I always count myself fortunate to work in an office surrounded by artists and their artwork. For the next month I will be sharing my good fortune with visitors to the Heritage Gallery at Cargo Fleet, as Gilkes Street Artists display their work in an exciting new exhibition.
The exhibition encompasses recent work from all of the Gilkes Street Artists, including painting, drawing, printmaking and tapestry weaving. It is a truly eclectic mix of subject matter as well as media used to express it. Yet the groups’ work sits so well together.
You are immediately struck by the giant stylised heads of John Wheeler on one wall but then drawn into the more intricate lino-cuts of Jenni Thirwell or Leanne Jackson’s detailed portraits. I could not believe Jenni’s comic poster cover was created from scraping away at lino. Unbelievably patient and skilled work.
Dot Seddon’s tapestry and the abstract shapes and colours of Emma Bennett take you on further adventures of discovery. Dianne Bowell, has had a major exhibition at the Python Gallery until the last week and so has been extremely busy painting away. I love the idea that her portraits could flash across your peripheral vision. So much movement and mood.
Dot Seddon tells me that her beautiful tapestry of a Teesside industrial icon would have taken her hundreds of hours to perfect. I love the idea that Dot performs a traditional craft to depict the industrial mass production that all but superseded the cottage industry. The value of human craft is once again much prised and sadly is the manufacturing skills that seem more under threat. The colour and texture of Dot’s work is very arresting.
Emma Bennett is very attracted to late 20th century modernist architecture but she abstracts those forms from the cold concrete into altogether different planes and colours that leap off their new natural wooden panels.
John Wheeler is no stranger to this gallery. Earlier this year he exhibited a body of work showing the evolution of his techniques in his figurative work. These recent portraits are bold, minimalist I approach but certainly not in scale.
The artists studio group, which set up in 2012 have studio spaces on my floor of the Brentnall Centre, Gilkes Street in Middlesbrough and regularly exhibit as a group, as well as individually and hold an open studio event every autumn.
The show will continue at Heritage Gallery until 5th May. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8.30pm- 5pm. Oh and you can eat while you browse the show as the bistro is open 8.30am to 3pm and is very popular for breakfasts and lunch. Big recommendation to them from me.
Cargo Fleet Offices is on Middlesbrough Road, it was the former Cargo Fleet Iron Works Offices used more latterly by Langbaurgh Council and British Steel Teesside HQ.
More information on Gilkes Street Artists www.gilkesstreetartists.co.uk