Sunday, 13 November 2011

Meet Me at the Airport: The Midlands Open at the Tarpey

Well, near the airport, anyway... the Tarpey  gallery is situated behind a beautiful thatch-roofed house in Castle Donington high street.

Yesterday evening saw the opening night of the Midlands Open exhibition now in its third year.
One out of the three paintings I had submitted is on display,
Madeleine de Demandolx:

and I was very happy with its positioning and the lighting etc.
A great deal of hard work was clearly involved and to curate such a variety
and quantity of work well is not easy; the results were impressive.

I went along with fellow artist Rachael Pinks, (to whom huge thanks for making me aware
of the event and making it accessible to me as I don't drive.)
Two of her abstract paintings are on view there currently, in the main gallery room.

I really like the gallery interior; the weathered red brick on several walls
contrasts well with the more conventional carte blanche setup.
I was surprised how well certain works look against these walls,
lending them a backdrop with mellow character.  (I was similarly intrigued
at how good several paintings looked against a background of living foliage,
at the recent Apple Day event!) I regret not taking a camera along, but wasn't
sure of the etiquette in these matters.  It was good to see the high standard
of work included, and the variety of media, techniques and subject matter.
The balance struck between  abstract and figurative seemed well thought out.
I was drawn as I often seem to be, to the printmaking side of things.
More ceramic works would have been welcome, but space was at a
premium, clearly and the limited amount of 3d work on show was great.

A few personal highlights: Two stone litho works by Serena Smith,
Pastorale I and II from the Exegesis series,  particularly caught my eye.
  Chris Pickup 's Turquoise Door.  
 John Paul Cooke's Untitled 890 (oil on board)
- as an aside, this was also very well framed,as Rachael pointed out to me.
It's a tribute to the framer that I had been aware only of the painting itself
up to that moment, yet when I switched focus to the framing,
it seemed perfect.)

Ashop for Joan, a small oil and varnish on canvas by Michael Bruzon on
display in the lobby of the main house, appealed to us both.

I also enjoyed the sculptures in resin and wire by Jason Carey, and
  Sarah Fiander 's winning sculpture Pale Vessel (which I immediately
wanted to curl up and sail away in) and related painting.
The joint prizewinner was Inge Tong, for her Anon series.

It was exciting to see all the work together, jostling for attention inevitably,
but conjuring up a strong sense of a lively contemporary art community
in the region. This was a busy two-hour event and this inevitably meant
it wasn't possible to take everything in, or indeed connect with any artists
(I'm rubbish at schmoozing and we kept having to flee outside to cool down
and top up on oxygen!) - altho I did meet Andy Parkinson very briefly!
But I hope to discover more in the coming weeks and share my finds here.

Two other paintings, Caw and Clatter

and Machiavellian 

are also currently held by the gallery.  All three works are available for purchase.

The exhibition continues until Christmas Eve.

WEDS - SAT : 11AM - 6PM 
DE74 2PQ

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