Michelle recalls a frightfully fascinating childhood memory of a former sideshow attraction in Whitby. Her recollection of witnessing a pickled dicephalic baby and the staked bones of Dracula began the blurring of the boundaries between reality and fantasy.
‘Fairground Fables’ was conjured to question the satirical and moral ambiguity of fringe entertainment presented behind the curtains of Vaudeville theatres and Victorian Side Shows. Michelle draws from idioms and fables that play with tales of tragedy and fortune as well as the traces of life that befall the discarded or well loved, by enlivening everyday objects with an air of uncertainty. She assembles things left behind on dusty shelves, creating magnetic forms that encourage the viewer to take an encounter with the apprehension of things. ‘Fairground Fables’ is bent with a nostalgic and melodramatic allure that bestows something provocative and enchanting.
On November 24 Michelle will be running a workshop teaching participants how to make their own Fairground Fable. Bookings can be made in the Craft Gallery.
Richard Hatfield & Tim Needhams’ interest in painting stretches back through careers that began just one year apart. Working independently, both find common ground in their references to landscape, yet it is their divergent approaches which spark the dialogue in this show.
I paint out of doors and in the studio. Landscape embodies form, colour and light. Painting can reflect these primal elements and leave us with an object akin to poetry. I play with the picture plane and use paint on various surfaces, abstracted to convey feelings and form with a sense of the drama of the place.
The subjects are the amalgamation of the remembered, the fleetingly observed and the repeated, emblematic motifs left, like an afterimage imprinted on the retina. I look for a sense of the unfamiliar in the ordinary – a gentle disquiet. Some pieces recall a particular moment or episode, often dramatic and transient such as the effects of light or weather, frequently in the extreme. It is at these times that nature can reassert itself into our consciousness and provide us with a taste of something that is awesome in the true sense of the word. Other paintings are less dramatic and conjure up emotions and associations of particular memories and universal fears from early childhood.
Max Marschner was born in London in 1929. His early life was interrupted by World War II and evacuation, but in 1943 he enrolled in the Junior Department of Camberwell School of Art. He stayed there until the early 1950s with breaks for National Service and matriculation. He excelled in the design department. These were the wood engraving years.
Throughout his life Max delighted in the unexpected; scenes and buildings which had a tale to tell, or that presented a mood or sharpness which suited his work.
By the beginning of the 1960s he was experimenting with linocuts, monoprints and basic etchings, often using ideas from old postcards and encyclopaedias, which he hoped would depict a sense of surprise and strangeness.
A move to Lincoln at the beginning of the 1970s brought changes. Screenprints was possible: The same ideas, but larger and more colourful prints.
In 1973 Max bought his first ‘real’ camera, a Pentax Spotmatic. This he used for the rest of his life. He enjoyed experimenting with the old ways of photography, developing and printing in his darkroom. Eventually he taught himself Photo Etching. This involved infrared film, large negatives and acids, though changing over the years to safer methods of working.