Visual Arts Reviews

2012 ART EXHIBITION - Burbage Art Group

(credit: Rachel Slaney)

The Burbage Art Group meet weekly to work on their individual visual art projects in a supportive environment. The fairly informal group, led by Rachel Stanley who is a qualified and experienced art teacher, range from beginners to quite accomplished artists working in a wide range of media including; pastels, acrylic, oil, collage, water colour and photography plus some 3D work. Each person chooses their own project(s) to work on with support and advice from each other and Rachel.

The exhibition included pieces by 15 different group members plus an excellent wire sculpture and impressive sketch book by the winner of the Buxton Community School Artist of the Year, Zoe Patterson. The pieces on display were extremely varied and represent a year of creativity for the individuals in the group whose styles reflect their different characters and lives.

My favourites included; Hilary McLynn's fine sketch of Boxing Hares, Stephanie Osborne's painting of her family dog, and Jean Tym's study of a Dragonfly. Laura Critchlow's Apple still life and two Pears were very impressive, and the Ram by Geoffrey Willis is of a professional standard. John Delinikajtis's paintings of riverside life in Richmond in south London where he used to live sit happily next to local landscapes by other members, and Sandra Parkin's Seal deserves a special mention.

The Burbage Art Group which also includes; Annie Osborne, Rachel Slaney, Greg Parkin, Maria Hyde, Kath Jones, David Allard, Dan Fram, and Marian Walter range from age 17 to over 80. They seem a happy, easy going bunch who tell me that they welcome newcomers to join them on Wednesday evenings. So, if you have a half finished project you could do with some support to get back to, or an idea you'd like to try or experiment with, this local group may be what you have been needing to get the creative process going and to develop your artistic skills and confidence. You don't have to commit or formally join the group, just drop in to the Burbage Institute on a Wednesday evening (7:15 - 9:15) or ring Rachel on 01538 266220 to find out more.

Jean Ball

A WALK ON THE WILDSIDE - Lynne Wilkinson

?Sitting Pretty? by Lynne Wilkinson

You can find 'A Walk on the Wildside' by Lynne Wilkinson in Gallery 2 of Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.

You immediately feel impressed by the intensity of colour and a feeling that the animals are trying to make friendly contact with you. Lynne's subjects are typical of domestic animals found not far from Buxton, including poultry, cattle and dogs. The animals are caught in such a way as appearing to be posing for a photograph, not particularly looking wild but the viewer may feel like engaging in a conversation with them. Lynne's animals are beautiful and it seems to me her art has conveyed her love of animals.

A little under half of them do not have animals as their main subject. These include paintings of flowers, boots and several landscapes. The landscapes and flowers are to me wilder than the animals. They show wild, daring and effective brush strokes. Some of the subjects also seem to be communicating with the viewer. For example, the boots in 'These Old Boots 'seem to be forcing themselves out of the canvas. This also seems to happen in the flower pictures with the thickly applied acrylic.

The 'Walker's Gate' which is almost abstract is one of the wildest. But the wildest one in my view is the self portrait. The artist's hair seems to be windswept and her strokes wilder than ever. This is the wildest art work I've seen for quite a while.

Thank you Lynne for these paintings which I really enjoyed and I am sure many others will likewise.

Roger Horvath

BUXTON ART TRAIL 2012 - Buxton Art Trail

BAT 2012

Buxton Art Trail is a tremendous success. I was amazed at the variety of types of art, the creativity and the skills of the artists. Also there was a marvellous atmosphere on the trail. On all the venues I visited there were several people there thoroughly enjoying themselves engaged in viewing the art work .The artists on the venue were all very courteous and helpful in explaining their work. Hospitable exhibition was the description one artist gave to her exhibition. There were even free cakes and drinks offered in places.

There were art works which gave out a strong message. A powerful one I thought was the dinosaur sculpture exhibition, many of the works being created by local school children. They were made entirely out of rubbish. The message was that like the dinosaurs our way of life is doomed to extinction if we don't recycle much much more.

