Charlotte Powell: Action Girl With Pansies
Forging new relationships and building on its 30-year history, Gallagher and Turner in Newcastle upon Tyne launched their second Open Exhibition of local artists with assorted practices this November to January 2021. The creative industries can be overlooked. However, with time to pause for many during the lockdown, realisation of value occurred, and their roles appreciated.
The gallery respects the array of cultural institutions and seedbeds of creative spaces in our locality, from the disused offices of Commercial House, the progressive Baltic, Gateshead, and even the neon adorned walls of street art at Ouseburn Village. They desired to aid recovery after the pandemic and boost morale by inviting submissions, accumulating over 50 participants. It was not listed in the criteria to be established in any field; only talent and art to delight and intrigue that can sit comfortably inside the homes of its proud new owner was required.
In this gorgeous fiesta of North East talent, there are textiles, ceramics and a whole manner of painting genres to entice. Originally a theatrical prop maker in London, Julia Roxburgh returned to produce pieces that start life as white earthenware but end up with all the noise of a circus. She decorates with dazzling touches, propelling fun and glamour to her pieces through baroque details, gilt finishes in real gold and daring patterns. Candelabra and Teapot, 2021, meshes an unnamed animal print with jester hats.
Brooding stormy works from Durham's John Grey- formally a traditional black and white photographer- represent Northern landmarks through a brass plate, aquatint etching method, building hand-printed monochrome works, rendering the images wholly unique. Tyne Bridge 2021 and Tynemouth 2020 would work entirely as vintage horror film posters. The mood is eerie; the atmosphere is foggy as if the images are hiding a secret that we will not uncover. They whisk the spectator to a strange place, yet they are in no way uncomfortable to view.
A self-taught painter and illustrator, Errol Theunissen originates from Zimbabwe but joins the good folk residing in Middlesborough. A life-affirming motor vehicle accident in Africa seriously injured his spine and legs; art stepped up as a vital component of recovery. Comforting home life is essential to Errol. Selecting oils and pastels in strikingly bold colours that represent his heritage are presented in The Visitor. Although the room is cosy and full of family, a longing never leaves you as an immigrant, even if you are a settled soul.
Browse the catalogue HERE.
Article by Beverley Knight