Local Colour: AAC Summer Exhibition

What – No Adur Art Trail?

Still from Shoreham by Sea – An Aerial Perspective by Scott Wright

This season’s south coast artfest is well under way: in May, Brighton & Hove Open Houses gave us the fab and funky experience we’ve come to expect; and Worthing will be consolidating its artistic renaissance with Artists Open Houses from mid-June to early July. What of Adur Art Trail? It’s the jewel in the crown, the cultured pearl between Brighton’s Bohemia and Worthing’s retro charm – but there’s no Trail this year. In 2018 there will be an Adur Art Trail to look forward to. However, lovers of the Shoreham art scene won’t be disappointed this year with Adur Art Collective’s first Summer Exhibition at Skyway Gallery. More than 60 members of the collective are currently showing a selection of work in a variety of media: paintings, photographs, prints, sculpture, textiles, jewellery, paper craft, mosaic and film.

The show offers a chance to enjoy memories of last year’s trail, with Maddie Zayeet’s movie Trekking the Adur Art Trail 2016. And there’s another brilliant film not to be missed: Shoreham by Sea – An Aerial Perspective by Scott Wright. It’s a mesmerizing film offering a drone’s-eye view of the local landscape. You feel like you’re flying high over fields, roads, chalk cliffs and shoreline, looking down on well-loved landmarks – the River Adur and the Ferry Bridge, the power station, the lighthouse and Lancing College – in a stunning new way.

Creating a coherent display from such diverse exhibits is an achievement in itself, and the standard of the presentation as well as the art is high. As a venue, Skyway Gallery at the Shoreham Centre has a lot going for it: bright and modern, it’s at the heart of the community so it’s an ideal place to bring art to the people.

And the people are being asked to get involved in this exhibition, to give their comments and to nominate their favourite exhibit as the people’s choice, with prize giving on the show’s closing day. AAC patron and expert watercolourist Shirley Trevena will also present an award for the most innovative use of colour.

What the public have been saying:

“A great eclectic mix, wonderful”
“So much local talent”
“I love seeing all the different media used”
“A lovely exhibition”
“A thoroughly enjoyable feast of art”
“Super exhibition – well done to all the artists”

The Summer Exhibition at Skyway Gallery in Shoreham-by-Sea continues until Sunday 18 June.

A Quest for Identity

 

Spiral Motif in Green, Violet, Blue and Gold: The Coast of the Inland Sea (1950)

Spiral Motif in Green, Violet, Blue and Gold: The Coast of the Inland Sea (1950)

I didn’t know anything about Victor Pasmore before I went to the exhibition of his work currently on at Pallant House Gallery, although I was familiar with one of his paintings without knowing it was by him. During years of drooling over pictures in art books and magazines, I must have seen reproductions of his Coast of the Inland Sea, and it made a lasting impression on me: it’s a bold image of swirling lines, graphic marks and a sophisticated simplicity. It’s a lyrical abstract landscape, and I love it.

Paris Cafe (1937)

Parisian Café (1937)

So, it was a bit of a shock to walk into the first gallery in this exhibition, and see Pasmore’s early paintings. The young Victor was obviously inspired by Sickert’s impressionistic scenes of everyday life, and the pastel drawings by Degas of women washing themselves. In 1937, Pasmore was involved in setting up the Euston Road School, which was dedicated to realism, the traditions of figurative painting and disciplined observation. It was all very British and turned its back on wild, expressive avant-garde art across the Channel.

Reclining Nude (1942)

Reclining Nude (1942)

But the war brought an end to the school and – after a short stint in the army, followed by imprisonment for desertion and being a conscientious objector – Victor painted a series of views of the Thames, very much in the manner of Whistler’s subtle and luminous paintings of the same subject, with a touch of the Turneresque.

The Quiet River: The Thames at Chiswick 1943-4 by Victor Pasmore 1908-1998

The Quiet River: The Thames at Chiswick (1944)

In the mid-1940s, Victor seems to have taken a sudden interest in Post-Impressionism, taking inspiration from the work of Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh and Seurat and exploring new ways of painting using shifting viewpoints and pointillist dots; he also experimented with Cubism, and studied the writings of Kandinsky, Klee, Mondrian and Arp. Embracing the European modern art he had previously shunned, Pasmore developed a distinctive way of painting with patterning, stylisation and abstract shapes.

Triangular Motif (1949)

Triangular Motif (1949)

In the 1950s, Victor turned his attention to creating relief constructions, an art form between paintings and sculptures: the first ones were made of painted plywood and have a rough-and-ready handmade character; the later pieces incorporate Perspex, and look machine made.

Synthetic Construction: White and Black (1966)

Synthetic Construction: White and Black (1966)

When he returned to painting, he produced a series of abstracts dominated by simple shapes in a strong colour, edged with minimalist black lines, and integral frame. In his later years, Pasmore set up his studio in Malta, where he painted big, bold, colourful abstracts and continued to create relief constructions.

Yellow Abstract (1961)

Yellow Abstract (1961)

This exhibition shows the amazing variety of Victor Pasmore’s work as it traces his story from realism to abstraction. Was he a restless spirit constantly seeking an ever-elusive answer to his own personal artistic questions? Or did he simply enjoy chopping and changing? Did he thrive on novelty? Or just get bored with his own work? Who knows?

Victor Pasmore

Victor

Personally, I’m relieved to find an artist I can identify with: I don’t know from one day to the next whether to focus on being an abstract painter or a digital artist or a photographer or a writer. Maybe I can be all of them…

Victor Pasmore: Towards a New Reality at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, West Sussex, is on until 11 June.

pallant.org.uk

 

24 Hours in Bath

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey: a fine example of Perpendicular Gothic.

The Hot Springs

Sign on the wall of the Roman baths.

Circulating Library

Circulating Library in Milsom Street.

Weir at the River Avon

A view of the weir on the River Avon, by Pulteney Bridge.

Pulteney Bridge

Pulteney Bridge, built in 1774.

The Weir 2

Lesser black-backed gulls on the weir.

Quiet Street

Quiet Street.

bath 2 (1024x913)

Amazing architecture near the Roman baths.

Window on Pulteney Bridge

Window and graffiti on Pulteney Bridge.

 

 

Art on the Pier

Creative Waves

During a recent stroll along the seafront, I came across Art on the Pier, an exhibition of work including a series of displays by children from local schools. The kids had been briefed to ‪creative selfies in a variety of ways with a variety of media: photography, collage, drawing, wax resist, clay, fabrics, buttons, wood and wire. The results are brilliant.

I found some really fine photographs by local artists on another part of the pier. The creators of this art on the pier thing are Nadia Chalk and Vanessa Breen, who are professional artists, designers and art educators. They set up a not-for-profit company called Creative Waves, to bring some inspiring public art into the Worthing and Adur community (creativewaves.co.uk). Well done to them, I say – it’s great to see the arts are alive and well in this dreary old town.

A Close Encounter of the Bird Kind

Two Swans

I met these two beautiful creatures near Swanbourne Lake in Arundel. We were feeding the ducks when the swans came over for some food. They came very close, and as I was taking photos, one of them leapt out of water and stood right in front of me. Blimey, it was big! I remembered that people used to say swans were vicious and able to break a man’s arm with no trouble, so I was a tiny bit scared. But nothing terrible happened. In fact, it was rather an exciting moment.