Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Paperworks at the Hastings Art Forum

Paperworks at the Hastings Art Forum
20 September – 2 October

Private View: 23rd September 6.30 - 8.30 

Traditional expectations of works on paper are drawing or watercolours. However, this group exhibition completely overturns any conservative notion of how paper should be used in art. The only works that appear to be watercolours in this show are far from traditional and the drawing consists of graphite renditions of rubbed pavements reassembled into huge paper rolls.

This is a celebration of one of the oldest, most flexible and varied materials we have. It is paper as a means to convey images in multiple forms, as a material for sculpture or installation and as recycled object transformed from practical to conceptual use. In the latter category, for example, books such as the one below must be opened by the viewer to make sense.

The beautifully produced concertina artist books of Nikki Davidson Bowman are collages of images and words perfectly bound into multi-dimensional art objects. Caroline Sax's tiny sculptures are unrecognisable as paper and seem to be made of a different and harder substance altogether.

There is a humorous nod to the subject in several of Ian Barraclough's prints, particularly his depiction of the unique qualities of the final sheet on 9 different toilet rolls.

Gill Streater's work reminds us of the importance of paper to calligraphy while Helen Rawlinson uses paper like a textile on which to add thread, buttons and colours to create small and imaginative abstracts.

Collage features in several guises in this exhibition. The pop art sensibilities and clean minimalism of Duncan McAfee, the apocalyptical colour and atmosphere of Kate Gritton and the surreal compositions of Jeff Stancliff which are compelling, mysterious and not entirely comfortable to view.

As always with such a large group show there is too much to comprehensively preview plus the detail in the works cannot possibly be conveyed here. So to conclude here are images that cover all the participants with their websites following below.

Paperworks at the Hastings Art Forum
20 September – 2 October
Private View: 23rd September 6.30 - 8.30

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Silver Fish, Vermin and Volunteers

Silver Fish and Vermin

“We both live in the middle of the countryside surrounded by all sorts of vermin (rats, foxes, fly-tippers etc). It is hard to find beauty in everything and vermin definitely bring out emotion and reaction where ever they appear. Everyone has their pet hate, hopefully our exhibition will be able to shine a humorous light on some.” Liz Boast and Kirsten Wilson

Unlike many of the exhibitions at the Hastings Art Forum Silver Fish and Vermin is truly a joint show. Liz Boast and Kirsten Wilson’s work is arranged together throughout the gallery and includes a wonderful collaborative piece entitled ‘The Alphabet of Vermin’ which is composed of 27 individual works. This alone deserves time and close study to take in the details, the stories and just the sheer fun and scope of the piece.

In fact, studying the intricacy and detail in much of the work in this show is very rewarding. Kirsten Wilson's multi-layered paper pieces give a sense of just how much time and patience is invested in the act of creation while Liz Boast's atmospheric paintings and sometimes surreal prints add mood and mystery as you move around the gallery.

Both artists are multi-skilled and this exhibition covers all facets of their work. As well as paint, print and mixed media both are excellent silversmiths. This means the inclusion of a contemporary jewellery collection beautifully presented on woodblock stands which are lovely objects in their own right.

Consequently there is a lot in Gallery 1 to keep you entertained. Silver, wood  and a delightful tumble of creatures and landscapes with flying birds, harlequins, schools of swimming fish, strange children, rats, circular zodiacs and ghostly figures emanating light.

The Volunteers Show

The joy of multiple diversions continues into Gallery 2 which is hosting the annual exhibition for volunteers at the Hastings Art Forum.

Almost all of the volunteers at the Forum are artists in their own right. There are painters, photographers, printmakers, sculptors, ceramicists, glass artists and others who are some and possibly even all of the above. Without the volunteers the forum could not function and this annual exhibition is a thank you and a way for the volunteers to get together as artists rather than all the other roles they perform behind the scenes.

I have to declare a conflict of interest here. I am a volunteer at the Hastings Art Forum which means I have some of my own work in the show and know many of the other people exhibiting. So when I say that this is absolutely the most excitingly diverse and brilliant exhibition you will see at the Forum this year, you probably need to take it with a pinch of sea salt. Not too much, however, because this really is an exciting show.

In fact, there is so much to talk about I don't know where to start so instead of talking  I am just going to name all the participants with links (where I could find them) and post up a whole load of photos. These cannot convey the detail, the subtlety, the humour or the range of subject and form but it will give a sense of the skill and diversity that you can see here. It’s wonderful :)

Silver Fish, Vermin and Volunteers

Private View: 9th September - 6.30 - 8.30

Both shows run from 6th Sepember – 18th September

The Volunteers

Alice Maylam           April Yasamee         Carlen Fritze
Caroline Sax           Charlotte Morris       David Murphy 
Dawn Timmins        Edwina Truelove     Gill Streater
Howard Seaton       Jen Painter             John Hacker
John Plummer         Julie Willard            Kate Gritton
Katherine Reekie    Mark Border            Molly Durman
Sally Meakins         Sharon Moore         Susan Miller 
Suzy Tinker            Trish Kilczewski      Valerie Grove