Visual Arts Reviews

100 DREAMING SPACES/ MARKING TIME - Adrienne Brown & Langley Brown

100 Dreaming Spaces: Adrienne Brown

What a wonderful title for a show! It immediately caught my eye. This is third year Adrienne and Langley Brown have opened their light and airy house on White Knowle Road for visitors to come and enjoy their wonderful works of art.

Both have very different styles, and work in different media. Langley paints in bright and stark colours with an obvious leaning towards Miro and Klee. His paintings are intriguing and imaginative, if slightly disturbing. He is not as prolific as Adrienne, and his work takes up a smaller amount of space, in the conservatory.

Adrienne works in a variety of media - including silk paintings, montages, photography and felt work. The most striking piece - both in terms of colours and size - is a large felt work which reflects the dream quality of both her work as well as the title of the show. Adrienne says that it took more than three months to complete.

Attractively displayed in two large and tall, white-walled rooms, it was a joy to slowly take in the well-crafted works, glass of cool ginger beer in hand. I particularly enjoyed Adrienne's photographic works - from simple studies of her grand-daughter standing in a doorway, to a pile of railway sleepers that had been digitally enhanced to bring out some vibrant, yet subtle colours.

Langley and Adrienne met as art students in the mid 60s. They both used their artistic talents within the NHS, and seem to be hugely enjoying their retirement, and the opportunity it has provided to rediscover their first love - creating superb works of art. I'd greatly recommend their show.

100 Dreaming Spires is at Fringe venue 20, 18 White Knowle Road, and is open from July 7-10 and 14-17 from 11am to 5pm.

David Stirling

2011 ART EXHIBITION - Burbage Art Group

Credit: Rachel Slaney

Although I have visited many other exhibitions across Buxton and further afield, this was my first visit to the Burbage Art Group. On entering the Institute, I was greeted by our Fringe Chair and local artist Stephanie, who steered me through to the main room - it seemed I would have to earn my coffee and cakes!

The various artists (many present) displayed a selection of work to peruse in just about every medium covering a wide range of subject matter, from animal studies, to landscapes, portraits and still life. The work was displayed with each artist having their own space. I made a few notes of pieces and artists who caught my eye as I wandered around. Firstly I encountered the pencil portraits of Maria Hyde, some amusingly based on newspaper cartoons - great skill shown and also most entertaining.

Johanna Iserloh, a student at Buxton Community School is sponsored by the Burbage Art Group, and artwork with her sketchbook was displayed based around a visit to Morocco - mostly multi-media. Great to see young talent encouraged and showcased in this way.

Then on to the watercolours, landscapes and distinctive gouache tableaux of Peter Dowling. I chatted with Peter about the gouache medium and discovered it is like a poster paint which gives the effect of old pre-war railway posters - it can also easily be painted over if the artist changes their mind! Jean Tym's oils and vivid acrylics were adjacent and I liked the 'Butterfly' particularly.

One of my favourites next, Kath Jones whose landscape oils show a great eye for detail, particularly in the street scenes. A rather different style was exhibited in the 'Black Water Canal', which had a Lowry feel. Susan Somerset's abstract flower acrylics made a nice contrast in the exhibition and led on to Don Fram's wide-ranging work, the watercolours were his best.

Another highlight for me was the work of Laura Critchlow. She has an amazing eye for light, and creates almost photographic still-life studies. Just next door another favourite was Hilary McLynn - nice pastel of the 'Pond' and the 'Sunlight' oil, with so much detail. A few passers-by commented on the Bittern, which Hilary said had taken hours of work spent on just the background reed detail.

A quick scan around now on my way to the back room and the refreshments. Along the way were the fine watercolours of Marion Walker, whose texture you can almost feel; vivid pastels and watercolours from Geoffrey Willis, a wide range of work from Greg and Sandra Parkin; and distinctive watercolours and oils from J Delinkajlis.

In the back room whilst sipping my coffee and nibbling a home-baked cookie, I enjoyed the work of the Osborne family, particularly Annie's collage; also noting the prolific work of Linda Rolland, who experiments in a wide variety of media and styles.

As others have said before me, a most enjoyable way to spend an hour with grassroots artists and their work.

Martin Bisknell

BRANCHING OUT - High Peak Artists

Branching Out logo

Previously based in the old Pump Rooms, opposite The Crescent, The High Peak Artists' & Craft Workers' Association now display their work alongside the Tourist Information Centre, in the heart of the Pavilion Gardens. Anyone who has browsed the individual displays here will have been impressed by the quality and range of work produced by this group of 39 local artisans

This exhibition of their work, housed in the Art Cafe above the Pavilion Gardens dining room, is entitled 'Branching out' and lasts until 22 August.

