Challenging bridge to art

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Jenny Pockley, with her painting 'Balloon' - oil on carborundum paper

Artists’ studios at Rye Creative Centre (the former Freda Gardham School) in New Road on the Romney Marsh side of the river opened up last weekend for a new exhibition entitled “Collaborate”, which brings together some two dozen local artists (the “New Road Artists”), who have made use of studio space there to produce their works. The exhibition which runs till June 7 from 10am-3pm daily was organised by Sarah Money, the artistic liaison manager for the Rye Creative Centre.  The art works are attractively displayed in all their diverse materials in the main hall and adjoining theatre space.

Beverley Thornley uses themes building on childhood memories of playing in a chalk pit in north Kent, when her father worked in the cement industry. Using chalk on calico, or creating patterns using rust-stains and chalk, her work is essentially experimental and undertaken for personal enjoyment rather than for commercial sale.

Daryl Balcombe, in an adjoining studio, studied 2D and 3D design at Hastings College and his work has been previously displayed at Rye Art Gallery. He specialises in animated painting, using objects such as a vintage crank telephone or a Brownie box camera to produce moving images and his “Distorted Line”, (oil on aluminium in vintage telephone) is for sale at £800.

Downstairs in the main hall, paintings line the walls and a shrouded model figure is drying out before being cast in bronze. The opening of the exhibition coincided with a school reunion of former Freda Gardham pupils. Sam Williams, events and theatre co-ordinator for the local charity ARRCC is busy planning a series of events over the summer months. “We have a fantastic theatre space and multi-purpose venue for hire which is well-equipped and ideally suited for shows and gigs, parties and private functions and drop-in sessions. People are not really aware that the artists here are doing really good work and the challenge is getting people over that bridge [across the River Rother]”, he said.

Photo: Anna McCrickard