Some of the exhibitions helped the viewer to understand some aspects of the art process. In one venue copper plates were displayed which were used for etchings and linocuts were also on display. One of the exhibitions showed you the contribution computer technology is making to art and our understanding of it.

Many artists understandably were influenced by the local landscape and this was evident by the many beautiful familiar landscapes on display. A collaboration between Borderland in Leek and High Peak Community Project Earth (Glossop and Buxton) created a three dimensional work which was inspired by the carboniferous limestone of the Peak District. These works were largely made out of wool, soft to the touch, often on a clay base.

One very interesting display involved a progression from suffering in the form of Tsunamis, war, suicide and accidents to hope expressed in the birth of a baby.

Music was used to good effect on several venues. In one a violinist played folk music in an ancient mode and created an atmosphere which went hand in hand with the beautiful and expressive art works in a beer garden.

Photographs were exhibited at various places. One of my favourites was of the statues at St. Anne's Well. An interesting use of photographs was used in what is described as lo-fi art which involved a multi layer approach. One of the artists makes a point of taking a photograph a day and two on Sundays, placing them on her facebook page. Many of these capture nature at its most beautiful. Many interesting giclée prints of the Himalayas brought us in touch with another part of the world.

Some of the most beautiful works were paintings on silk which involved such subjects as flowers, buildings and seaside themes. The colours are very clear and striking.

Another set of beautiful works were figure paintings largely in charcoal which showed the shapes and rhythms of the body.

Amongst my favourites was an exhibition of abstract works with suggestions of the sea.

One of my individual favourite works was titled,' Prospero's Island' which used the medium of acrylic .The vivid colour and effective use of line was impressive. Other works by the same artist borrowed some images from Mary Cassatt, Lucian Freud and Raoul Dufy.

Many people were amazed by the sculptured pipes and examples of book binding which epitomised the breadth of local talent.

The artists and organizers achieved a great success.

Roger Horvath

Part 2

On Sunday I hit the Buxton Art Trail again. As on Saturday I was impressed by the quality of the work and the immense variety.

There were more examples of recycling. One exhibition used orange peel, tea bags, egg shells and citrus. One of the finest in this exhibition in my opinion is 'The Tea Shop', made of tea bags. Very eye catching textiles jewellery made of recycled wool can be viewed in the Colonnade for a few more weeks to come.

Several themes emerged today probably by accident rather than design. One artist did several works on winter. The snow was well represented with subtle use of colour. Other themes were birds, sea and horror based to a large extent on films. Of the bird paintings my favourite was the bullfinch.

There were many interesting watercolours. One which stood out for me was Windermere. Some very beautiful works using this medium were executed in monochrome.

Many mediums were represented other than painting. Several high quality ceramic works were displayed with their pleasing shapes and interesting colour effects. Touching them was highly encouraged. Hand sewn textiles often using flowers as a subject were a valuable contribution. Adding even more interest to the exhibition was a hand sewn copy of Klimt's famous work, 'The Kiss'. Adding even more variety was an imaginative display of knitted items. Other mediums represented were etchings, screen prints and collographs which were beautifully presented in Sainsburys.

Some background effects enhanced the exhibitions. One was background improvisations on the guitar whilst photos on a loop were displayed.

Roger Horvath

BUXTON IMAGES - Suzanne Pearson

woodcut by Suzanne Pearson

One of the advantages of the Fringe is that you can get to see things, whether it be art, a show or play, that you might nor see anywhere else. There is always a strong showing by local artists for example, and this year is no exception. In addition to taking part in the biennial Art Trail, local artist Suzanne Pearson returns to the Fringe with some of her latest works. They are as the title simply says Buxton images.

Another advantage of the Fringe is that you can often meet the artist and they will give you some background to the exhibition. In this case it was the knowledge that the preparatory work for the pieces was carried out in January, so the weather wasn't at its best! You can also see how pieces evolved and how some of the images are made - including the original woodcuts for example.

