Side by side with Ptolemy Mann

It’s just over a year since we were introduced to the beautiful art of Ptolemy Mann. We were brought together by photographer Ruth Ward because Ptolemy had a show of her woven work coming up and wanted to make some limited edition prints of her paintings to exhibit as well. We met in early March 2020 over a lovely supper in Soho (I think I can just about remember that life!) and our conversation meandered from prints to books, to art and to colour in a very amiable manner. It all looked so straightforward, talented artist, work we believed in and new shows beginning; what could possibly go wrong?


Painting through the pandemic

Well, of course, now we all know what could go wrong, but Ptolemy’s year has been well spent. There’s a greater body of painted work which, through the bold and vibrant use of colour, elicits an almost visceral response: probably the more so as we become accustomed to this monochrome world we are all forced to inhabit. And this work has found a new and wider audience through Ptolemy’s Instagram account.


An Indian Odyssey

Not long after our discussion and just before lockdown, Ptolemy spent time in India to oversee her rug weaving collaborations. Inspired by the light and the sights she saw, she began a new series of paintings, and these, in turn, became an huge lockdown success. Five of these works will now feature in a new set of prints we’re publishing together. And these paintings will also coalesce into a book that will quite literally be a journal of light, colour and emotion. Watch out for it.


When did we become so Afraid of Beauty

And the original reason we met a year ago? The show we discussed, When did we become so Afraid of Beauty at Gallery Lau in Munich barely had time to open before it was closed and the prints we made for that event await their moment in the sun.


Words: Francis Atterbury.

Photography: Top portrait Circe Hamilton, all other images by Ptolemy Mann.

Visit on-line: Ptolemys paintings are currently on show at Gas Gallery.

Contact: [email protected] or through her Instagram account or visit her website.