According to the notes; "Branching out can mean new beginnings, interesting diversions, rapid expansion or gradual development, a gentle meander, a different direction, or simply going off the beaten track".

Although there are only about 40 artworks on show, the different media and materials used - from ceramics to lino-prints, photographs to water-colours - provide a fascinating range of interpretations, and creates a very attractive display along three of the cafe's walls.

Prices range from an eye-watering £1600 for one of Rob Wilson's large and superbly crafted mixed-media pieces, to a more affordable £30 for an attractive stoneware pot by Andy Phillips.

Visitors are sure to find their own favourites, but I've always been a great fan of Caroline Chouler-Tissier's small but wonderfully detailed ceramic tiles. A large framed piece of hers features at the end of the exhibition. Titled 'Unexplored Tracks', Caroline says that it reflects the contrast between man-made and natural features in the local landscape.

Ingrid Karlsson-Kemp's brightly embroidered textile artworks always catch the eye, and her two pieces in this exhibition are no exception. Ingrid says they depict branches "as if you are there amongst them".

One of the most striking paintings is Catriona Hall's 'Branching out at the bird table'. Painted in acrylic on board, this stylised image of different birds feeding at a table was one of my personal favourites.

I did get the impression that the theme was so broad and all-encompassing that almost anything would fit within it, making it slightly irrelevant. But that's more an observation than a criticism.

I always find the Art Cafe a relaxing place to stop for a quiet pot of tea, elevated as it is from the hustle and bustle of the large dining room below. And being able to enjoy high-quality works of art by local people was a wonderful bonus. I'd heartily recommend the exhibition.

David Stirling


Charlotte's Chocolates - every day, opening hours vary

Charlotte's Chocolates is a small shop and cafe where you can rest a while over a good cup of tea and scones and buy some handmade, homemade chocolates. For the duration of the Fringe you can also admire 20 or so small pieces of original art exhibited on the available wall space.

Space is limited and so the solution arrived at is to keep the framed exhibits small - less than 12"x12", often more like 12"x6". There are around 20 pieces to see and buy - in a range of media including charcoal and oils. There are landscapes, seascapes and horses amongst the subjects.

The small-scale nature of the work requires and invites close scrutiny, which is not necessarily easy in a working café. Part of the mission of the artists behind the exhibition is to bring art to unexpected places and this is not a gallery space. Charlotte's Chocolates is open every day and when you are feeling parched and peckish stop by and have a good look around you.

For more about the group of artists who contributed to this exhibition see

Keith Savage

INSPIRE - Buxton Community School, Year 11 Btec Art Group

Glass Work

Inspire is a collection showcasing the work of the year 11 BTEC Art students from Buxton Community School exhibited at the Buxton Museum. I was lucky to attend this exhibition on Wednesday 6th July.

I was immediately struck by the individuality of the works which cover a wide range of subject matter, material and colour. The material studied throughout the BTEC course included ceramics, glass, paper, metal and wood.

Each of the artists gave a brief background of their experience of the BTEC course describing their inspiration for their work and the materials they used. Reading these accounts helped me to understand the deeper significance of their work. They often referred to the artist who inspired them and the observer may be inspired to research into some of these named artists.

Much of the subject matter was inspired by nature. One of the pieces was inspired by flowing water using spirals to convey the movement of water. Another was inspired by the symmetrical raindrop shapes on a window. An interesting idea was to relate paper to its tree origins and its relationship with birds which inhabit them. Japanese artists' approach to flowers and birds became the starting point for a beautiful fan. Autumn, when trees shed their leaves became the subject matter of a bowl. The use of different glass techniques brought about a seascape and purple flowers became the inspiration for beautiful ceramic work. A work not obviously related to nature is based upon circles of copper constructed to make a pyramid. The contemplation of the human form and its curves brought about some interesting works. A doll and a fallen angel were very striking as was the bold use of sunglasses on a ceramic.

I have only described a fraction of the exhibition. It is certainly worth a visit or two. Buxton Community School often exhibit in the museum and their work is of a very high standard.

Roger Horvath


Alan Bailey

The walk through Pavilion Gardens and on through Buxton's leafier suburbs to Alan Bailey's house, delightfully situated at the high point of Green Lane, is itself a delight. The reward of this fine exhibition would make it worthwhile if it were a trudge round the gasworks.

