independent

Monday 17 December 2018

Wind, earth and fire inspire new exhibition

The elements inspire a new exhibition in Ashford, Deborah Coleman reports

Cat by Mick Tottenham
Cat by Mick Tottenham
A painting by Niki Purcell

A new group exhibition opened at Ashford Community and Heritage Centre on Friday for a weekend viewing and will run again from Friday, November 30 to Sunday, December 2.

Entitled 'Wind, Earth & Fire, the exhibtion features the work of five artists, three of whom are based in County Wicklow. Paintings, glass and ceramics are included.

The title refers to the subjects of the paintings and the firing of the ceramics and glass.

Niki Purcell's landscape paintings evolve from her fascination with the interactions between the light, wind, sea and the landscape. Some of the paintings portray the effects of wind on the landscape (in particular trees) and the rushing restless cloudscapes of the sky, while others focus on moments of sheer stillness and the quiet calm a of a summer's day. In each work she tries to capture the magic relationships that occur between these elements so that an ordinary scene can be transformed in so many different ways depending on the play of light, wind etc.

Wendy McCarroll Sandeman's work features abstracted acrylic and oil landscapes and seascapes as well as figurative forms. She is a process painter and mark making is integral to how she paints. Her work features traces of how she has put down and removed paint, creating order out of a kind of energetic chaos. She uses traditional as well as new techniques and materials to produce modern abstract paintings based on what she observes and experiences around her.

Christien Van Bussel works from her studio in Aughrim where she designs and makes pottery and woodturned objects. She makes moulds of plaster in which she casts clay-slip to shape the pottery. All pieces are glazed in bright colours and fired to 1250 degrees Celcius to make them strong and food-safe. Over the years she has gained wide experience in teaching adults and children in pottery and woodturning. She is on the panel of tutors of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland and is involved in their CRAFTed programme since 2008.

A professional gardener since the 1980s Frances (Mick) Tottenham has a lifelong love of colour and landscape. She feels that design and colour in the garden equate to painting the landscape in 3D.

In the 1990s Mick attended the National College of Art and Design and completed a degree in printmaking, but a short spell as assistant to the late sculptor Conor Fallon, a wonderful experience, kindled a desire to make 3D art.

Ceramics came out of this desire and the love of that medium increased under the guidance of Christien van Bussel. Mick's study of printmaking techniques has transferred to her ceramics. Landscape, nature, wildlife, pets feature heavily in her work.

Lucinda Robertson (Cinders Glass) creates simple shapes with tension in the form. Each piece is free blown where the profile is judged by eye. Colour inclusion in her tableware range are kept to a minimum with a contemporary twist. She likes to blow the glass thinly as it creates a feeling of delicacy and weightlessness. Robertson is fascinated by colour and how it influences the viewer, hence her ongoing experimentation of combinations expressed though her dual coloured Encalmo Bowls and Platters.

Wicklow People

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