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Crowhurst View

Regeneration by Jen Painter.

The Language of Green

The Language of Green is a show by SoCo Artists, a professional group of artists based in East Sussex, in the Crypt Gallery at St Mary in the Castle. Roz Cran, a member of the group, reports.

Go into St Mary in the Castle, up the ramp, turn left and then right – and you enter a green cave. Green images sway on the stone walls of the arches.  Someone said it’s like swimming in the sea.  Lusciously green.  Green light of all shades.

Sunflower by Susie

Sunflower by Susanne Gifford.

This is the latest show by SoCo Artists who have taken the colour green as inspiration. Timed to coincide with Hastings Jack in the Green celebrations, green has all sorts of connotations from Spring, growth, fertility and balance to jealousy: “the grass being greener” and being “green around the gills”.  

The first image I see is Sunflower Geometry Study I and II by Susanne Gifford. These watercolour flowers show off the seed shapes of this glorious flower. Study I is a green sunflower with a red centre detailing the intricate seeds and Study II shows the phyllotaxis of a sunflower and is drawn as part of a design for a ‘rose window’. This phyllotactic pattern creates an optical effect of criss-crossing spirals. The spiral has been studied and incorporated into art, design, secular and religious architecture for its beauty, sense of growth and endless movement. It is an organic form fundamental to the structure of plants, shells and the human body.

Bottle Alley

Bottle Alley By Torchlight by Carly Ralph.

The star of the show for me is a sumptuous work by Carly Ralph: Bottle Alley by Torchlight. This piece, made of heat-moulded fabrics, tarlatan, velvet and foam, catches your eye like precious stones shimmering on the beach. It is based on a panel from the western end of Bottle Alley. This undercover walkway features pieces of recycled glass embedded in the wall. Designed in the early 1930s by Sidney Little, the borough engineer, it is located on the lower deck of the two-tier promenade near Warrior Square in St Leonards-on-Sea. As a child, Carly Ralph used to swim in the sea near here and was fascinated by the broken glass bottle shapes embedded in concrete by council workmen in the 1930s; she thought it wonderful and it has been a lifelong influence.

Eat Your Greens

Eat Your Greens by Una Aldridge.

A fun piece by Una Aldridge, Eat Your Greens, sits next door, sweets on a painted plate which taunt us with their green shininess.

Lime green, bottle green, grass green, eau de nil, forest green, apple, aquamarine, chartreuse, olive, mint, moss…but also black and white, red and orange feature here. I am thinking of Anny Evason’s In Earth and Air, a drawing of fuzzy and sharp line charcoal with a wonderful swath of orange ink running across (see below).

Jen Painter can turn her artistic hand to many media. For this exhibition, she has painted Regeneration, a landscape with a mysterious light, based on a scene in Crowhurst (see headline image).

Green Man

Signal by Alan Wright.

At the far end, you see a red person and a green person flashing on and off. Alan Wright, a stained glass artist, is working ‘outside the box’. He has got hold of an old Pelican crossing light and adapted it – the red figure has a tear, the green figure a heart. Tree stumps and flowers and trees are superimposed on the lights. These shapes are made using traditional techniques of kiln-fired platinum and gold lustres. “It’s about going green and ecological issues, about how difficult it is to make changes in an affluent society. We want to, we don’t want to: go – stop – go”, says Alan.

An Apple Record has been framed by Lynne Bingham, a nostalgic piece for me. I had many Apple label records of the Beatles as a teenager. A second work by Lynne features circuit boards and teeny tiny figures, demonstrating how insignificant we are amongst the green city she has built of cast off technical bits and pieces.

In Earth and Air

In Earth and Air by Anny Evason.

There are also pieces by Alex Leadbeater, Rose Miller, Felicity Montague, Katherine Reekie, Gillian Metcalfe, John Booth and others.  A show for the season: take yourself to the Crypt and stroll into the green cave.


An Apple a Day by Lynne Bingham.

The Language of Green: The Crypt, St Mary in the Castle, 7 Pelham Crescent, Hastings TN34 3AF (entrance at street level by the café). 

Thursday 23 April-Tuesday 5 May, 11 am-5pm daily (closed Monday 27 April).


SOCO Facebook page here.

SOCO artists here.

St Mary in the Castle here.







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Posted 21:36 Wednesday, Apr 29, 2015 In: Community Arts

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