I love springtime! Not only do we get the return of longer days, warmer weather and bright flowers, but venues I've missed during the winter months start opening their doors again. I think the first of these 'closed' venues to re-emerge is Hailsham's Gallery North and their first exhibition of 2013 is entitled Natural Textures.
Natural Textures showcases the photography of Liz and Roger Scott together with the textiles of Julia Desch and Angela Anstey-Holroyd. There is also work from resident artists including Josie Tipler, Andrew G Forrest and current Under Ground exhibitor Chris Liddiard.
Roger Scott is a member of both the Eastbourne and Hailsham photographic societies. He has a selection of photographs downstairs at Gallery North three of which - Frost Patterns, Ice Patterns 1 and Ice Patterns 2 - I liked because of their differences. Frost Patterns has angular spikes and shards whereas the Ice Patterns are curves and circles. Another of his photographs, Nets, was actually taken in Dungeness but the image subject is so global, it could have been Africa or Asia. Four of Liz Scott's photographs caught my eye because of their seemingly magical composition. Liz has captured close-ups of tree boughs and trunks but they appear as human forms. The textiles are beautiful soft shawls and woven pieces by Woolcraft With Wensleydale. There has been a little of their work at Gallery North before but I don't think I had previously seen the fabulous '3D' rugs. My favourites of everything were probably the fabric images by Angela Anstey-Holroyd. She has hand-dyed and painted fabrics, then machine and hand embroidered them to produce recreations of seascapes and of lichen which is amazing to see. I think this work alone would be worth your trip out to Hailsham, if you don't already live there!
Upstairs, the top of the stairs is taken up by bright, bold paintings by Ian Dowding. His Golden Syrup, Heinz Beans and Birds Custard trio are great fun. I wished Dave had been with me to see the Red Cadillac and the gorgeous turquoise blue Cresta. Josie Tipler is showing a number of her fish paintings which I was pleased to see 'for real' having previously only seen them online. The largest piece, Big Pond, is alive with the movement of goldfish. I imagined they were anticipating being fed. The two monochrome Vorticist works are interesting as they show the same essential subject matter but with a very different atmosphere.
I spent quite a while chatting with the twins, the stewards, about the art and also about the Gallery itself. There was some concern over the structural soundness of the building and it is great that Wealden Council, its owners, have agreed to step up and complete repairs.
Gallery North, Tue 26th Feb - Sat 27th Apr.
Free admission, donations appreciated.