After so many years Alan continues to surprise with the development of his work. His most recent forays into pastels and acrylics and increasing abstraction are the best among the many fine works here which include oil and watercolour too. He has always been interested in abstraction but he now finds the style more intellectually satisfying and a greater proportion of his work is in this form. The landscape is still his inspiration and stimulus but he likes to work harder and produce more from within in the abstract. After decades of working from the landscape he feels he's been there, done that and in his 80s is looking for new challenges and achieving great success. Some of this development can be followed in the exhibition, the "blocky" paintings of rocks downstairs finding their final abstraction on hardboard in his studio upstairs, for instance.

Combined exhibitions are always interesting and inevitably generate questions but few work as well, as synergistically, as this one. Someone once complimented Alan's daughter Judith by saying that she had her father's eye. I think this was a compliment to Alan too. Judith's landscape photographs, mostly taken over two years in Scotland, echo precisely Alan's framing of the view. Something of the family eye can also be discerned in Alan's granddaughter's textile diptych to be found quietly unobtrusive on a desk in the studio. Many years ago at a time when it was the only picture in his exhibition that was moving toward abstraction I bought a watercolour of Grinlow Woods. It was interesting that what I at a distance took for another version of this turned out to be a photograph of Grin Woods (P9) by his daughter.

The best view in the house of course is the panorama to the north from his studio window running from the top of Long Hill to Fairfield Knoll with Mam Tor emerging from low cloud in the far distance. The musical profile of Corbar Hill particularly catches the eye. Study the hill and the wood and triangular field below it and then go back downstairs to look at picture 14, an abstract pastel of Coldsprings Plantation. Alan compared the joy of drawing the line of the hill in white pastel, strengthening the colour and thickening the line with pressure and angle, to drawing a bow across strings. If you prompt him he will enthuse about the directness of working with pastels. No brush, no palette knife; just the fingers and the colour.

If one of the questions this juxtaposition of paintings and photographs prompts is "Is photography a lesser art than painting?" then consider the process by which Alan's mind produced Coldsprings Plantation from the view from his window as compared to digitally manipulating a photograph of the view. Does a photographer draw a bow across the strings?

Do go and see this exhibition and do talk to Alan. You will be rewarded.

John Wilson

MAKING TEXTILE MOSAICS - Kate Aimson Contemporary Piecing

Textile Mosaic

15th July (and again on 16th)

Following her successful collaborative exhibition "Playing with Pattern", local artist Kate Aimson's full day mosaic textile workshop offered participants the opportunity to design and make their own textile mosaic picture in the welcoming environment of Kate's home. Over coffee the group took inspiration from Kate's extensive portfolio of patterns, designs and completed pieces as she explained the aims of the day.

Using a dazzling array of materials provided by Kate, participants were then encouraged to design their own picture with skilful and supportive guidance from Kate.

Then came the task of sewing the mosaic pieces together - conversation became muted as each person concentrated on developing their own sewing technique, but soon relaxed chatter resumed as the mosaic pictures took on their own very individual form. Kate described the various traditions from the formal patterning structures of the American quilt makers to the more diverse patters developed in Africa where embracing the accidental was encouraged.

The warm and sunny day allowed for lunch to be enjoyed in the garden before the serious work of mounting the pictures using a background of printed material and embroidery threads was resumed. The finished pieces represented diverse themes, ranging from the Peak District landscape to the Australian outback. The group agreed that this had been a most enjoyable event and were looking forward to developing their newfound skills.

Kate Aimson will be displaying her work at the Great Dome Art Fair on 23 -24 July and plans to run further workshops in the area.

Helen White

OPEN STUDIO - Dawn Featherstone-Kent

Dawn Featherstone-Kent describes herself as a printer/painter, but the truth is that she explores an extremely wide range of media in her work. This exhibition includes pastels, oils, watercolour, pencil drawings as well as linocut works, lithographs and colographs.

Dawn's subject is her response to the landscape she experiences around her. Much of the focus is on Derbyshire scenes, many of which she describes as "composites" - aspects of a number of landscapes in one picture - rather than photographically accurate pictures of particular places. Dawn captures the essence of the Derbyshire landscape so well, for example in her etching of a Derbyshire stone wall, snaking off into the distance, or the vivid oil of a Derbyshire heather upland in full bloom.

Other works focus on her travels to the Orkney islands, with beautiful seascapes capturing the colours of the ocean, highlighted by the sun. Dawn's lithographs and colographs provide a contrast to her landscape work, with detailed studies of natural materials and the use of colour and texture.

One of the delights of an open studio is the opportunity to talk to the artist about their work and to see the materials and techniques they use. Dawn is very happy to talk in detail about not only the inspiration for her work, but how she selects her materials and methods to create each piece.

