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Stephanie Fawbert

Stephanie Fawbert

SoCo strong and fragile at HAF

It is always interesting to go to a curated show as opposed to an all members exhibition. It gives space and development to the artists and more clarity to the viewer. HOT’s Lauris Morgan-Griffiths dropped in to SoCo (South Coast Artists) first curated Showcase of eleven artists selected from membership submissions.

The work is all very different, there is no subscribed theme yet there appears an underlying connection of fragility and strength. I realise that is an antithesis; some of the art is deceptively delicate but has a robustness to it – and vice versa.

Helen Scalway has created beautiful. tender, dream sculptures. She has constructed house-like ‘dwellings’ out of tactile, diaphanous material. They are tender and attractive; up ladders, stairs into airy rooms, they draw you in psychically and imaginatively.



Alongside are structures with tactile mud-like, elemental structures, dark inside mysterious, ladders and mirror and … stuff – more inward-looking than outward –  full of internal thoughts, beliefs, slightly scary. Helen explains, “I am interested in attempting to explore ‘dwelling’ structures as models of ‘self’ in relation to ‘others’ selves’. This involves me in constantly attempting to model/make visible that which is invisible – a sometimes frustrating process. But I keep trying…” Do please, Helen. They are beautiful.

Sarah Heenan is also exploring space. Her 3-D installation is both intriguing and baffling. Her work relates to architecture, autobiography and self-portraiture. This sculpture has been drawn and stretched out of a secret place from her childhood home. Parental loss creates many emotions and memories – no matter how late in life it happens, it is no less poignant to think one will never be a daughter or son again. Unsurprisingly, one returns to a place of safety and Sarah has re-imagined and reconstructed a safe space from her parents’ home. She explains, “The viewer’s emotional response to each artwork or installation – that possible moment of recognition and resonance – is of enormous importance. Subtle reference to childhood memory as feelings of loss and security are embodied in projective spaces.”

Sally Cole

Sally Cole

Sally Cole has entitled her work Internal Landscapes. She has painted the series covers a short space of time, September 18 to October 3. Her work has matured over the last few years. Then she was reaching out into the landscape, this work appears to have taken a fresh slant, looking inwards while looking out. It is visceral, meditative. It feels like a falling away, letting go, a clearing out, leaving a calmer, reflective space. It will be interesting where Sally goes from here.

Angela Braven’s paintings are robust and colourful. Strong figures cluster around. A family gathering? Then as you look into the image this is not a celebratory occasion, it is a ceremony of Female mutilation. Angela had nightmares when she learned of the horror and pain inflicted on these young girls. In one picture she has written ‘They sang louder to hide my screams’ and ‘Ban FGM’. Women cower back, cover their eyes and ears with their hands, children look on wide-eyed with horror. The women administering to the young girls, and their mother, also went through the same process – which  continues today.

Children feature in a very different way in   Stephanie Fawbert arresting portraits. The watercolours stare forthrightly out at the gallery, serious, trusting, fearless. You don’t know who they are but there is a knowing sense about them; you can almost see the adult within.

Anny Evason

Anny Evason

Anny Evason’s French Studies are quite lyrical; twirling, curious, hieroglyphics. She has been spending time in France and this is her way of seeing and thinking into the landscape – the vines, the trees, the birds, even the music of the terrain. And also learning a language; grasping for words, fitting vocabulary, accent and grammar together as they skitter and dance in and out of range.

John Booth has drawn skulls and bones of a gorilla, whales and birds, strong structures, insubstantial, reduced without their flesh. And the Western Front echoes with silent screams of fragile, extinguished and broken lives.

Heather Collins meticulously creates sturdy anchors, pathways and seaside groynes. Yet look close up – it is difficult to resist touching them –they are trompe-l’oeil, their strength is deceptive they are made out of textiles.  John Hacker magically catches an atmosphere of ephemeral light in drawings conjuring up April, May. Alongside the monotone stillness of the months, his paintings Of Dark, Bearing, Turning have an energy of movement, journeys and landscape.

Kathleen Mullaniff series of paintings came out of  a gift from her sister,  a collection of lace dated from 1922 – in particular some Chantilly Lace. “I like to work with veils of thin oil paint and lace has a fascinating structure; it is fragile, yet the stitches are physically strong and its transparency lets light filter through.”

Maggie Henton

Maggie Henton

Maggie Henton explores the Shipping Forecast, Wind, Rain, Snow, Gale, Lost. I love the fact that it exists, broadcast rhythmically morning and evenings on Radio 4 which I simply don’t understand but it it is a steady hand in an unsteady world – constant, comforting, safe. However,it is the Maggie’s title Lost  discombobulates me. And I don’t know where I am.

Much I suppose like the creative process;  artists work towards a point on the horizon and en route things change and jump and soar, confuse and challenge. That is what makes art exciting and worth looking at. Do go to the Showcase and find what resonates with you.

Showcase is on at Hastings Arts Forum, 36 Marina, St Leonards on Sea, TN38 0BU 01424 201 636 until 26 June. Open Tuesday-Sunday 11am-5pm.


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Posted 14:58 Wednesday, Jun 22, 2016 In: Visual Arts

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