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Director of SCA, Norrie Bewick-Calvert, is looking forward to welcome visitors again: “After a really testing time for everyone, we are so excited to be able to celebrate our re-opening with a fabulous, positive and uplifting Spring Exhibition at our Southport town center gallery. Our exhibitions are always a positive creative connectivity focus in our community but especially now, with people having been separated from each other for so long.”
The Spring Exhibition is an Open, which means that not only SCA members but also the wider creative community can also enter work.
“Lockdown has been really hard for so many, but having the time to explore and develop creatively has really been a gift. So many of our local artists and makers have found that they’ve been able to develop their practice in ways that they hadn’t previously had the time to do.”
Norrie adds: “It is well established now, that having an opportunity to be creative, has a hugely positive impact on mental and physical health. Appreciating this, throughout lockdown, we have stayed in touch not only with our members who have a longstanding creative practice, but also our cohort of students that would normally be attending our regular classes and workshops. It’s been very rewarding to witness the positive impact that the contact, mutual support and creative outcomes, have encouraged as a result.”
Regular SCA members on show include Formby textile artist, Jo Landy. A graduate in Printed Textiles from Liverpool John Moore’s University, Jo has since has diversified into many other textile disciplines including stitch, felt, knit and jewellery. Dyes and dyeing techniques are of particular interest to Jo and her exploration of colour is a continual challenge. For the Open Jo will be submitting a new mixed media artwork, ‘Sunset on Ainsdale Beach’ (pictured above). “There have been some wonderful skies on the beach during these last few months and on my many walks along the coast I have been inspired by the amazing colours and cloud formations in this beautiful part of the country.”
Kate Tidmarsh is a local printmaker based in Burscough West Lancashire. Kate’s focus is on experimental printmaking. She uses handprinting in response to the patterns, textures and colours of the world around her. Her prints are all handmade and individually inked, using a variety of techniques such as monoprint, drypoint and collagraph printing. These individual prints may stand alone, or be part of a related series exploring a theme. Her abstract print, ‘Night Lock’, is part of an on-going series exploring her immediate surroundings: “Because I live very close to the canal, I am investigating the more industrial aspects of this environment – the structures of the bridges and locks – contrasting the water to the stone / concrete / metal. The technique used is silk aquatint printing, with a unique viscosity inking, resulting in a one-off print.”
Birkdale photographer, Jenny Curwen, has been pursuing her photographic art for many years and is especially inspired by nature. “When lockdown started I decided that I would not let the restrictions get me down, and instead I chose to rejoice in the sudden explosion of floral displays around my local area in Birkdale. On my daily walks during lockdown I was fortunate enough to have the freedom to discover the amazing blooms in the area where I live. I found beautiful flowers everywhere, bursting with spring colours.” Each day become another visual adventure for Jenny: “Each expedition around Birkdale revealed bright, beautiful blooms I could share with my family and friends to brighten their days via What’s App. It was my way of lifting their spirits. My walks were filled with purpose and I shared my flower photographs with some of those not allowed to leave their homes at all. This ‘Daisy’ image is one of my favourites.”
Also exhibiting will be Neil Prior, a professional Ainsdale artist having recently moved from Leicestershire to Southport. Neil already has an established track record of commissions in oils, including portraits, still life, landscapes and more recently, his popular, dog portraiture. ‘Daffodil Explosion’, one of three recent flower studies, is an oil painting on canvas. “The thought behind it was that as we enter Spring our beautiful gardens and woodlands explode with the gorgeous yellow colours of the Daffodils. I painted it using both brush and palette knife with the intended explosive effect in mind.”
One of outcomes from lockdown, also on exhibition as part of the Spring Open, will be a unique large multi-artist piece assembled from individual pieces of artwork. Brainchild of SCA stalwarts, Suzanna Gregg and Amanda Clark-Price, over 15 SCA artists were invited to create a single piece of postcard sized artwork that celebrates Southport’s diverse and exceptional environment.
Norrie concludes: “We are hoping that visitors will feel uplifted from their visit to the Gallery and that the Artists taking part, will feel the positive impact of that creative connectivity again, that is such an important part of what SCA sets out to achieve.”
This year’s Spring Open will run from 13th April until 22nd May at ArtHouse, 65 Eastbank Street, Southport. Opening times: Tuesday – Friday: 10am-3pm.
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