Just a stone's throw from the Pavilion Gardens, this exhibition is a very pleasant way of passing time on a rainy Buxton weekend and you will find a very welcoming reception.

Stephanie Watts


Norman Elliott

Back of the Chair Shop, 24 Dale Road, 6 Jul 10am to 5pm, 7pm to 10pm, 7-18 Jul, 10am to 5pm.

Three very different artists, mathematical Norman Elliott, textile mosaic expert Kate Aimson and free spirit Louise Jannetta, team up for this exciting show but the real joy for me was the intriguing discovery that perhaps they were not so very different after all...

Norman Elliott has a very geometric style, his colourful works playing with mathematical transpositions. Play is the right word as his shapes interlock, overlap and tessellate creating new shapes in the process. Titles such as Squaring the Circle explore the works' contradictions while 21 Squares Yellow Through Blue almost appears to be issuing a mischievous challenge for the viewer to find all 21 squares, checking the adding up as they do so! In amongst these works is Wasp Comb, a new piece directly inspired by the cells of a wasps' nest. The hexagonal grid clearly put him in mind both of mathematics and of the work of his fellow artist Kate Aimson and he has cleverly taken the opportunity to incorporate designs and colours from her fabrics.

I am familiar with Kate Aimson's textiles through attending one of her relaxing mosaics workshops (there are more on offer at this year's Fringe on 15 and 16 July), but it is something else again to see her work properly displayed. There is real subtlety here as her fabric mosaics seem to create different meanings, the carefully chosen colours reflecting very different moods from blustery autumn days to the rich tones of a summer garden. Her use of found objects and beads adds even more interest to her intricate works.

I thought I knew Louise Jannetta through her paintings of swirling forest branches and circling reflections in pools but her focus in this exhibition is far more on pattern per se. In fact talking to her, I realise that it has always been about pattern with Louise, whether pattern occurring in nature or manufactured and celebrated by the artist herself. Here Louise really forms a bridge between the two other artists, an all-white piece featuring raised lines and shapes in acrylic conjuring up something of Norman's mathematical precision, while Fisherman's Trophy (made from the skin of a mermaid's tail in case you were wondering) complements the interlocking patterns of Kate's mosaics. Of the three artists, Louise is the most versatile - do not miss the chance to look through her prints and extra works as amongst them are some gorgeous hand-made felt creations that are different again from the rest of her portfolio.

Displayed in what is clearly an artist's studio, this is an enticing, stimulating exhibition, well worth making a detour to catch. You might even find some patterns in the random paint splashes on the wooden studio floor...

Stephanie Billen


'The Sky is Crying' by Andrea Joseph

Of all the media available to an artist, the ballpoint pen is not perhaps the most obvious - scratchy, occasionally blotchy, unforgiving of mistakes. It is the writing implement that we all own, yet one that it is hard to love.

Yet in this witty and skilful exhibition, Andrea Joseph has made this pen all her own. In a series of fantastically detailed, cleverly annotated drawings, she displays exquisite penmanship, as she catalogues the minutiae of her life on paper.

Here we have amusing catalogues of the history of the pixie boot and a page of cures for the modern ailments that befall us all (a cream for low self-esteem, anyone?). There's two insights into the artist's life - 'the loneliness of an illustrated zine maker (parts 1 & 2)' - where we find her ordered existence descending into anarchy as the day progresses.

There is a running theme of Joni Mitchell titles in her work ('like the colour when the spring is born', 'there is a song for you', 'little green', the paraphrased 'i could drink a dose of you' - clearly Andrea's as much of a fan of Joni's Blue album as I am). My personal favourite was, however, one gleaned from the work of Suzanne Vega 'today i am a small blue thing', giving a glimpse into the kind of bits of bobs one might keep in a kitchen drawer, everything rendered in earthy brown, apart from one blue marble (as Vega's song continues 'Like a marble or an eye').

Also fascinating were the cases displaying the sources of Andrea's inspiration, trays of ephemera from her life and travels, as well as the sketchbooks where she has taken down her ideas. It is this sense of the workings of the artist's mind that adds an extra element to the exhibit of an extremely talented draftswoman.

Robbie Carnegie

THE DERBYSHIRE OPEN 2011 - Buxton Museum & Art Gallery

Derbyshire Open 2010 winner: 'Far Below the Echo Resounded' by Claire de Ruiter

Mon closed, Tues-Fri 9.30am to 5.30pm, Sat 9.30am-5pm, Sun 10.30am-5pm.

The Derbyshire Open Art Exhibition, now 29 years young, always evokes a sharp intake of breath thanks to its consistently impressive standards and scale.

