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Lynne Bingham: Lepus cuniculus.

Unwrapped at the Stables

Over the last year or so the Stables Art Gallery have put on some interesting solo as well as mixed shows. HOT’s Lauris Morgan-Griffiths sallied forth with anticipation to SoCo Artists’ latest show, Unwrapped.

Mixed shows are always difficult to review; you don’t want to miss people out but on the other hand you simply can’t mention everyone. So apologies in advance.

Cherry tree Autumn Sinéid Codd

Cherry Tree Autumn: Sinéid Codd.

Almost immediately you can see Unwrapped contains a diverse selection of work: nature comes in quite strongly; ink drawings with delicate, flowing arcs of ink; as well as intriguing, idiosyncratic images.

In a cabinet  on the left of the gallery are two glass display cabinets containing little treasures, little reliquaries: a box of a skull, Lynne Bingham’s Lepus cuniculus; Jon Palmer’s two mysterious boxes: one with a stone giving off ghostly, moon-like radiance; another, an Ibis-headed figure, Thoth, the Egyptian god of the moon, magic, writing and the divine mediator.

In the natural world Helen Hunt has painted her curious bugs looking as if they are actually sitting on antiquarian book pages. With the ability to see the ladybirds and beetles up close and personal they look fragile and fanciful with their armoured bodies and dainty faceted legs.

Colour and texture of a different kind are shown on Mary Morris’ Kelp Calligraph; a personal landscape of overlapping textile squares, kelp dyed echoing the stunning muddy greens and blues of an aquatic landscape.

The Veil of the Poet. Rooks.

The Veil of the Poet (left). Rooks.

I am rather fond of rooks, so I am attracted to the animated black birds Gillian Metcalfe has drawn with a gentle, free- flowing hand. Rooks often look upright, business-like. Metcalfe has drawn one open-mouthed, cawing loudly, while another looks mournful, downbeat, claws splayed but watchful, poised, watchful.

John Booth has created a Forest Floor by combining leaves and text collaged together, one from book pages cut into leaves, the other the reds and yellows of fallen leaves. Both pictures have the rather poignant words ‘where the dead leaf fell’ cut into the leaves.

Adrienne Hunter Courgette flower

Adrienne Hunter: Courgette flower.

I am always in awe of people who draw or use water colour and almost let the ink take its course, yet form a distinctive image. In control through their experience and skill, yet it arrives fully formed into a distinctive image. Several artists work in this way and have produced expressive, lyrical paintings.

Adrienne Hunter has portrayed a  beautiful, free flowing courgette flower in blues and amber. Charlotte Snook brings to life intriguing, contemporary, period-type fairy tales.   has a wondrous, stooped figure weighed down by the weight of the world, the weight of opinion – a male sitting on her head. Food for thought and wonder.

Lifeline Roz Cran

Lifeline: Roz Cran.

I have to admit I am not always sure what Roz Cran’s work represents but I like it and am intrigued by it. It always has a curious and seductive quality that invites questions, wanting to discover more. This digital print, Lifeline, has three fragile, tissue papier mache hot water bottles, supported on a tufted rug and tenderly tied up with red wool, viscerally holding them altogether.

Rose Miller’s ink drawing title is intriguing – The Miraculous Veil of the Poet. It is a mysterious title, matched to an intriguing image. On brown paper, burned at the edges a face peers out with dark opaque eyes. She explains, “The ‘veil of the poet’ is a metaphor for the tension between intimacy and concealment within the creative act. Confession and revelation is sometimes masked or only partially disclosed through images, symbols, movements, text or sounds.”

There are many other artists and works to discover; Harry Snook’s colourful geometric images; THAP’s shadowy harlequins; Claire Buckley’s precious-looking textiles; Jean Davey Winter’s aerial maps laid out as The Journey Unfolds. Having explored the exhibition I’m not entirely sure what Unwrapped represents in every instance. However, that is for the individual to discover. It’s an interesting show and worth catching before Christmas.

SoCo at the Stables: Unwrapped continues until 22 December at The Stables Theatre and Arts Centre, The Bourne, Hastings TN34 3BD. Monday-Saturday 10.30am-2pm and 6-8pm. Closed Sunday.



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Posted 10:04 Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 In: Visual Arts

Also in: Visual Arts

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