City centre dentist’s crowning glory

This article was originally published in the Sidmouth Herald:

Dr Gary Price, of Exeter Advanced Dentistry, whose favourite work of art is a painting titled ‘All in a Day’ by Heidi Koenig.
Arts writer Alison Summerfield meets Dr Gary Price, of Exeter Advanced Dentistry, whose favourite work of art is a painting titled ‘All in a Day’ by Heidi Koenig.

It was not without some trepidation that I headed down the A30 for my first visit to Exeter Advanced Dentistry, in Longbrook Street.

On entering the elegant Georgian property however, all anxiety subsided when I was welcomed by the receptionist and facing me on the wall in front of me was a stunning painting by one of my favourite artists and friend Heidi Koenig.

Gary told me that he and his wife purchased the painting in 2016 from Brook Gallery, in Budleigh Salterton, having admired Heidi’s work for some time.

“I love the way she conveys both serenity and dynamism within the same canvas,” says Gary, who has two more of Heidi’s paintings at home.

Gary, together with his business partner Dr Dan Zillwood, bought the dental practice in 2004 and provide the highest standard of modern dentistry techniques and, as I can testify, outstanding patient care.

Their clinicians are specialists in particular fields of dentistry so patients are always assured of seeing the correct practitioner.

“We receive a high number of referral patients from other dentists,” says Gary, “as we offer implant treatments, including whole-mouth dental reconstructions, bone grafting and zygomatic implants for those patients who have lost much of their jawbone from gum disease.”

The waiting area or lounge is inviting and comfortable. “Creating the right environment so patients feel relaxed took a lot of consideration,” says Gary “from the lighting, to the furniture, and not least of all, the artwork.”

Other work by South West artists include paintings by Greg Mason, another of my favourites Paul Wadsworth and ceramics by Claire Murray.

‘All in a Day’ was inspired by a day on the Cornish Coast. “A day that began with grey skies and veils of rain,” Heidi recalls, “followed by rays of sun breaking through the clouds and changing the colour of the sea from grey to turquoise. Sketching the mood can be challenging,” she says, “because the light changes so quickly, I try to capture the essence of that energy.”

In her studio with the colours ingrained in her visual memory Heidi doesn’t always have a conscious idea of how she wants a painting to look.

“Each piece evolves as I paint,” she explains, “and the process of painting transports me back to the place where I was inspired, bringing back the visual and sensory information I absorbed.

“Each painting begins with a thin wash of acrylic followed by applying oils with brushes, palette knifes, rags, and sticks, her intuitive, joyous approach radiates from all of Heidi’s paintings. I was joyous too, after my treatment, and before leaving I wrote in the ‘message book’ and, like all the clients before me, I had only positive praise.