This year's show has a noticeably three-dimensional feel with Jeff Perks's unmissable sculpture of a pig in a trolley, entitled Do We Need Another Supermarket? instantly grabbing attention with its anti-Tesco message. Perks has also created a distinctive table with spade and fork legs called Grow Your Own, while Project Earth (also responsible for the tactile, felt wall hangings: Elements of the Peak) offers Wrapped Up, whereby chairs are exquisitely bound in cloth. With other 3-D works such as Jackie Brough's origami-based Derbyshire - A Bird's Eye View and A Holt's oversized Green Shield Bug leaping off the walls, this is not a 'quiet' exhibition even though the great thing about the Derbyshire Open is that nestled in amongst the show-stoppers are smaller, more traditional landscapes and flower studies of great skill and beauty. I particularly enjoyed the sense of depth and intimacy in Lesley Griggs's oil painting, Brook near Bradbourne.

It is good to see several familiar names represented including collage supremo and former Fringe award winner Rob Wilson with Flagg Races (Derbyshire Theme Prize winner) and Fringe award-winning Adrienne Brown with her superb mixed media work, Honesty. Equally it is encouraging to see new talent coming up including teenager Blythe Aimson (daughter of artist Kate Aimson) with her subtly muted, mixed media work, The Killing Jar - Butterfly in the Graveyard. In the children's category there was some really exciting stuff including David Depledge's simple, graphic depiction of Solomon's Temple, Jonah Pakpahan's wacky collage, Me and My Derbyshire Lizard, Isabella Pakpahan's delicate oil painting of Zoe the border collie on Mam Tor and the Derbyshire County Council Young Artist Prize winner Connor O'Donoghue with Morning Melt, showing the deep shadows and surprisingly harsh sunlight of one particular snowy day. That is just the tip of the iceberg however so do check out these talented young people's works for yourselves.

As ever there is the chance to disagree with the judges though this year you may not find their choices all that controversial. Walk Derbyshire, the Derbyshire Trophy winner by Harry McArdle is a richly coloured multi-media work conveying the special atmosphere of a boggy walk in the hills complete with millstones. Derbyshire County Council Oil Painting Prize goes to Isabel Miller's superbly executed Angel - War Memorial and the show's DCC and Tarmac Ltd Landscape Prize finds a worthy winner in Renata Davis's The Farm and Moon with its hint of mystery.

If you have favourite works and artists at the show, please don't confine your comments to the museum visitors' book - come and see us at the Fringe Information Desk where we have a book for you to record all your Fringe recommendations for 2011.

Stephanie Billen

THE GREAT DOME ART FAIR - Peak District Artisans

The Great Dome Art Fair

Devonshire Dome, Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 July, 10am - 4:30pm

The scale of talent, variety of work, and the quality of fine craftsmanship on display at the 20th Anniversary Great Dome Art Fair is truly outstanding. Sixty-five gifted and creative artists from across the Peak District have come together under the spectacular Devonshire Dome. From the finely crafted wooden furniture of Melvyn Tolley, to the delicate narrative jewellery of Lucy Palmer, to the bold hand forged silver of Brett Payne, the quality of the creations available at this event can not be understated. The range is inspiring and the prices surprisingly reasonable.

There are paintings on a grand scale including Suzanne Cannon's dramatic landscapes, fine architectural drawings by Mark Langley, and precise botanical art by Cheryl Wibraham.

Having attended these events in previous years I was particularly pleased to see some new faces taking part including; Adrienne Brown whose work incorporates photography, textiles and printmaking, Jane Cummins with her stylish bags made of wood and felt, and Catherine Fuga-Carr who makes lacey glass vessels inspired by crochet. My personal discoveries this time were Colette Payne's crisp lino-prints, and Kim-Lisa Clack's affordable jewellery.

It was also lovely to see some well known local artists displaying new work including Brenda Ford's glorious oak leaf enamels, and Pauline Townsend's 'Honesty' piece caught my eye. Ingrid Karlsson-Kemp has reached new heights with her story telling mixed media work and Suzi Shackleton's brightly coloured felt pictures would add warmth and drama to any space.

There is every material you can imagine used by this exceptional group of talented designer makers including metal sculptures by David Turner, stone garden furniture from the Fringe Workshop, ceramics by Miriam Evans and Sue Gorman amongst others, fascinating wooden boxes by the passionate Ray Sylvester and carvings from Newfeld Gallery.

All this and more! There is a chance to purchase some items by blind auction, win an original postcard, and a champagne raffle too. Go along and treat your senses to a feast of creativity and talent. Admission is free, you don't have to buy anything, but you will probably want to.

Jean Ball