Art on show in Brighton & Hove and Sussex
Climate change is a reality–we can witness the changing weather patterns in our daily lives. It’s June here in the UK, and we have yet to experience our summer.
As creatives, we must be responsible for our processes and materials. We must ask questions about our practices and their environmental impact and find suitable solutions. It can be difficult to challenge ourselves in this way, especially when we have become accustomed to using traditional techniques.
We have started having these conversations with our artists and invited a few who naturally work in an environmentally sensitive way to explore the reclaimed elements in their creations. Hopefully, discussions will continue to raise personal awareness in all aspects of their work and encourage others to review their working practices.
While writing this, the theme Reclaim can be extended to us after more than two years of dealing with a global pandemic. We have had to reclaim our lives and find new ways on many unforeseen journeys.
Reclamation has always been a central aspect of David’s working methods. He works in layers, over-painting and scraping away to rediscover and reclaim underlying details. His use of encaustic (a technique of dissolving oil colour in molten wax) often includes melting down, reusing and even embedding whole fragments of paint that have been discarded from earlier images.
Though to varying degrees abstracted, David’s images are informed by memories of specific places and events. He is often drawn to the British coastline for inspiration. Still, for this exhibition and as a panacea for the travel privations of lockdown, he has used memories of journeys to more exotic and colourful locations.
I translate painterly contemplations on the marginality of shorelines and estuaries with their horizontal delineations of air, water and land and the transient nature of weather, erosion and the detritus of tidelines. But, rather than depict these places topographically, I use them to explore how such physicality and transience might be reflected through the qualities and colour of a painting’s surface.
Finlay has produced a series called ‘Reliquary’ for this exhibition. The recent development of ideas was initially stimulated by studies of debris trapped in metal gratings in York.
These studies led, among other things, to gouache paintings (‘The Dreamlife of Debris’ Series) and cut card reliefs (‘Pathways’ and ‘Totems’) where the cut card referenced the patterns and forms of the trapped debris.
These, in turn, led to a body of work in which the cut card was contained within recessed boxes (‘Trapped Landscapes’). It seemed a natural development for Finlay to provide these cut card elements, painted and printed on, which had now become autonomous fragments, abstracted from their original point of reference. These elements together are symbolic of shrines implying significance and passing references to Christian iconography–hence the title ‘Reliquary‘. It is further reinforced by using gold paint, gold leaf, and gold frames in some pieces.
This depiction of disposed material as a trace of human passing also seemed to have resonances with notions of human dispersal. As the work progressed, the sense of horizontal and vertical movement corresponded with my sense of human flight and departure.
All images are in box frames with recessed card and painted—with gouache, watercolour and acrylic—and inkjet printed card fragments in low relief; some also have gold leaf elements.
Mary produces sculptural portraits in clay. These portraits are of people she connected with through journeying. Her process starts by recycling old, broken and discarded ceramics. People will often contribute to her process by donating their discarded or broken crockery. These pieces will often form the character of a piece; the edge of a saucer or the handle of a cup can form the perfect eyebrow, eyelid or the way an old chipped bright red broken cup can be smashed up to perfectly form the shape of someone’s lips.
For this exhibition, with sustainability in mind, she has produced some special pieces inspired by conversations she has had with people at her local gardening club. She has created these works by using leftover scraps of clay from previous work, sometimes dating back years. These colourful pieces have been used as little tiles, ideal for forming beautifully vibrant, striking flowers that become part of the final fired piece.
Not only do I love the individualism these recycled pieces give my work, but I also find it very satisfying that old, unwanted, unloved crockery and clay scraps can get a new life in the make-up of my portraits, adding to the personality of the piece, rather than being thrown away.
Sam’s paintings and installations are layers of materials, mainly organic, combined with industrial paint, which coats the steel sheets he works on. This process aims to mirror how the landscape has changed over the centuries, the way societies and nature have reclaimed the landscape and shaped and transformed it into what you see now. The work aims to and has always responded to change and the politics of coastal and mainland Britain.
Some of the starting points for the installations come from artillery shells from early 20th Century conflicts right the way through to small metal detecting finds, which have come from local fields and have not changed too much from the time of the Saxons. The finished pieces have a real sense of giving an old piece of metal a new life and purpose.
Creating some installations has given me a chance to work with an expended ordinance, which poses a different challenge as a painter as you are working with a material such as brass—the work you create needs to transcend the raw, visceral energy that the material once possessed.
The exhibition can be seen at 20 Market Street Brighton, where we look forward to introducing you to the collection and discussing it more.
Gallery Opening Times
Monday: 11am to 6pm
Tuesday: By appointment
Wednesday: 11am to 6pm
Thursday: 11am to 6pm
Friday: 11am to 6pm
Saturday: 11am to 6pm
Sunday: 11am to 5pm
Wednesday 15th June–closed
Wednesday 29th June 11am to 4pm
Friday 1st July 11am to 4pm