and weeding. This month, the nation's gardeners descend as usual on West London for the annual sell-out Chelsea Flower Show - and it got us wondering, where is the floral celebration for North London? Well, here it is: The Catto Gallery's Hampstead Flower Show - a bit like the one in Chelsea but with no hay fever, free admission and fewer bees.

Horticulturists who love art (and vice versa) will be able to luxuriate in an exhibition where every one of the works on display bursts with floral splendour. They've got paintings of flowers, sculpture for the garden - they've even got a horse covered in flowers! And the Catto Gallery are delighted to welcome two new artists to the elite band that have contributed to the show.

Alan Parry's wonderfully tranquil paintings shimmer with the warmth of late summer English evenings. Many of them were painted in the heart of England near his home in Worcestershire, where the fruit trees burst into blossom and there's Elgar on the soundtrack. In the greatest English gardens, there's immense structure and formal planning underpinning the glory of nature. Alan's works are the same: they're simply beautiful, but you get the impression that every inch of the canvas has been carefully considered before a single brushstroke is applied.

While Alan celebrates the formal beauty of the curated landscape, our second debutante artist, Emma O'Rourke, applies herself to nature in it's purest form in the close-up floral studies she calls 'flowerscapes'. Local girl and St Martin's graduate, Emma began painting as a child and worked in fields as diverse as fashion styling, photography and art direction before committing to a full-time career as an artist in 2000. Since then she has perfected a semi-abstract technique in which the paint itself becomes part of the overall effect.


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The Catto is delighted to welcome Alan and Emma to the fold. For this show their paintings will line up alongside new works by some of the Catto's most established artists. They range from the impressionistic brilliance of Nick Verrall to the sensational still lives of Sue Fitzgerald, each one inspired by the exotic overseas wanderings of this fabulous colourist. Then there's Bernhard Vogel, with his technically flawless watercolour studies, and finally David Gerstein, whose playful pop art wall sculptures and ornaments make everyone smile.

Come down and get yourself a cutting.

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