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IAN MIDDLETON


DAVID SMITH


RITA BROWN DORSET ART WEEKS 2014


Dorset Art Weeks 2014 launched with a great deal of razzamatazz at Sculpture by the Lakes on 23rd May. Costumed stilt walkers, jugglers and a brass band welcomed visitors to the Quick Draw Event.


The first day of DAW was memorable for its downpours and then the sun came out as I set out to explore a selection of the 285 venues and over 1,000 artists, make exciting new discoveries and revisit familiar friends.


There were powerful and impressive prints from every period of Brian Rice’s outstanding career, immensely time consuming gems of tapestries by Jacy Wall, new painting in a darker palette by Gerry Dudgeon alongside his beautiful drawings, and ethereal and atmospheric photographs by Jill Kennington Courtauld.


At The Courtyard Gallery and Workshop, Simon Pirie’s round dining table in English walnut, was clearly the star of the show but the refined elegance of the Rosa Dressing Table quietly shone. Jim Hunter’s watercolour and collage paintings are responses to India, France and the Purbecks. These deconstructed landscapes abstracted into their essential forms revealed an intuitive fluency, the result of working swiftly and surely, direct from the subject.


Painter and film-maker Katy Shepherd has recently returned to a painstakingly slow, old-fashioned hand- drawn process to make her evocative animations of a Tasmanian Wolf, a Dodo and her poignant Crow, its wings slowly starting to move after being knocked off a roof by seagulls. Her animated figure rubbing itself out then being redrawn over smudged charcoal amidst bits of eraser and torn masking tape, encapsulates her process.


Tucked away behind a suburban house front in Dorchester a real treasure was to be found in the exquisite pencil drawings of Rodney Hubbuck, many of


them dating back to the seventies. His subtle, meticulous work is done from memory. Flying buttresses, stone- walls, churches and manicured topiary set in imaginary landscapes with an occasional figure to give a sense of scale. You enter the world of Rodney Hubbuck’s imagination, experience his almost Betjemanian sense of humour and find a mysterious other-worldliness.


The number of artists communicating their enthusiasm and actively demonstrating how they make their art was one of the highlights of DAW 2014. Printmaker Ruth Ander was rolling luscious shades of oil paint onto Perspex to make her subtle mono-prints on fine Japanese tissue. Ceramicist David Walker had just taken one of his dramatic hand-built raku pots out of the kiln and was picking off bits of burnt glaze to reveal the cracked lines underneath and in Bridport, designer / maker Jack Draper explained how he used ammonia to achieve the rich tones on his simple but beautifully stylish fumed-oak desk. Painter and sculptor Mike Chapman shared his thoughts on his relationship with carving, the need to have a conversation with his materials, to wait for them to give something to you, so that working with them is a collaborative effort between artist and stone.


Near Blandford I stumbled upon Jo Burnell’s charming decorated pottery. Fish, flowers, stick-leg strutting cockerels and bashful hens, were busy dancing across the surface of jugs, mugs and bowls. The Hedgecocks, father Anthony and daughter Aisling, had filled the garden and studio with sculpture and drawings. Lurking in a far corner of the garden was Anthony’s Guardian, in steel, parts of it extracted directly from the crusher and used as found, imparting a vulnerable quality akin to folded paper. In the studio, After Boccioni, his small bronze homage to Boccioni’s Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, strode


purposefully into the future accompanied by Aisling’s sculpture using painted steel and polystyrene beads. Filling the whole of the end wall Aisling’s immensely complex layered pencil drawing We Are Stardust, defied the conventional limits of her medium.


Near Lyme Regis Duff Pearce was showing linocuts with collaged cut and pieced shapes in strong reds and blacks. Jane Hedges’ lyrical geometric paintings are landscape based but had strong suggestions of Islamic pattern making and Ian Middleton’s latest work is intriguing with beautiful colouring emerging in the patination of the bronze.


In drawings variously using ink, collage and photography David Smith explores the interplay between chaos and control and has set himself a project, Letter 365, making a drawing a day for a year and delivering it daily to Bridport Arts Centre where they will all be revealed on 6th March 2015.


Sculptor Lisa Lindqvist’s alter ego, Katarina Rose, was down a very steep road leading towards the sea and the rain was again bucketing down. Tin boxes filled with jewels and collages of dancers, little figures, plastic animals and stuffed dead ones were an extraordinary delight and the tales she told to go with them just as moreish and irresistible.


Finally, coming full circle, as part of Sculpture by the Lakes’ impressive series of lunchtime lectures, was Andrew Graham Dixon’s fascinating and wickedly entertaining take on Caravaggio. He contextualised the supreme naturalism of Caravaggio’s work and his extreme lifestyle within the social mores in Rome at the turn of the seventeenth century.


Fiona Robinson


Old Barn Framing Gallery SPONSORS OF THE EVOLVER PRIZE 2014 EXHIBITION


Unit 20, The Old Yarn Mills, Westbury, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3RQ • 01935 813774 • www.oldbarnframinggallery.co.uk 17


JACK DRAPER


KATARINA ROSE


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