From 27 June to 7 September 2023, the Domaine de Rocheville, near Saumur, will be showing the works of painter David Ash in a new exhibition entitled “This is not a photograph !” His incredibly realistic paintings will leave you breathless.
David Ash: a multi-talented painter from the Loire Valley
Who is David Ash ?
His business card reads: painter, sculptor, draughtsman, photographer, writer, poet, singer, musician, connoisseur, gourmand.
To define David Ash in a single word would be a bit reductive! Describing him as a versatile contemporary artist is closer to the truth, even if it is in his capacity as a painter that he has been invited to Domaine de Rocheville.
For the first time, around forty of his paintings will adorn the estate’s large glass-enclosed tasting room in Parnay throughout the summer.
David Ash’s training
Born in England, David Ash is a graduate of two prestigious art schools: Chelsea School of Art, where he obtained a BA (Bachelor of Arts), and the Royal College of Art in London, where he obtained an MA (Master of Arts).
Originally a portrait painter, the artist worked as a professional photographer for 40 years.
In 2013, David Ash moved to France, to “the land of his heart”, more precisely to Les Rosiers-sur-Loire (Maine et Loire). There, inspired by where he lived, he began painting again, specialising in landscapes and still life compositions. As a photographer, he conceived his photos as paintings. Now he uses painting to give the image added depth and enrich it with his personal vision.
His exhibitions in France and abroad
Throughout his career, this prolific artist has exhibited his work on numerous occasions in London (Thumb Gallery, Chelsea Arts Club, Royal College of Art) as well as in Sweden and, of course, in France : in Paris (Galerie Libre Est l’Art, 2019) and in the Pays de la Loire region (Brissac Quincé, Saint Aubin de Luigné, Les Ponts de Cé, Saumur…).
Awards received by David Ash
Nominated for the Prix de Rome in London in 1968 (which he received two years later, after the student demonstrations), he has also won numerous awards. These include the Brill Prize in 1974, the Grand Prix D&AD (Design and Art Direction) in 1975 and, more recently, the Prix de la Ville des Ponts de Cé in 2021, the Prix de la Ville de Gorron (Mayenne) in 2022, and the Prix du Meilleur Pastel in Chemillé in 2022, to name but a few.
The artist’s inspirations
Strongly influenced by his many travels around the world and his move to Anjou, David Ash paints portraits, landscapes (hills, forests, sea) and still lifes.
His aim is to “bring a breath of joy to those who look at my paintings“.
The result is a mixture of hyperrealism and abstraction, canvases in flamboyant colours where light plays a central role.
David Ash’s techniques
David Ash is constantly looking for new techniques to bring his ideas to life.
In his artistic practice, he experiments with different approaches. He is particularly fond of creating small masks and draws inspiration from the batik method for some of his work.
To add an expressive dimension to the backgrounds of his paintings, he uses ink rollers or soft sponges soaked in watercolour, creating broad bands of colour, for example to represent the sky.
For the finest details, the painter uses rotring pens, watercolour pencils and ink pens.
He also enthusiastically explores ecu pastels, soft pastels that offer a wide chromatic range.
Light is at the heart of his artistic preoccupations and he can devote whole days to perfecting his creations.
As David Ash explains, “In this world so rich in artwork, it’s hard to be original but I try.“
What is batik?
Batik is an ancestral method originally used to dye fabrics, and its origins date back over 1000 years.
The technique has travelled the world over time, adapting to different populations and cultures in Africa, Asia and even Oceania.
The principle of batik is to apply wax in the desired pattern to the parts of the fabric that will not be dyed, to create motifs, and then to immerse it in colour baths.
After dyeing, the wax is removed by heating the fabric to melt it or by gently scraping it. This process can be repeated several times, applying new layers of wax and dyeing the fabric in different colours to create complex, multi-coloured patterns.
The creative possibilities are endless.
Batik is often associated with cultural and traditional motifs, and is used to create garments, accessories, wall hangings and other decorative textiles.
Painting Exhibition: “This is not a Photograph!”
Why this title ?
Nearly 40 canvases by contemporary artist David Ash are hung on the walls of the Domaine de Rocheville in July and August.
While it is indeed a painting exhibition, at first glance, one could easily believe that these are photographs, given how the artist’s photographic eye influences his painting technique.
Hence the title of the exhibition, “This is not a Photograph!”
It’s a little nod to the Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte and his famous artwork titled “The Treachery of Images” (in English) or “La Trahison des images” (in French). The painting is a realistic representation of a pipe accompanied by the phrase “This is not a pipe.” This paradoxical combination questions the relationship between words, images, and reality and has sparked many diverse interpretations in the art world.
Among the artist’s works, some pay tribute to the heritage of the Loire region.
Among the treasures of Saumur, wine is, of course, represented with small formats bearing evocative titles such as “Bouchons” (Corks), “Les raisins rouges” (Red Grapes), “L’ancienne cave à vin” (The Old Wine Cellar).
The Loire River is also featured with the painting “Les futreaux” (traditional boat used on the Loire), as well as the architectural heritage, such as the Saumur Castle seen from the Offard Island.
Numerous scenes draw inspiration from nature: “Chardons” (Thistles), “Hortensias” (Hydrangeas), “Light in the Forest,” “L’effet miroir” (Mirror Effect, depicting trees reflecting on water at sunset), and also “Telle mère telle fille” (Like Mother, Like Daughter), an emotional painting of a whale and its calf.
Others are more abstract, like “La Peau du dragon” (The Skin of the Dragon) or the large-format triptych “Mizuchi,” which has found a prominent place at the center of Rocheville’s exhibition hall.
In each of them, the treatment of light is striking.
If you’re tempted to decorate your interior with an original work of art, go ahead and indulge. The exhibited paintings are available for purchase!
Practical Information about the exhibition:
Domaine de Rocheville, located in the Loire Valley, has been producing white, red, rosé, and sparkling wines since 2004, primarily from chenin blanc and cabernet franc grapes. Its wine varieties are certified under AOC Saumur Champigny, Saumur Blanc, Saumur Rosé, and Crémant de Loire labels.
Certified as an Organic Agriculture producer since 2019 and a Terra Vitis member since 2011, this vineyard is deeply committed to biodiversity preservation, a commitment evident from its modern and eco-friendly wine cellar.
The wine tourism team welcomes visitors throughout the year for tastings, on-site wine sales, guided tours of the production facilities, and exploration of the troglodytic cellars.
In addition to its wine tourism activities, Domaine de Rocheville actively supports contemporary art. It hosts temporary exhibitions (featuring drawing, painting, and photography) year-round in its spacious reception hall nestled amidst the vineyards.
With its dedication to both viticulture and the arts, Domaine de Rocheville offers a multifaceted experience that invites guests to immerse themselves in the world of wine and culture.
The estate is located in the village of Parnay (49730, France), 8 kilometers from Saumur, a 1-hour drive from Angers, and 50 minutes from Tours by car. Access is available via the Saumur Wine Route.
During your visit to the exhibition, take the opportunity to discover or rediscover the estate’s wines and our new vintages with a commented wine tasting!
“This is not a Photograph!” : dates and hours
From June 27th to September 7th, 2023
The exhibition-sale is open for free on weekdays and weekends during the estate’s opening hours:
Monday to Saturday from 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM Sunday from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
The building is fully accessible to individuals with reduced mobility.
Feel free to come and see the exhibition – we’ll be delighted to welcome you!
For more information, please contact us at +33 (0)2 41 38 10 00 or via email.