Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Sarah Palmer ceramics

Ceramics by Sarah Palmer

Dungeness comes to Hastings

Something seems to be stirring at the Stables Art Gallery in Hastings. The gallery has a new curator, Siobhan O’Hanlon, who has been quietly putting on interesting exhibitions reflecting the wealth of artistic talent in and around Hastings. One such is mixed media with the theme of Dungeness  and HOT reporter Lauris Morgan-Griffiths was intrigued. Not least because it is a family affair: two sisters, Denise and Lynda Franklin; and brother/sister-in-law, Henry Binns and Sarah Palmer.

Denise Franklin and Sarah Palmer have collaborated before on exhibitions. Their practice is to walk, talk, and draw to understand and get under the surface of a place.  The meditiative walks result in a real knowing that shows in the work. Last year they had an exhibition in Rye of the ebb and flow of the River Rother estuary.

This year they decided to invite two family member artists who have never exhibited before. Each of them have different disciplines. They would go for walks together around the Dungeness area: Palmer, Binns and Denise Franklin braved the snowy, freezing wastes;  one day Denise Franklin and Sarah Palmer were caught  in a sudden sea fret that blew in and left them unable to see each other, leave alone the landscape;  and the two sisters had an interesting day fossicking around the back of Dungeness. They all really felt the elements, learned about the power station and appear to spark off each other, producing remarkable paintings and ceramics that instil a different way of looking.

Drawing by Denise Lancaster

Drawing by Denise Franklin

Denise paints beautiful, ethereal paintings and drawings. She succeeds in translating  the atmosphere and feeling of a place  as she captures the very things that make it special. A grey green sea, a tumble of shingle, the tangle of the electricity pylons.

Her sister Lynda has found intriguing objects to photograph; the passive shades that measure levels of radio activity;  faded, peeling paint of a boat; a decommissioned glass registor; pylons;  a lens.

Henry Binns has painted the landscape. That difficult bleak, monochrome spit out to nowhere and everywhere. The lighthouse, the power station, one descriptively called ‘Container Haven’. It is a looming landscape that effects people in different ways, either boring and dull or beautiful in its starkness.

Sarah Palmer, ceramicist, draws and paints on the clay, producing odd shapes echoing the structures natural and manmade of the area; they look oddly prehistoric echoing the oldness of the land.   She is always looking and finding odd things – the flotsam and jetsam of life, rubbish to some, little treasures to others – and incorporates them into her work.

Drawing by Denise Lancaster

Drawing by Denise Franklin

I have tried several times to photograph Dungeness and been bitterly disappointed at the results.  Denise says “The drawings contains aspects of bleak weather, the breeze, the sun and the pure joy of being in such a fabulous  and stimulating environment.”

Between all four of them they have managed to capture the essence of the place and brought it into the gallery. It is well worth a trip to Dungeness at the Stables Gallery.

Walking Talking and Drawing courses at West Dean 18-20 January and June 7-9 2013. There will also be courses in Fairlight in 2013.

Off Grid at the Stables Arts Centre, The Bourne, Hastings until 1 December.


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Posted 17:16 Friday, Oct 19, 2012 In: Visual Arts

Also in: Visual Arts

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