Coastal Currents: Open Studio; Seen and Unseen

If you are in Hastings this weekend or next, we are holding an open studio as part of Coastal Currents arts festival.  Showing are works by Naomi Holdbrook, Celeste Barker and myself  around the theme of Seen and Unseen. Studio is a bit of a misnomer in this instance;  while I often work at home  the so called studio doubles as a laundry room. I have found through bitter experience that oil paints and clean washing are not a good combination. The room is certainly not large enough to show works from three of us so we have spent the last two days turning the ground floor into a kind of gallery by removing  all clutter such as the television and cushions with the result that it looks unnaturally tidy and feels somewhat uncomfortable.

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Here are few of the pieces you can see if you come:

We Gather: Naomi Holdbrook: oil on canvas
Orifice 1: Sue McDougall, Mixed media
Seen and unseen: Naomi Holdbrook
Seen and unseen: Naomi Holdbrook Mixed media
Sophia Writing in Striped Socks: Sue McDougall, acrylic on canvas work in progress
Untitled:Celeste Barker mixed media
Untitled:Celeste Barker, mixed media

Open Studio September 21, 22, September 28,29 11am to 6pm

Boxed in at the Linchpin Gallery

The Linchpin Gallery in Eastbourne is continuing to prove itself adventurous: whilst many small seaside galleries concentrate on the purely commercial,  the Lynchpin tucked away in a mews off the Willowfield Road has a more experimental side. Established by Irene Runayker in December 2011  the gallery shows established artists in the upstairs room  but uses the ground floor for a variety of changing exhibitions. Currently showing is work by 9 artists, all of whom have created works which in some way are linked to boxes. Although I am one of the artists included, I was surprised to discover that so many people were working with boxes but then, perhaps it is not surprising; boxes  do have the inherent advantage that they provide  a natural constraint forcing the artist and the viewer to concentrate on the contents. Then there is the  sense of mystery; it started with Pandora and has even included audiences of some television quiz, the name of which I have mercifully forgotten; everybody wants to see what is in the box.

The works are extremely different. Among the work there, I particularly liked Cat Ingrams’ Sketch Box. If you ignore the reflection of me photographing it, you can just make out that the dimensions of the door are written on the to wall above it.

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Sketchbox by Cat Ingrams

Joyce Corbett’s assemblages took a variety of throw away objects, bottle tops,  can-pulls and rearranged them to create something different and deceptively simple.

Assemblage: Joyce Corbett
Assemblage: Joyce Corbett

Elizabeth Claridge’s  Fetish Objects have a decided sexual symbolism.

Fetish Objects by Elizabeth Claridge
Fetish Objects: Elizabeth Claridge

I also liked Paul Bartholomew’s series  A Flowering which reminded me of Moorish tiles, but also of a logic puzzle

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A Flowering: Paul Bartholomew

Of course I have to show you my work:  Suitcase. The case belonged to my father; I remember it being used when I was a child. The contents which are painted red (I don’t need to explain the symbolism) come from a variety of sources; my daughter was not too thrilled to find that a pair of her shoes had become part of it.

A suitcase is open showing the possessions inside which are all painted red
Suitcase: Sue McDougall

Sadly one of the most interesting of the works by Julia Mitchell had melted by the time I got to the exhibition. Photographed here reflected in the window it comprised three blocks of ice.  Jules explained “The  base level contained a letter my grandmother wrote to me when she was dying. The middle block shown contained photos of people that were mentioned in the letter. The blocks also contained lavender, something of which she always smelt and which in turn made the ice  smell lovely. It was an auto-destruct memorial of which the viewer could only see  a part,  as most of the photos were not seen until it melted. The photos were strewn in the car park it was like finding discarded treasures.”

A stack of three ice blocks reflected in the window of the Lynchpin Gallery in Eastbourne
Memorial: Julia Mitchell

Art in Boxes is showing at the Linchpin Gallery 67a Willowfield Road, Eastbourne BN228AP  until September 20. The Gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday from 10.30 to 3.30.