This annual show at the Craven Museum and Art Gallery in Skipton opened with a packed preview evening last night (20 Oct 2010). I didn't get a chance to see everything because there were so many people milling about but it seemed to be the usual mix of purely decorative with a few notable exceptions.
The latter included Carine Brosse's ceramic and mixed media boxes based on fairy stories. Little creatures and people disport themselves on top of rectangular boxes which are vehicles for scraps of words, quotes and impressed letters. Blood red acrylic is smeared and splattered everywhere in a very dark and disturbing fashion. Learn more about Carine's work at www.onceuponatimeetc.com.
Textile artist Jaki Bogg has been a favourite of mine for a while now. She had two stitched pictures showing empty chairs in quiet corners of apparently empty rooms. Done in muted natural colours with a hint of blue and the stitched threads left trailing in an unfinished careless style which only added to the slightly unsettling mood the works provoked.
Joan Newell is another favourite and I have a much-used digitally printed waxed cotton needle case by her. This collection seemed somehow slicker and more designed as part of a group than previous work I'd seen. She'd also done some interesting black and white prints with hints of red which were uncomfortably similar to recent work by Dionne Swift I'm afraid to say.
Anna Tosney's distinctive drypoint monoprints were as lovely as ever, the chunky duck was a particular favourite, see more at her Wordpress blog
David Cook's prints were not so much to my taste though others in my group loved them. I was drawn to his 'Feather and 3 Stones' mixed media drawing. Faint, misty monochrome images which nevertheless had great power.
Anna Lambert's ceramics come more under the decorative heading but I love their naive style and earthy colourfulness. There were some new (to me) more abstract vessel shapes with interesting organic surface decoration eg 'Vase with Gorse and Buzzard' - the gorse represented by yellow writhing abstract shapes.
On the completely decorative front, I liked Carolyn Hird-Rogers' digital prints of flowers and seed heads on hand made paper - very pretty- and Margaret Swift's naturalistic pastel pencil cat studies, perfectly capturing 'catness'!
The less said about Kitty North's monstrous yellow daub the better!
The show continues until 22 December see www.cravenmuseum.org for opening times.
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