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Previous Exhibitions - The Edge Gallery

‘Figuratively Speaking’ is an exhibition that explores the figure through stitch pushing the boundaries and processes in contemporary embroidery. Exhibiting artists include Cathy Cullis, Michelle Holmes, Priscilla Jones and Alice Kettle.

Cathy Cullis explores personal themes including dreams and memories translating them into tiny pictorial images, these are executed in machine embroidery and demonstrate her unique skill in identifying and exploiting meticulous detail. The embroideries are worked in dense stitch creating an intuitive response to the use of machine embroidery. One of her embroideries titled ‘Owl Dress’ depicts a figure wearing a garment adorned with a group of figures and an owl, the juxtaposition of the two features can only be described as a haunting image that evokes a truly emotional response.

Michelle Holmes also draws with stitch but in an entirely different way to Cullis. Focusing on the linier qualities the stitched line can create. Holmes works on a variety of carefully prepared background fabrics. The grounds themselves are considered in the extreme and are just as important as the quality of line she uses to produce her fragile figures. Holmes endeavours to create a sense of faded beauty in her subtle use of colour and tone. A re-occurring theme in her work is an obsession with journeys and for this exhibition she has been inspired by Lady Isabella Bird, whose novel titled ‘A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains’ has been the focus for this new body of work. Holmes main piece in this exhibition captures the visual story of a life lived in this magnificent terrain with all its rugged beauty yet depicted in Holmes’s fine stitched lines. Fragments of fabric are used in soft colours to break the rigor of the stitch and add balance to a complex composition. The piece reads almost like a collection of nostalgic snap shots, stills from distant memories a story, which cannot fail to draw you in to Lady Isabella’s world.

Priscilla Jones’s response to the figure differs to the other exhibitors focusing on a three dimensional approach. A piece in her collection titled ‘Fly Away Home’ is a wire birdcage housing a surreal stitched figure half bird half woman, another piece is created from a mans starched collar depicting a disfigured fairy having lost her limbs long ago. Jones explores identity, memory and the translucency of time, reworking a range of recycled materials including broken ceramic dolls with stitch, silk, wax and wire. The quirky assembled figures are freely suspended almost dancing effortlessly through the air enabling us to watch them move and spin. Jones explores the subconscious depicting haunting and unnerving figures revealing an edge of surrealism that implies the common thread of personal memory.

Alice Kettle has extensively exhibited her embroideries all over the world and has long standing reputation in the field as an artist who paints with stitch. Kettle’s stitched figures are a culmination of many hours spent drawing in a variety of mixed media processes. Included in this exhibition are two of Kettles mixed media studies demonstrating how she creates images for her stitched pieces giving a rare insight into the developmental processes of her visual language.

‘Figurative Speaking’ is an exhibition that seams together the unparalleled work of four well known artists and articulates their individual desire to explore the figure relating to the viewer a truly personal response. Each has developed a narrative that unites them in terms of theme but diversifies them in terms of method, stitch with its long history of storey telling enables us to respond to these implied associations without the prejudice other creative mediums can evoke.

By Jennifer Pritchard Couchman

Jennifer has a background in fashion and for the last 12 years has successfully designed exclusive bridal wear through her design studio and bridal boutique in Lancaster. She also lectures at Preston College and University Centre at Blackburn College.

4th September 2009 until 29 October
Sirens - An Exhibition by Kate Webster

'Now the sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence.'
Franz Kafka 1917.

Kate Has always worked in oil paints, producing a whole array of differing images, based upon various subject matter. In her latest exhibition, however, she has chosen to pay homage to some of the glamorous female icons of 'The Dream Machine', the golden age of Hollywood.

Kate's paintings, executed in black and white, portray the crisply evocative images of the thirties, forties and fifties. Each image stares out from its own imprisoning canvas, isolated in a static timeless nostalgia. Her subjects are pictured as a series of 'stills'.

Faithful to an era in which cinematic special effects were still unknown, and which the main source of light was placed high up in front of the subject, her idealised portraits display faces in which the shadows of the skin texture are smoothed away, and facial contours are exaggerated. This gives them the dual quality of being Sirens, both goddess like and ghostly.

26th June 2009 until 20th August 2009
Kirsten is inspired by collections of objects and natural form. Her paintings are bright and evocative with layers of detail and subtle references contained within. She depicts quirky arrangements of garments and treasured possessions such as shoes, crockery and foods, as well as observed still life and her beautiful imaginary gardens. Using layered fragments of maps, dictionary references and stamps from around the world Kirsten creates a narrative of secret histories, which evoke a memory or a sense of place.

