I have for several years now produced paintings that are concerned with our modern lifestyles, our obsession with appearance and consequently the toxic effect on the world around us. Like the story of Echo's love of Narcissus we seem hopelessly intoxicated by the mirage of surface perfection, yet by neglecting the substance that real beauty relies upon, in our pursuit of these dreams we seem to poison all that we touch.
My recent series of works take the motif of a bunch of roses, a simple bowl of cherries, but undermine these notions of beauty and desirability by allowing the fruits presented to over-ripen to the beginnings of decay. The paintings allude to the tradition of still life, but also that of the perfect and sanitised world of advertising where every spoonful of dessert hints at the attainability of a utopian world.
My main interest lies in the representation of landscape and what meaning these representations have in respect to our perception of landscape.
I am especially interested in the way societies change the landscape to accommodate their needs and how different societies identify themselves (or are identified by others) through the way land is treated and perceived.
The questions that arise from researching, visiting and experiencing specific places are of a political, sociological and psychological nature. My work is created in response to these questions, not as an answer to them, but as an attempt to rephrase the situation and present it in a different context.
Though large format photography is at the centre of my practice, I also work with print, sculptural installation and film, especially Super 8mm.
SUSANNA HARRIS HUGHES
SUSANNA HARRIS HUGHES was born in Folkestone, Kent and now lives near Guildford. She has a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from the West Surrey College of Art and Design, Farnham (now the University for the Creative Arts) and an MA in Printmaking from Wimbledon School of Art. She exhibits widely both nationally and internationally. In 2008 she was selected by Arts & Business for inclusion in their Visuals Catalogue and on-line Gallery.
Susanna makes work in direct response to places or events in her life and says of this series of ‘Inheritance’ prints:
“When my father died in 2004 we had to clear out his house – a house that had been lived in by his family for the past 70 years. It was a treasure trove of artefacts inherited through generations belonging to people whom I may or may not have met but whose lives had become intertwined not only through blood ties but also their possessions. The first series on ‘Empire’ involves my grandfather’s life in India. The second ‘Fames Twilight’ takes its name from a book he wrote. Tea sets, drinking vessels and wallpaper are also an emotive part of people’s lives so a third series is being based on these.
As I go on, my own ‘collections’ seem to be creeping in and a fourth series of found objects - ‘inherited’, so to speak from the garden has also been started.
The project as a whole is growing and becoming a kind of two-dimensional ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. “
The ideas behind my sculptural work are often influenced by organic forms, material and the environment. I am interested in the geometric structures, patterns, symmetry and proportion found both in nature and the unfolding of numbers in space. Other pieces have an historical element to them, either on a personal level or as part of the commissioning process with the client. I work predominantly in stone and wood because they are durable, lovely to carve and have their own innate beauty. I see myself in the tradition of artist makers, carving original pieces either to commission or for exhibition.
Rachel’s work is a celebration of colour. She uses layer of hand dyed fabrics to create instinctive colour statements, which evoke perceptions of time, feeling and place.
Works often reference a specific location or experience and the artists’ own personal relationship with the encounter; capturing the moment. She is particularly fascinated by moments of revelation and transition - conscious understanding of a new way of seeing things - changing light; changing colour; changing reality.
The works all explore colour, pattern and change.
Hand-dyed translucent fabrics are layered to create richly coloured artworks. The crisp surface of the cloth is hand-cut with intricate geometric patterns, revealing the layers of colour beneath and engaging the viewer with a changing perspective. Small circles of coloured fabric are stitched, suspended, inside the cut-away shapes, like dancing pinpoints of hue.
Rachel originally trained in Surface Pattern Design and has taught textiles for several years. She is a member of the 62 Group of Textile Artists and the Prism exhibiting group. In 2009 Rachel was awarded the Crafts Council Development Award.
At first sight Julian Rowe’s work resembles a decaying collection retrieved from the depths of some long defunct museum, though on closer examination, the objects contained in the battered cases are enigmatic, and their labels illegible. There seems once to have been a story, but its thread is now lost, like the contents of a faltering memory … or perhaps this is all fakery, the invention of the artist. Memories can be invented too.
The work shown here has been made during the past five years. The touchstones of the individual pieces are from such diverse sources as Wagner and Schubert, Conrad and Caspar David Friedrich. Rowe loves to rummage around in the cultural attic. His favourite part of the loft belongs to the Romantic period, though he makes forays into even dustier corners, and his plundering is not confined to the bric-a-brac of the visual arts but embraces the history of literature, music and ideas as well. Above all, though, he likes to conceal what he has found. There is a tension in Rowe’s work between brutish weightiness on the one hand, and sheer elusiveness on the other. He hides his treasures behind grimy glass, or in semi-darkness, so that the viewer is left trying to complete the story from their own imagination, or simply contemplating the poignancy of irretrievable loss.
Julian Rowe lives and works in Kent. An art school casualty, he worked in libraries and the Civil Service for many years while his creative life proceeded in fits and starts, until he summoned the wherewithal to devote himself to full time art practice in 1998. Since then he has exhibited frequently in the UK and elsewhere. He is currently studying for an MA in Fine Art at UCA Canterbury.
Recent sculpture by Dave Stephens has been typified by work that deals with the problem of surface. How we respond to the world being seen as a series of images that have been fragmented and reassembled. Whether the images are digramatic (as illustrated in the map sculptures) or representational, (as in the ones that use photography as a surface area), the viewer is constantly being asked to reassess their notions of reality and how they view and respond to it.
His work also extends into film where he deals with notions of reality and how the imagination can run alongside it.
Dave Stephens first came to public attention as a performance artist in the late 70’s and 80’s. He gained an international reputation as a performer who crossed the boundaries between high art and cabaret. He developed a unique brand of monologue which combined improvisation with highly imaginative insights into the human condition.
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