"Contemporary Art for Christmas 2012"
Award to one artist of £250 voted by the public
10th November - 14 December
Contemporary Art for Christmas is an annual exhibition in its fifth year. Each year the gallery curator has hand selected 7 artists from throughout the UK. The artists have been selected for having outstanding creative talent, an unparallel strength in rendering contemporary aesthetics and a dialogue towards art history.
Collectors often gift artwork to loved ones and Christmas is a time of giving. Let’s see Christmas as a time of year as potential to sell contemporary art. One of the artists exhibiting will win the award “Contemporary art for Christmas 2012 award” of £250 as voted by the public.
Raya Herzig was born in Poland, where she grew up during the war. As a child she had been highly talented in music and art, but instead of an early career it was five years of German concentration camps. When they were liberated by British troops on May 3rd 1945, of the whole family only Raya and her sister Stella had survived - purely by chance.
For all the following years of recovery in hospitals of Sweden, Switzerland and Italy, moved around as a ‘Displaced Person’, her talents lay dormant. Then, in 1969, Raya revisited Poland. The confrontation with the places of her childhood broke the spell. She began to paint. Although not trained in any academy, she soon was recognised as a professional artist by VISARTE, the Swiss Society of Artists.
Since 1971 Raya Herzig has shown her works in over thirty solo exhibitions and a great number of group-exhibitions in Switzerland, Germany, France, Poland, Great Britain and Japan.
In 1990 Raya Herzig moved to Britain. She became a British Citizen in 1998 and is a member of APA, the Association of Polish Artists in Britain. She lives in Exeter
Alone at sunrise I wander through
Curling ferns, purple heather and gorse
Heavy, sultry air still moist
From silver, shadowed cool of night
On dew-silk grass, my feet lightly tread
Its silent memories, not so distant,
Fill my head
Through early morning mists
Buttercup song and gleeful play
I travel back in time and recall
An ancient dream
When Suffolk’s Sandlings stretched
Magnificent and vast
As broad as the boughs of Majestic
Oaks that stand
On the jewelled, gossamer threads
That still remain.
(Sutton Heath, Suffolk)
I grew up on the outskirts of Ipswich, the surrounding woods, meadows, riverbanks and heathland were my playground. Through my teenage years, I watched in dismay, as, one by one, these places disappeared under tonnes of concrete, replaced by industrial estates, superstore complexes, housing estates and road systems. They exist now, only in my memory and the memories of others that played there as children.
Moving from urban to rural surroundings, one feels that it is again, possible to breathe. Since moving to the heart of Breckland in Norfolk, with my children, James and Rebecca, and now to Rural Suffolk, I have found other places that give me pleasure, although it seems that nowhere is entirely safe from the planners’ pen! It is from these places that I draw inspiration for my work whilst also drawing upon folklore, mythology and ancient history to suggest something more than the purely physical. Working, initially, by pouring, rolling & splattering, echoes the chaotic essence of the natural world; ultimately, there is only a limited amount of control one has over what the paint will do. From here, the image is built up by applying many layers of glazing, so that it slowly evolves, thus echoing the passage of time; as the life and history of each site are recorded within it, resulting in its current ambience and appearance, so each layer of glazing is an integral part of the final image.
As a population, we are becoming more environmentally aware, increasingly accepting our responsibility to protect the natural world, viewing it, not only as something beautiful but also precious. However, we still view it as something outside ourselves, something separate. Through my work, I hope to not only suggest that it is possible to access memories within the landscape that give vital clues to the ancestral heritage of our land and people, but to also awaken a sense of connectedness that industrialisation, technology and materialism have destroyed.
Growing up with an interest in both graphic art and graphic design – inspired at an early age by the early works of Jim Dine and Rauschenberg as well as the constructed geometry of Rodchenko and the Bauhaus – I was trained as a graphic designer, and have pursued both art and design in parallel for a number of years.
Taking cues from the structure and composition of the urban environment – my work draws inspiration from architecture, constructivism, contemporary graffiti and the textures
and layered messages that bombard us on a daily basis – whilst also challenging what we term “landscape” in the structured, manmade environments we inhabit.
In the past year I have taken the natural step from painting to three - dimensional works, recycling found materials which take the geographical nature of my work a step further, associating the works with the urban areas the materials came from.
These works evoke urban landscape through both composition and materials with the additional dimensions attained through sculpture opening up the idea of numerous viewpoints and enabling an additional level of interaction.