It being based on images of Buxton there are of course some familiar, even iconic scenes, but there are also hidden corners to be found. These are works in various media and techniques, but I was struck by cool blues, greens and turquoise. None of the works here would look out of place in a gallery, and many of them may be purchased - another chance to support Art in Buxton!

A friendly welcome awaits you!

Ian Parker Heath


Buxton Photo Challenge

Created as a venture to get more local people involved in art and photography, this exhibition showcases the results, and very good results they are too.

Entrants were given the challenge of the title - they had eight hours to capture images for eight themes, including movement, celebration, red and 'a little bit of Buxton'. The challenge was open to all - including children - and the entrants have certainly risen to the challenge.

The range of subject matter in the eight themes is surprising and interesting, with the occasional obvious one thrown in for good measure. It must have been a difficult task to judge all the entries if the printout of them is anything to go by. All I can say is that I'm glad all I had to do was enjoy the end result! If you have any interest in photography or Buxton the go along and have a look - see if you agree with me.

The show continues until the end of the Fringe.

Ian Parker Heath


Paint 1 (credit: Norman Elliott)

Last year's winners of the Fringe's visual arts show award return with new works. Kate Aimson, Louise Janetta and Norman Elliott are well-known to Fringe goers and art lovers in the area and their work spans very different themes and styles.

Kate Aimson's small textile pieces carry echoes of the past and a sense of humour is evident here. Much use is made of local history and the work is stylish, displaying as it does techniques which she herself has developed. More of Kate's work can be seen later in the Great Dome Art Fair should you miss it here.

Norman Elliott has a strong sense of the abstract and the show here makes more than a passing acquaintance with the drip technique made so (in)famous by Jackson Pollock. Chaotic is certainly one way to describe them, bright, bold and attractive are others. Of course, such strong abstract pieces are not to everyone's taste and there is work here that indulges other taste.

Louise Janetta shows us a more traditional style, with recognizable images. Much of her current work is inspired by the landscape in and around Buxton, a familiar theme in the Fringe it must be said. There are pieces which show the interplay of light and atmosphere, and with a range of techniques including collagraphs and mixed media it shows off her talents to the full.

I visited the show with my family, children included, and they enjoyed it but felt that some of the pieces were 'weird' and 'messy'. On the whole we felt that it wasn't a good venue for an art show being too small and cramped. Some of the pieces would have benefited from a larger viewing area or space.

These three artists show us more facets of the vibrant art scene here in Buxton and the surrounding area. This is something that we need to appreciate fully and getting up going to see exhibitions such as this will certainly help maintain both the artists and the rich cultural life we as Fringe supporters value.

Ian Heath


Earthworks 2012

The Earthworks provides a showcase for a collective of ceramic artists, and they have returned to Buxton to display some of their wares. Six artists have works showing here, and they are all of an equally high standard as one might expect.

There are some bold experiments with colour which may not be to everyone's taste if some of the comments I heard during my visit are anything to go by - but that's art for you. I particularly liked the boats created by Jan Lewis-Ecclestone - very natty I thought!

The venue was very busy when I was there, so I suspect a lot of visitors to the Fringe will have seen the show as it is part of this year's Buxton Art Trail. Take a few minutes out of your Fringe schedule to see this.

Ian Parker Heath

LET THE GAMES BEGIN - Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

?Last Minute Goal? by Carel Weight

'Let the Games Begin', is exhibited in the Foyer of the Buxton Museum and Art Gallery. The materials were assembled to celebrate sporting achievements in this area over the last century and beyond. This may set many people in the mood to celebrate the sporting achievements which will take place in the Olympic Games in a few weeks. It is a well thought out eye catching display and the content was interesting. The display took the form of painting, drawing photograph and artefacts and many of the sports were represented including some unusual ones.

