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The ArtWalks exhibition was previously at the old visitor centre in the Country Park, where it drew a regular stream of visitors. The ceramics are by Emma Harding and the prints by Catherine and Martha Orbach.

ArtWalks exhibition moves to Zoom’s Warrior Square gallery

The ArtWalks exhibition, featuring prints by Catherine and Martha Orbach and ceramics by Emma Harding, is now at the Zoom Arts gallery at Warrior Square station. In different ways, both explore the importance of our relationship with nature to our mental well-being. Nick Terdre reports.

Previously on display at the old visitor centre in the Country Park, the ArtWalks exhibition, part of the Coastal Currents arts festival, has now moved to the Zoom Arts gallery at Warrior Square station, where it can be viewed this weekend and next.

The show includes works from the Printwalks series on which Catherine and Martha Orbach – aunt and niece – have collaborated over several years, first together in Hastings and now, since Martha moved to Glasgow some three years ago, from different locations.

While together in Hastings, each print started with a shared walk, spent observing and sketching. The drawings were brought back to the studio, mulled over, translated into paper stencils and combined into a silk screen print.

With Martha now settled in Glasgow, the walks and the works have been done separately, though with frequent communication between the two artists. They like to revisit the same places – St Helens Woods for Catherine and Pollockshields for Martha. “The opportunity to keep returning to the same place makes for an intimate exploration of natural surroundings,” they say.

The 40+ prints on display were largely made under lockdown, when a daily outing for exercise was one of the few freedoms allowed us, and central to our mental equilibrium under restrictive circumstances. They map the changing seasons in the two places.

The shared walk is a way to invite others into their process, exploring people’s relationship with nature and the outdoors, linking to our mental well-being. In 2014, on behalf of the Open Society Foundation, the Orbachs performed The Garden Commission, a collaboration with refugees in London through the Room to Heal charity which resulted in a series of prints about the place of gardens and gardening in the exiles’ recovery from trauma.

Reflected patterns

Emma’s current focus on ceramics draws on her experience of working with people with dementia, which, she says, “led to a recognition of the patterns in nature reflected in the make-up of our brains – the branching of neurons and the tangling of plaque. Clay is such a great repository for impressions, for memories.”

As with the Orbachs, the natural world plays a key part in inspiring her art. “My ceramics are about our relationship to nature and the way the patterns in our brains are like the shapes of trees and many other natural forms. I use actual leaves as stencils to create pattern and colour on some of the ceramic heads.”

Individual pieces also incorporate mosaic work, another outlet for Emma’s artistic talents. She has created public mosaics on the sea front for Hastings council and at Warrior Square station for the community and Transition Town Hastings.


ArtWalks: an exhibition of prints by Catherine and Martha Orbach and ceramics by Emma Harding Zoom Arts Gallery, Warrior Square Station, Kings Road, St Leonards-on-Sea TN37 6HL. Sat 25 and Sun 26 September, and Friday 1-Sunday 3 October, 11am-4pm.


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Posted 17:32 Saturday, Sep 25, 2021 In: Arts News

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