Saturday, 5 February 2011

'Endings and Beginnings' Arts Factory Open exhibition, Love Keighley Gallery 5 February 2011

This year, Keighley Arts Factory has decamped from its main gallery on North Street and taken over an unoccupied shop in Keighley's Airedale shopping centre. The Love Keighley Gallery is all part of a town centre regeneration effort which is all too familiar in shopping centres throughout the country and pop-up galleries as they are often called are a sad reflection on the local economy. Today's preview was a jolly affair for all that and well attended by artists and friends. We will see what the rest of the town's residents make of it over the coming month.

Shops are not always ideal venues for art shows but this one with its
corner position and large glass windows showed off the work fairly well although the glass also meant that the hanging area was necessarily restricted so some work was less than ideally placed high off the ground and not so easily viewed. One artist who suffered in this respect was Linda Harrison. Her 'Beginnings' work appeared to be the tooled cover of an old book which had red tabs placed like bookmarks behind it but the piece was hung so high it was impossible to see what the words printed on them were and whether they were significant. Her 'Endings' piece on the other hand was an easy to read photograph of a wall of old glazed tiles and peeling white paint, simple but I'm a sucker for images of decay and wear.

This is why I was also drawn to the work of Stephen Capstick showing images of old peeling painted doors, one 'Untitled I' with a battered tin-plated letter box, the other 'Untitled II' with a rusty hasp and padlock. Again, they were too high for me to get a really good look and I couldn't tell if they were prints or manipulated photographs, but at £50 each I suspect the latter.

June Russell's three pieces were definitely prints and all very accomplished. 'Autumn Chimneys' was a delightful lino print rooftop view through leaves while 'Hedges at Cowgill' a simple monochrome etching and aquatint showing a drystone wall and single silhouetted tree.

Perhaps the most accomplished artist in the show was Janet McLelland whose gloomy, powerful landscapes caught the eye of all three of my guests. The photo shows them in the centre of the shot, one above the other. Janet writes in the catalogue, "In these three made-up Landscapes I evoke renewability of Land, endless circles of Beginnings and Endings that are yet to be portrayed". I'm not entirely sure what that means but for me they spoke very directly, the centre one of war-torn landscapes, the mud of the Somme with its artillery shattered trees and rain-soaked skies. The bottom one seemed to be an image of a powerful river silvered with moonlight surging past a dark forbidding forest. Again, very reasonably priced at around £100 each.

While the quality of the rest of the show is variable there is enough decent work here for me to recommend a visit. For reasons set out below, make the most of it as it may be your last for a while in Keighley.

The show continues until Wed 23 February, the gallery is open Mon-Thurs 10am to 4pm Fri 10am to12noon Sat 10am to 3pm

Postcript: While at the preview I learned from the curator Jo Whitehead that Leeds City College is closing down the KAF gallery on North Street. It will be sadly missed.

No comments:

Post a Comment