There were some memorable pictures. I particularly liked the cricket art work titled,'Stumped' which showed the emotional impact when a person is bowled out at cricket. The artist Dylan Wilmott achieves this by having one of the stumps broken in two pieces by the force of the ball. Another interesting art work called 'Swimming Pool by Penny Taylor evokes for me the sensation of about to go into a swimming pool with its thousands of ripples. 'The Boxers,' by Ina Sheldon Williams which is embroidery magnificently shows the effect of a punch in the boxing ring.' Horse and Rider,' by Elizabeth Frink which is a lithograph reproduction shows the relationship between the two.

Many of the photographs will take many viewers on a trip down memory lane. For example some viewers may recognise somebody they know in 'Sledging at Temple Fields' in 1969 or the 'Buxton Rugby Club' on Temple Fields in 1970.

There are several photographs with historical interest. We learn that there was a thriving curling club based in the Pavilion Gardens in the 1900s and there is a photograph titled, 'Curling at the rear of the Grove Hotel,' which shows that it had some degree of popularity in Buxton. We learn that in the 1870s the severity of the weather gave Buxton a reputation as a winter holiday resort. Ice Skating was popular on the frozen lakes and special toboggan runs were created above Temple Fields and Manchester Road.

Several artefacts give us interesting information. A penny farthing was on display and it is interesting that in the 1880s in its heyday, it would have cost an average worker six months' pay.

This exhibition may well whet many visitors' appetite for the forthcoming Olympic Games.

Roger Horvath


General Elephant

Let me say right off the bat that a visit to Nat's Kitchen to see recent work by Buxton artist Mr Hope was worth it. Although he is local I hadn't seen his work before (I was away when he last had an exhibition) and I must say I really liked it. I checked out his website after seeing the show, and the 20 works here are characterized by a certainty of brushstroke and colour, a development from his earlier material. I thought it was bright and vibrant with a strong sense of imagination and humour showing through.

His style might not be for everyone, I could see the influence of his influences, particularly illustrations from children's books. There are echoes of Barbar the Elephant and Mr Men, but this should not detract from the overall feel and quality of the show. Many of the paintings would not look out of place in a child's room, but equally, I'd be happy to have one or two in our lounge. If you are looking for affordable 'real' art, not a print from department store, you could do very much worse than start here.

Mr Hope and another local artist Martin Olsson are both involved in another Fringe event "What do you do for recreation" as part of the Buxton Art Trail on Sat 7th July, I'd say it will be well worth a visit to support two of our local artists!

Ian Parker Heath

THE DERBYSHIRE OPEN 2012 - Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

Derbyshire Open 2011 winner ?Walk Derbyshire? by Harry McArdle

This is the 30th Derbyshire Open and it has already received many visitors who have enjoyed the exhibition. It is open to professional and amateur artist of any age and do not necessarily need to live in Derbyshire but each art work must have a Derbyshire connection. The art works which are exhibited are selected by a panel of independent judges, which changes each year. Artists who have not been selected are urged to continue entering as there are several cases where artists after many rejections have succeeded not only in having their work accepted but winning a prize. It is important that artists know their geography as some rejections are a result of using subject matter which is just across the county borders.

You might have expected themes which were predominantly landscapes which were obvious to Derbyshire but far from it. It included a large variety of subject matter including a goat, portraits, a bird tree, poultry, furniture, leaves, ballet dancing and a host of other themes. The difficulty in trying to establish the Derbyshire connection involves a worthwhile mental activity of the viewer. By doing this the viewer comes to appreciate the many different interesting aspects that this fine county contains. Fathoming out the underlying story helps to appreciate many interesting facets which are important to this county. For example in the 'Migration from Middleton' by L Nickle it seems to be about the decline of lead mining in the area over the hundreds of years; a very important issue for many people who have lived in the area. Another example is the sculpture in limestone called 'Griffin' by D Annat which I believe was inspired by a griffin on a bank in Tideswell.

