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CLAIRE BILLINGER unearthed some of Coastal Currents’ Hidden Hastings

Looking through the massive Coastal Currents brochure for this year, the theme of Hidden Hastings was not a fraudulent one. The outdoor spaces were the sort of art we have to either stumble across or extensively research and plan if none were to be missed. One I stumbled across was Louise Kenward’s reflective spaces brightening up the bus shelters and giving those queuing something to manipulate and add to.

Hastings and St Leonards were inundated with Open Studio billboards during the festival. But which ones to go to? Bruce Rae was fascinating talking about his photographic salt prints. Sara from Number 3 kindly opened her house to show the work of four artists, Brian Rybolt had on show some excellent photographs, as did Lin Gregory in Bullet and Land of Green Ginger.

Julian Anderson’s traditional black and white darkroom prints of portraits, landscapes and flowers made an impressive exhibit at McCarron’s. The Beacon was a hive of activity as usual with the resident artists opening up their studios. Alex Leadbetter and Pip Carpenter were showing inspirational new work in The Muse. And I can go on. All the artists open their houses with enthusiasm, offering tea and cake and lots of stimulation.

The opening of the Air to Earth exhibition by Shot by the Sea and Project Art Works took us on a journey to an unused shop, the F-ish Gallery and The Basement at 12 Claremont. The unused shop was showing Red Balloon by Thursday Artists who were featured in the film and present in the audience, enjoying the experience for a second time.

From there to F-ish Gallery where Andrew Kotting’s film was being shown behind a gathering crowd chinking and sipping their wine. Finally to Ben Rivers’ film, ‘Oh Liberty’. This was shot on16mm black and white old film which Ben then processes himself, giving the appearance of archival footage. The film portrays life on the edge of society in what seems like a rural idyllic wilderness beyond modern civilization. This, together with the eerie soundtrack makes it an exceptionally stirring film.

Gifts from the Deep was a gift from Selina Di Girolamo. She, and Pomegranate, created an Italian theme with Drawings, Paintings, Bellini, Lasagne and Goddess Icons. All the tables were creatively lined up in George street to make space for ‘Drawing in the Landscape’. This film showed Selina’s personal connections between the Sussex landscape and the material she uses to connect her ancestors to her work.

In the Bourne Hall, Louise Stokes and David Dixon danced their way around the room (lying down) covering each other with salt, creating an organic ring of dancers. Due to the nature of the material this was only on show for an afternoon.

Let’s hope next year’s Coastal Currents is just as vibrant and creative as this year’s.

Posted 10:40 Sunday, Oct 25, 2009 In: Arts News

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