Monthly Archives: March 2011

MARY SPICER : solo exhibition at St Giles Street Gallery

HWAT artist Mary Spicer has a second solo exhibition coming up soon at St Giles Street Gallery in the city of Norwich. The exhibition opens on Saturday 26th March and continues to 5th May 2011.

In her first solo exhibition at St Giles Street Gallery in early 2008, Spicer showed a series of large, brown-hued winter landscapes, which were developed from her observational drawings. In these paintings one could see environmental themes derived from the rural Norfolk landscape, one in which she has lived & worked for the past 20 years.

Mary Spicer, Another blizzard looming 2010, oil on canvas, 70cm x 90cm

Another blizzard looming 2010, oil on canvas, 70cm x 90cm

In Spicer’s paintings the land is often scarred and criss-crossed by farm machinery, while the skies seem moody and cold. A whole range of materials are used on watercolour paper, including acrylics and coloured inks, the paper often ripped, torn and reassembled until the image matches Mary Spicer’s felt experience of the landscape.

These themes of the farmed landscape have been developed still further in a new series of paintings, such as large skies and cloud masses passing over yellow rape fields, the sunlight on young green wheat or a solitary building surrounded by snow and grey light. The East Anglian landscape is not an easy one to paint Mary Spicer has said, but she has successfully managed to extract those images which linger longest in the mind.

Silent twilight by Mary Spicer, oil on canvas, 2009

Silent Twilight 2009, oil on canvas, 71cm x 92cm

The private view of Mary Spicer’s solo exhibition is on Saturday 26th March between 2pm – 4pm, at St Giles’ Street Gallery, 51 St Giles’ Street (up the hill, behind the Market place), Norwich, and the gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday 10am – 5pm. The exhibition continues until 5th May 2011.

Have I Got Nudes for You! A Celebration of the Naked Truth

Friday 4th March to Friday 1st April 2011

A provocative new exhibition featuring artworks by some HWAT artists, Have I Got Nudes for You! – A Celebration of the Naked Truth, opened at The Harleston Gallery last weekend. More than thirty regional artists are participating in this exhibition of powerful, sensitive, witty, charming, amusing & thoughtful artworks exploring human beings in their naked bodies.

Have I Got Nudes for You! - A Celebration of the Naked Truth - art exhibition

Have I Got Nudes for You! – A Celebration of the Naked Truth

The study of the nude figure in art continues to fascinate artists as a subject in these contemporary times, a tradition in art that spans many centuries of history, from the earliest cave paintings to religious icons & murals, epic battle scenes to incarnations of grace & beauty.

The theme of this exhibition evolved from a local news story that subsequently featured on the pages of many national newspapers. Last year a local artist (John Vesty) arranged an exhibition of a series of nude figure paintings in a North Norfolk Council gallery, but within an hour of the work being displayed the pictures were removed and stowed in a cupboard because some council employees objected to the portrayal of nudity.  Faced with this reversion to Victorian prudery, a group of local & regional artists have been inspired to strike back with this open celebration of the nude in contemporary art.

Have I Got Nudes for You! – A Celebration of the Naked Truth is open now and continues to Friday 1st April 2011 at The Harleston Gallery, 3 Old Marketplace, Harleston, Norfolk, IP20 9BE – email or telephone 01379 855 366 for more details. The Harleston Gallery is open Monday to Saturday 10 am to 4 pm. Refreshments are also available in the Gallery Cafe, so please drop by and see this exciting exhibition!

A recent review of the exhibition Have I Got Nudes for You! by Robert Radford

One of the agreeable extravagances of the English language is that it offers us the two words ‘naked’ and ‘nude’ to speak of the body without clothing. The first suggesting exposure and shame, the second, exhibition and celebration – the particular province of art.

It must be said that the current show at The Harleston Gallery ‘Have I Got Nudes for You’ steers energetically towards the pole of celebration.  Around forty artists from across Norfolk & Suffolk, from Cromer to Yarmouth, have contributed to the show with work ranging through oils, drawings, prints, sculpture and painted tiles.

The visitor will also be aware of the complex mosaic of styles and approaches represented by this company of highly individual artists.  There is much evidence of the accomplished and concentrated study of the traditional male and female life model, which many artists would still insist provides  the necessary discipline at the foundation of their activity.

There are knowing homages to Manet and Beckmann and even to the Classical frieze.  There is wit in plenty, especially the animated and annotated underwear displayed on the stairwell, and eccentricity enough, look out for the still life with the toes and bacon.  But there is also expressionist rage and bitter satire against media intrusion.  A carnivalesque encounter between farmyard animals and a nude that can only be described as ‘in your face’ will be long remembered.

Essentially, this feast of creative expression is to be heartily recommended to both the open-minded and the open-eyed.

Robert Radford is an artist, art historian and critic, author of a Phaidon study on Salvador Dali and of a forthcoming volume on di Chirico.