Artists and gallery celebrate spring


The spring exhibition of  new work from the members of the Rye Society of Artists is being held this year at Rye Art Gallery. The spring exhibition has been a feature of the year for the society since 2015, when Davida Smith, the  well known artist, exhibiting her hand finished etchings in her own right here, was at that time chair of the society. She negotiated with the gallery trustees to hold a show at the beginning of the new season, the first weekend of March each year. This is in addition to the larger show held in the summer.

Marsh Evening Landscape

Open to the public from March 20 until April 24, in the gallery opening hours, 11am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 4pm Sunday, at 107, High street, Rye, the show displays a wide variety of both two and three dimensional work, and includes oil and watercolour images, mixed media and a variety of ceramics. The flyer for the show is of a very realistically modelled elephant, entitled ‘Dawn to Dusk’ by Celia Allen. The actual model is in the art gallery’s front window and it will not take long to sell.

Shown round by Davida Smith herself, with input from Dr Julian Day, director of the gallery, the variety of work on show is outstanding. It is such a pleasure to move round the light and airy space of galleries 4 and 5 to see the range of work. Set up with help from the gallery staff and by members of the society, the specialists in the different fields were able to influence and assist with the overall layout.

Walking into the gallery

It takes three days of hard work to complete the hanging and displays for the exhibition and 28 members contributed their work. There are 40 members of the society, if anyone wants to know how to set about joining, go to the website here.

This show does not have open submissions,  unlike the summer one, and has the same operating standards as the gallery. All works are for sale.

As you enter the space, there is a large sculpture by Vicky Atkinson to take your immediate attention and this is surrounded by smaller works, as the illustration shows. Celia Allen’s polar bear and leaping hare, with Kate Schuricht’s lovely lustre jugs entitled ‘Flow’ occupy some of the window space delightfully and on the walls each side, Sarah Palmer continues with her colanders but has now ventured into making some lovely plaques as well.

On the nearest walls are works by Louis Turpin, Fred Cuming RA and Nick Archer. Hazel Brook has produced two large vibrant pictures. A lot of her work is sought by commercial companies as it sits well in large settings (main image).

In addition to Fred Cuming’s work today, he, Mick Rooney RA and Gus Cummins RA will be having an exhibition ‘The return of the RAs’ to help support the Rye Arts Festival in September 2022.

Canary Island. Geranium . Peter Greenhalf

Moving on, Katherine Reekie is working on a series about hedgerows, very different from the works she exhibited at the summer 2021 show. A detail from one of them is shown in the gallery below. Carole Sheldrake’s beautifully modelled figurative mixed media ceramics are as charming as always and the cyanotype prints from Peter Greenhalf  (cyan-blue prints) are  going to get people admiring and wanting to know more of the technique. There are some very tempting small watercolours from Andrew Blyth and Siobhan O’Hanlon and Lorna Vahey have also contributed here.

Dr Julian Day, director of the gallery , commented “It’s lovely to have the show as part of the annual spring opening, featuring local artists. The relationships are important and this is a good one to have. It means that current work is viewed, some of it unfamiliar”

If you want to know more about some of the artists and sculptors and Rye Art Gallery itself, got to the website.

Everyone is welcome, there is a real variety of very highly talented and skilled work on display, in a lovely setting. You might even go home with an elephant!



Image Credits: Hazel Brook , Belong to each artist , Peter Greenhalf , Carole Sheldrake , Karl Terry , Nick Archer , Louis Turpin , Celia Allen .

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