“Concentrating on the life model as I do now has meant coming full-circle from my early studies as a 16 year old student at Bradford College of Art in the late 1950’s. I left Bradford for London and the Royal College where abstraction became my primary interest for some considerable time.
My conversion back to life drawing coincided with a move back to my roots in the north, and the need to return to some basic fundamentals. Painting the figure brought back early memories of that first life room. I recalled the claustrophobic effects of the constant heat from the one-bar electric fires, the pungent aroma of oil and turpentine, and above all I recalled the silent dedication of the student engaged in an absorbing ritual.
In the fifties we were trained to paint, and the life room was the symbolic heart of our aspiration. It was clear that to become an artist would take a long time – and much of that time would be spent in painting ‘from the life’. Some 50 years later in my case, I find that this is still my priority. Each painting is a new proposition. The risk of failure is high, the problem of resolving such a subtle form is always the same challenge, yet different enough to seem uniquely fresh each time.
As Painter in Residence at Dean Clough in Halifax, I am fortunate in having a studio more or less attached to the galleries, where I work on around 20 paintings at any one time, depending on how well each is progressing.
At present the nude figure is all that interests me as a subject for painting. The nude in history is always fascinating. The mythical, psychological and sexual aspects are constantly present, but for me, it’s the universal yet ordinary experience that I’m interested in – the common-place.”
Landscapes have always inspired Lucy. She has a passion and pull toward remote or isolated places, nature and our place within our environment; of how we choose to live carefully within it so that we leave as little damage as we can. Lucy endeavours to capture the feeling of isolation and the wildness of a place so that the viewer can imagine that they hear the breeze blowing through the grasses, the wind scouring across the beach or the call of a wading bird in the dunes. These places arouse different feelings: comforting, unsettling, eerie, lonely, peaceful, they can bring solace and rest, inspiration or a decision to be made. Lucy has woven these feelings into her landscapes and will continue to capture the moment each time she visits a new place. Each landscape is worked from personal photographs taken during travels around Britain.
“It is like I am revisiting the place again. I wish to convey this through each unique landscape”.
The Ropewalk’s annual Gardening Day returns on Sunday, May 23, after a break last summer because of Covid restrictions.
“This year we have had to be mindful of all government restrictions in place at the time of the Gardening Day but at the same time we want to make the experience as near as possible to previous Gardening Days for our visitors,” said Liz Bennet of The Ropewalk. (more…)
Sidelong: With video and sound installation by Paul Ratcliff
A series of photographic studies of the people and landscapes seen ‘in passing’ on the train journey from Barton and while exploring the popular Wakes Week destination town of Cleethorpes.
this is the world seen from the edge of our vision, the sidelong glance, a world absorbed almost sub-consciously in passing, capturing aspects of urban and rural landscapes as the viewer moves through them
“As a photographer I have tried many times to capture this experience but all too often I capture only the place, not the journey, not the travelling. The processive images I am working on now are the closest I have come yet. The motion of the camera facing sideways produces repetitive, fragmented and distorted pictures that convey a dynamic sense of movement: a series of moments compressed and dragged into a single still image: the vague and fragmented memory of a journey, repetitive yet barely observed. A smear of sensation.
Experiencing the journey from Barton and the discovery of Cleethorpes as a destination has allowed me to develop the processive technique and the photographic ‘sidelong glance’ in a relevant direction, following the Wakes Week holidaymakers. Sadly the pandemic has prevented me from completely fulfilling the idea but this exhibition has provided the chance to show my early images taken during winter 2019 /2020.”
More of Brian’s images are combined into a video and sound installation created by Yorkshire sound recordist, Paul Ratcliff, who sonically responds to these photographs and the places depicted in these images with field recordings. These location-specific sound recordings are of; trains, coastal seascapes, bustling towns, the Humber bridge, level crossings, and spring birdsong and calls, from the Cetti’s warbler, Reed warbler, Black cap, Greenfinch and White throat.
Shapes and colour, and translating these onto the paper, are the foundation of printmaking. In this show, linocuts by three regional artists illustrate the multitude of colours and shapes in the landscape, juxtaposing their different approaches to using this medium.
Alan Abbey’s connection to the landscape is deep and long-standing, often going back to places he visited as a child. This amalgamation of the real and remembered can be quite an overwhelming experience linking to what Alan calls the ‘spirit of the land’; A wide-ranging mix of emotions can be revealed – from longing and loss to joy and fulfilment.
“As you move through the landscape you become part of it even if only for a short time, so trying to capture even a part of its essence can bring you back to the places you love.”
Nancy Power originally trained in Fashion and Knitwear Design and her passage into printmaking combined her enjoyment of design and technical precision with her for love for nature and landscape.
“My practice is creating reduction linocut prints. I’m excited by the ‘absolute’ decision-making that this process requires. Many of my images are printed from dark to light, as I am intrigued as to how the colours perform quite differently and give some unexpected and surprising results”.
The natural landscape surrounding her Sheffield home near to the Peak District often features in Katherine Rhodes’ painterly linocut prints. Inspired by human endeavour, adventure and being in the outdoors, Katherine’s images hold stories of the relationships, activities, and interactions we have with the outdoor landscape. She has regular contact with climbers and has learnt through them of the intense relationship and the knowledge they acquire when they climb or explore the landscape. To this end “The shapes of the rocks and landscape in prints are shown accurately – features that are crucial to the climber, mountaineer, and walker connecting them intimately with the land, using them to navigate their way up a rockface or through rugged terrain.”
Brought up on a farm, Alison studied art at Newcastle University before running the Printmaking Workshop at Lincoln University for nine years, where she also completed her MA Degree before becoming a full-time artist
“Although I love all forms of printmaking, my current favourite is the woodcut, and I attack my plates quite brutally at times,” says Alison. “I am always surprised at how simple they are; just a few lines to denote the essentials. I like the hands-on nature of producing a plate and its immediacy. I don’t keep highly detailed sketchbooks etc as I use the plate rather than paper to work out ideas. I think this is why my images are quirky, if I plan too much I find this is often lost”
Penny divides her time between teaching and creating her own work from her studio in St Peter’s School, York. Using a mixture of different clay to capture the form, Penny allows the material itself to express as much as possible of the intrinsic nature of an animal. This is done in as loose a way as possible, so the clay is not overworked. She then uses layers of slips and oxides to add more depth to textural the surface. Penny’s work has traditionally dealt with English animals, both domestic and wild. Over the last two years she has begun a series of larger works concentrating on primates. Created on a bigger scale the “portraits” explore the individual spirit of her subjects. All Penny’s pieces are sculpted with thoughtfulness and understanding, inviting her audience to contemplate and reflect on the intrinsic beauty and energy of wild things