An exhibition about hope after storms, day after night, beauty after horror.
Includes paintings, original prints and textiles from; Lesley Birch, Ian Scott Massie, Jane Burnley, Michael Howley and Louise Curnin
The concept of artwork bringing some light and hope into the world is a wonderful one and I am so pleased to be in this exhibition, particularly now when the state of the world seems so unsure. After spending several years studying yoga, my way of working became much more intuitive, no longer planning my work but allowing it to grow and a lot of my paintings became calm and peaceful. It is as if a painting has a life and direction of its own.
I tend to work in acrylics, producing generally small, abstract landscapes, using a sgraffito technique, so scratching through to oil pastel underneath. I love the effect this can give, but it is also a very therapeutic physical process! Colour is paramount to me and each time I paint, I use the colours that 'need to come out' that day, so some days it may be subtle pale greys and other times it might be strong, bright, intense colours.
When I started working for this exhibition, I experimented with Gelatine mono printing and found it a wonderful halfway house between painting and printing and it is so exciting!. At that point, it wasn't landscapes which ‘came out’ , which surprised me, rather it was ‘heads’. I became quite absorbed with the technique and the image, so have included 3 mono prints. These all try to convey the peace one can experience through meditation and the concept of sending out positive energy and thoughts. One includes a quote by Martin Luther King, so relevant today, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
'I have decided to stick with love'
Seed of hope (II)
Seed of hope (I)
Light on the Horizon (II)
"I aim for my paintings to have an impressionist, poetic quality, expressing my feelings and ideas about Time and Place. I play with colour and semi-abstraction, working intuitively creating lines scratches and sweeping marks in layers of paint. It’s a sense of timelessness I’m after in the atmosphere in each painting."
Lesley Birch was born in Glasgow in 1958. She is currently based in York at Pica Studios and exhibits widely throughout the UK including the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the Mall Galleries, London.
The Sun Also Rises
Soft Winds in Colour
Ian Scott Massie
Personally I have always tried to create pictures which have an emotional pull - inspired by the place they portray - and this is usually intended to be very positive. (I am not particularly interested in making pictures which lower the viewer’s spirits.) So the paintings I’m contributing for this show are of places I love, portrayed to emphasise their uplifting nature and include the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District and the Hebrides. The two prints need a little more explanation. The interior of Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley - title: The Last Shift’s Over - is a reference to my first job which involved working in a textile mill. My unhappiness there was a turning point which made me realise I wanted to pursue a creative life. I left, went to study in Durham, and there I became an artist. The print is about looking out of the cage to the freedom of the world beyond. The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of hope. In the 1910s 13 Robertsons, members of my grandmother’s family, left Aberdeen in search of a better life in the States. My grandfather was chronically ill so my grandparents remained behind in Scotland. Most of the Robertsons ended up in Iowa and led happy, successful lives and, with millions of others, made America what it is. Despite the cloud which now hangs over both the USA and the lives of all immigrants I believe that the sentiments embodied in the statue will prevail.
Masham Autumn Sky
Looking to Cracoe Fell, Warfedale
Born as I was under the shadow of Pendle Hill, landscape has always ‘loomed large’ in my imagination and spoken to my soul. Inspired by landscape or memories of landscape, my paintings are at the same time ‘innerscapes’. The artist in me seeks out connections between the changing moods of the outer world and my inner stirrings of emotion and spirit. The pieces I have selected for this exhibition were painted following a time of crisis and darkness and represent the dawning of a renewed sense of hope. Painted with my favourite medium of soft pastels, I found that they offered me the most direct connection between my feelings and their visual expression.
Red and Purple sky
Blue and Gold Sky
My first felt making experience at Artison, Masham about 8 years ago, had me firmly captivated within minutes and I have spent the following years exploring, learning and developing my skills with a wide range of techniques in such a versatile medium. Not a day goes by without me exploring my Wensleydale surroundings for inspiration, playing with an idea, or playing with wool turning an idea into reality.