The Washing Line
This series of paintings originated with a walk through the streets of Down along in St Ives, Cornwall. Outside one of the fisherman’s cottages was a washing line hung with every type of garment. All shapes and sizes (shoes and all!). It was as if a very big wave had unexpectedly soaked a whole family. The image seemed to capture the essence of holidays by the beach. This idea continued following a trip to New York in 2008, and Kirsten began painting a series of pieces exploring ideas around fashion.

Rachel Eardley
At Home
6th March 2009 - 30th April 2009
Rachel produces hand drawn and printed images on the theme of the home.
Finding subject matter in kitchen cupboards and cutlery drawers, her work thrives on the details of everyday things.
She creates playful images which evoke feelings of nostalgia and often link to traditions from these fair isles.
Known for her fine line pen and ink drawings, Rachel has recently developed a new body of screen prints incorporating blocks of bold colour to heighten the detailed line.
Luneside Artists
9th January 2009 Until 5th March 2009

Luneside Studios.

In 2008 Luneside Studios celebrated its 25 year and moved to new studio premises at 26 Castle Park, Lancaster. We are delighted with our new location and are glad to leave the feeling of an uncertain future behind us. Settling into these new premises has taken longer than expected. However we are now almost fully operational and members are producing and exhibiting work.
This is Luneside Studios first group exhibition since our relocation and we are delighted to have it at the Edge Gallery

Iain Sloan

These works are an early response to a visit to Rila Monastery, considered the most beautiful monastery in Bulgaria. Located high in the mountains, Rila is an ancient location of devotional and academic significance. Exterior walls and doorways are painted in bold patterns of red, black and white, while the corridors and interior spaces have some of the finest frescos in the country – a truly inspirational place.

Emma Hunter

“Stones touch human beings because they suggest immortality,
because they have so patently survived.”
Lucy Lippard

These monotypes are from a series of work that explores sedimentary rock. The strata of this rock acts like a visual time capsule that reveals the formation of the landscape through time on a 'more than human scale'. By exploring these vast time-scapes, we can start to connect with the landscape in an ecocentric way rather than an anthropocentric way. By touching the rock we are touching star dust; we have a direct and unbroken link to the beginning of time and the explosion of matter from which everything in our universe came from, including ourselves. From a geological time perspective, rock is fluid in that it is ever changing. It is constantly being honed and sculpted by water, pressure, weather and of course more recently, man. It is only when we view rock from a human time perspective that it appears solid and inanimate. It is this paradox of fluidity and solidity that particularly interests me.

Alex Ashton

‘The work of art is born of the artist in a mysterious and secret way. From him it gains life and being. Nor is its existence casual and inconsequent, but it has a definite and purposeful strength, alike in its material and spiritual life.’ Wassily Kandinsky, 1914.

Sid Barlow

'The dishes on display are made from Bullseye opalescent and dichroic glass and the designs are based on spirals and labyrinths. Follow the lines round to the centre and back and see if you can use the dish not only as a decorative container but as a means to meditate!'

Neil Wison

Born in the summer of the great Hungarian Uprising of 1956, in one of those fading dark dank almost Dickensian mill towns on the north side of that great sprawling beast that is Manchester.
This landscape - immortalised by the deadpan brush of Mr Lowry - was already slowly receding into history when the booming radical rocking sixties proceeded to transpose its brighter more vital palette against the old grey heavy industrial foreground. School years were a fierce juxtaposition of these old and new forces, as represented by the opposing generations. Prewar attitudes and institutions clashed against a new generation's culture, riding the white heat technological revolution. Art was never highly valued by our masters and their structures - at best a tolerated recreation, a means of distraction, a momentary respite relief before getting back to the real business of life. In an atmosphere like this one maintains a commitment to the value of art, not because of but in spite of the surroundings. Life after school allowed a widening of my cultural horizons, a greater contact with more enlightened minds. It was not long before I found my way into art college. Now I was plunged first into the liberated environs of modern art, then further still into the contemporary avant garde of the late 1970s. Here painting was seen as 'past it'. Instead a sterile nihilistic conceptualism was touted as the future. I concluded this offering was empty, obsfucating, and decadent, a sophisticated attempt to suffocate the creative spirit, no less pernicious than the cruder repressions of the school system I had endured some years before. After art college - a wilderness period and time to reorientate, eventually turning back to painting and drawing as a vital source of renewal and strength. This led to a greater awareness of the therapeutic potential of art; eventually leading to training in art therapy in 1985 and further study at Sheffield University in 1991 resulted in an MA in Art and Psychotherapy.

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