Visitors are invited to choose their favourite and the winner will receive the Visitor Choice Award. It is of course a highly subjective exercise but helps to engage the visitor. I have not yet voted and will need to visit it a few more times before I make my mind up but the contenders are 'Freedom of the County 'by M Green which is a sculpture of a hare in mixed media covered in a Derbyshire map,' Full Moon, Derwent Reservoir' by Barrie Rawcliffe and 'Country Road in Night' by R Davis which by representing the light of the moon conveys a beautiful night atmosphere.

I expect many visitors' favourite will be' A Quarried Landscape 'by David Walker Barker which won the Derbyshire Trophy. It seems to have a cubist element to it and conveys the atmosphere in a quarry. This is a very good theme as many people are employed in that industry and you cannot go far without seeing one.

Visiting this exhibition is a must especially as there are other exhibitions in the Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.

The children's exhibition on the landing was also of a high standard.

Roger Horvath

THE GREAT DOME ART FAIR - Peak District Artisans

The Great Dome Art Fair

This year marks the 21st Anniversary of the Peak District Artisans, who for the last 5 years have presented the Great Dome Art Fair, which has become something of a tradition in the Fringe. With most of the 65 members of the Peak District Artisans exhibiting in the wonderful domed venue, the talent, variety and ingenuity of art on show is overwhelming. From the beautiful ceramic butterflies of Sue Gorman to Yvonne Oats' mixed-media ramshackle houses, and with Steve Elliott's dramatic and vibrant pastel sunlit skies and landscapes (hardly using pastel colours at all) particularly impressing. The range of arts and crafts on display is truly breathtaking.

This year, an impressive array of free talks and demonstrations throughout the day was an interesting addition to the Fair, with notably Rob Wilson's demonstration drawing a large crowd. Wilson worked on a live piece over 45 minutes picturing the Opera House (similar to his work on the cover of last year's Festival programme.) From a Rolf Harris "Can you tell what it is yet" beginning, the true voila moment is the final stage of the process when magazine collage adds vibrant colour and suggestions of crowd scenes to the piece. Wilson tells us of the contrast between control and chaos in his work (favouring card to brushes due to the lack of precision, yet using very precise graphic arrows and lines from dress patterns for the architecture.) He also told us of his artistic development, how his love of drawing stemmed from the tender age of 7 when he had drawn a budgie!

More typical but nonetheless wonderful works include Tim Rose's sun bleached, romantic watercolour depiction of Haddon Hall roses. Perhaps the most exciting work featured is the crocheted glass (that's right - crocheting... with glass!) of Catherine Fuga-Carr who uses her Grandmother's old crochet patterns to create intricate lace bowls and 'doilies' and is (apparently) the only person in the world to crochet glass!

With metalwork, woodwork, glass, collage, felt and ceramics all featuring in this diverse collection of consistently high quality work, there is sure to be something to catch your eye, and it's well worth a look-in but be quick - you only have until 4.30pm today. Congratulations to the Peak District Artisans for putting on such a high quality show.

Annie Osborne


"The miraculous arising of the water goddess"

Water deities play an important part in many cultures especially where the sea, ocean, rivers or springs play an important part in the lives of the inhabitants. Bearing in mind that the Buxton Springs are just around the corner what better place to exhibit these paintings than in Barberella's Wine Bar.

Sue Mortin has a great interest in water deities and believes they have significance in how her art works develop.

I went on two occasions to Barberella's Wine Bar and felt very lucky to have viewed Sue Mortin's nine paintings in the exhibition. They are a unity, all apparently depicting the same woman with large eyes. My immediate feeling was that the woman was offering to absorb the viewers through her large eyes into her spiritual world. I learnt afterwards that the woman was the water goddess with affinities with various Greek, Roman and Celtics deities. In the works there is a suggestion that energy has been channelled from a higher level and the art takes control over the artist. The art then starts talking back to the artist.

Other images used in the art add to the mystical aspects of the work. For example, in one work the Great Cosmic Mother has the sun and moon on her breast. Various other images have symbolic significance such as the snake.

I felt uplifted by the creative energy flowing from the water goddess through these works.

I feel that I have gained from observing these works and I am sure others will also enjoy them.

Roger Horvath