Cezary B Gruzewski
My sculpture is a three-dimensional drawing. My drawing is a sculptural act. I consider all my work to be three-dimensional.
The relation between my sculptures and the drawings is always present. My sculptures become a three-dimensional reflection, at times distorted, usually processed and reworked reflection of the initial sketches.
Although my drawings might appear planned to the viewer, it is actually very much the opposite. I work intuitively, guided my spontaneous mark making. I am drawn into the linear qualities, abstract forms and shapes.
An important element of reality and an important aim of my sculpture is the first impression. A direct, immediate contact with the viewer that instead of provoking a certain reaction, a certain perception, allows individual thoughts and orders to look.
My sculptures are very much a result of constant manipulation, reworking of various synthetic or natural materials. Visual experience and the physicality of those objects are very important. They intent not to occupy the space they are placed in, but work within it, and as a result, create a different environment. Reworking the object, reworking the space.
I playfully use the elements of recognisable forms to create an inquisitive dialogue with the natural world. The relation between the objects itself and the drawings is always present. My sculptures become a three-dimensional reflection, at times distorted, usually processed and reworked reflection of the initial sketch.
Sharon T Ross
After a 30 year career as a Nurse, my life has took a new path, as an Artist. Recently graduated with a Ba Fine art from Wirral Metropolitan College UK, July 2011. Since then I have been working hard to establish and emerge as a professional artist, with representation with a New York art gallery, and the Vivid Arts Network.
My figurative works are literal and abstract. They concern dissimulation, and how true feelings can be hidden behind a mask. The masks hide any form of identity. Who is behind the mask? The masks enable the wearer to act more freely. I can relate the concept of the masks to everyday life, as everyone wears a mask of some description to hide their feelings, emotions, they wear a mask in a professional capacity or to interact with different people and family.
My work reflects my feelings and emotions on life and I hope that this transmits itself to the viewer. On the other hand, interaction is key to my work and what a viewer gets out of a work will vary each time he looks at a painting, depending on what has been happening that day and his emotional state. Every time is slightly different; every time is newly fresh and relevant.
I create abstract tactile images that have evolved over time through process and experimentation with materials.
I attempt to translate ideas that are instigated by memory, place, imagination or the medium itself. Inspiration comes in many forms, mainly by observing my environment.
When paint alone limited expression of ideas I began to use a variety of materials and processes including sewn fabric, garden fleece, torn canvas, knotted twine, domestic “finds”, household paints and varnishes – anything that “did the job!”
Sometimes the initial starting point is discarded as work progresses and the voyage of discovery becomes exciting.
In 2008 I started to explore aerial landscapes. I use my experiences and memories of flying to draw the initial inspiration for my work. Photographs provide only a general reference, often stirring a memory of a specific flight and from there I prefer to work much more loosely from my imagination. I find this allows the painting to take on a life of it’s own.
I use a variety of techniques to express the textural, tonal and often abstract qualities of the aerial views. I like to include small references to human life forms below, such as a hint of housing, roads or other man made structures. Fascinated by the complex patterning of the fields and trees below. Often vegetation causes a random splattering of dots. I have noticed so many things from the air, the sub division of areas and the way field patterning often gets tighter and smaller closer to dwellings.
From above the viewpoint condenses the details from a three-dimensional view to an almost two-dimensional image. Clouds often form another layer, obscuring areas from view, forcing you to concentrate on other elements of the landscape.
My vast experience as a print maker has informed and enhanced my paint methods. I have a very similar approach to painting as I have to print making, both have a focus on capturing textures, layering of materials and an attention to the building up of surface qualities. The painting medium offers me an immediacy that printmaking doesn’t, I enjoy seeing an immediate effect and I can adapt quickly and the form often changes substantially. As an artist exploring different techniques, I think we often turn to the tools we are most familiar with, I started to use print making tools within the painting medium. I use the print making rollers, palette knives, card and rags, all to create different marks and effects on the surface.
Mary Thrasivoulou Spence
Mary was born in Larnaca, Cyprus and moved to London at the age of 5.
At various times during her career her work has ranged from semi figurative to full abstraction. Central to Mary’s work is her use of colour and texture, which are used to convey a range of experiences dealing with ideas relating to music, space, light, rhythm, natural phenomena, and those of a more subjective nature. Influences are many and varied.
Mary operates from her East London studio, and has exhibited regularly since 1985, mostly in London.