This page remains as a tribute to my dear friend and colleague Mike Stanley, so many will miss him so much.

Annett's 2007 Exhibition of landscapes to celebrate the 40th Birthday of the New Town of Milton Keynes. Below is a gallery of images and a section of the text accompanying the work written by Micheal Stanley Director Modern Art Oxford 

 

 "Milton Keynes is both a contradiction and an enigma. The product of the fading embers of British Modernism, Milton Keynes courts these seeming paradoxes and uses them to its advantage. The city’s external perception, as concrete edifice, is both challenged and subverted in Sally Annett’s  series of paintings collectively entitled ‘Locus Amoenus’ (nice place) – a title through which Annett sets up a friction between the ‘grand’ and the ‘commonplace’. Over the last twelve months Annett has embarked on the all-too-incongruous task of identify and painting the ‘picturesque’ in Milton Keynes. Intriguingly, the picturesque, ultimately steeped in the theatrical and the decorative, runs counter to the functional, rationalist thought that informed the construction of the city. 

 

Annett’s ‘Grand Tour’ of Milton Keynes takes on a diaristic structure. The series of paintings comprises twelve panels, each measuring 1m x 2.5m, one for each month of the year. They depict a Milton Keynes that contradicts the city’s external perception, focussing instead on the grass verges, canal sides and wooded enclaves, images that evoke the pastoral and the bucolic. Thus, for those resident in and familiar with the city, the depicted scenes are instantly recognisable; the spine of Silbury Boulevard and the port-câcheres; Campbell Park and Linford Wood. And although Annett’s subject matter, in focussing on Milton Keynes is consistent, her stylistic approach revels in the visual punning and pastiche of varying twentieth century painterly styles. Annett’s daubing of lemon yellow and cerulean blue inOctober. CMK, 2007 indicates more than a passing nod to the painterly dominance of Impressionism. August,Danesborough Mound, Brickhills,2007, in its near-psychedelic use of vibrant crimsons and acid greens evokes the brushwork and radicalism of the Blaue Reiter and the Fauves, of Vlaminck and Franz Marc. And closer to home, a painting such asMay, Shenley Wood, 2007, captures the spirit of English post-war Modernism, in the work of Paul Nash for instance, which is compounded by Annet’s sealing of the painting under a veil of varnish, as if to trap in amber, the content of the work. ‘I want to document the city in its youth’ the artist writes conscious of the role that image making, through the plethora of prints, engravings and painting have had in shaping the cultural identity of neighbouring, more ‘historic’ towns and cities; Oxford, Cambridge and of course London. In this respect, Annet’s appropriation of such twentieth century painterly styles, seems an ironic and light-hearted attempt to ‘mainline’ a cultural history for Milton Keynes that is both poignant and lasting."

Michael Stanley, September 2007.