Born in 1972 Gardiner’s work and life-long interests have always combined art and food. She has a Masters in History of Art from The Courtauld Institute of Art in London and studied painting at Falmouth College of Art in Cornwall.
As a former curator of contemporary art for The Tate Gallery, St Ives she has worked with artists across all media - film, installation, textile, ceramic, painting and sculpture - such as Andy Goldsworthy, Tacita Dean, Tim Noble and Sue Webster. She was instrumental in creating the first outdoor Skyspace in the UK by James Turrell, which is now part of the permanent collection at Tremenherre Sculpture Garden in West Penwith.
Gardiner’s subjects encompass landscapes, still life and abstract works. The landscapes are the result of seeing a distinctive feature: a crisp line at the edge of a meadow, a tangled band of gorse bordering the top of a field; a group of trees on the Moor standing out against the low mist, animal tracks in the grass, clumps of mistletoe in the tree tops… They are rooted in the coastal and Moorland landscape of Devon.
The still life compositions are inspired by seasonal produce: the first deep velvety figs, a bunch of fresh mint flowers, perfumed quinces in the winter, speckled eggs and hand made ceramics: a glazed saffron earthenware pot or the soft pinch mark on a tea bowl. In the still life pictures she reduces the composition to allow the viewer to study the selected subject without being distracted by overlaid detail.
“My paintings are made up of thin layers of mixed media - paint, pencil, pastel, and charcoal - which result in a matt finish, like the wall of an Italian fresco.”