ArtHouse: Celebrating 10 Years at ArtHouse
Venue: ArtHouse Gallery
Date(s): 8.2.23 - 25.2.23
Time(s): All Day
‘Celebrating 10 years at ArtHouse’
ArtHouse, 65 Eastbank Street, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 1EJ
8th – 25th February 2023
10 years ago Southport Contemporary Arts decided it was finally time to find a more stable home for their escalating activities after several years of pop up exhibitions and classes around the region.
Launched in 2009, the SCA network was originally established to embrace the fact that Southport is home to a wide spectrum of independent art practitioners working across various disciplines and techniques, including painters, textile artists, filmmakers, photographers, printmakers, sculptors, jewellers, musicians, poets and performance-based artists.
Having found and refurbished the building in Eastbank Street, in which ArtHouse is now housed, they have to date clocked up 170 exhibitions – no mean feat for a completely self-funded, voluntary organization.
Establishing a permanent ground floor gallery and upper studios that are let out to resident artists, SCA Director, Norrie Beswick-Calvert confirms: “We were able to not only fulfill our objective of celebrating the creative work of our members, but it also allowed us to extend that opportunity to non member individuals and organizations”.
Norrie adds, “The success and longevity of ArtHouse is testament to the passion our community has for art and contemporary craft and we look forward to continuing to offer this opportunity for creatives of all ages and working in all artistic genres”.
To celebrate ArtHouse’s 10year Birthday in 2023, SCA will be hosting a number of special events in the Eastbank Street Gallery throughout the year kicking off with a special invitation exhibition during February that will showcase the work of those artists who have held solo exhibitions at ArtHouse during the last decade.
Sculpture/artist, Russell MacDonell, held his first solo show in the summer of 2019: “I love ArtHouse and the vibe it creates; it gives a rare opportunity to local artists and makers to showcase their work in a small and intimate but special space.”
Constantly developing his skill base, Russ now works across a variety of mediums employing an assortment of tools to create his work: “The chainsaw art is a completely different process to working with clay. Working with the chainsaw you take material away to create a finished piece whereas with clay you add to your work by building up the piece with clay. I also draw, paint and do illustration and caricatures which influence my clay sculpture style.”
Ex Sandgrounder now living in the Wirral, Pauline Horner also has fond memories of her time at ArtHouse: “I was delighted to have a Solo Exhibition at the ArtHouse in September 2020. I had painted every day throughout the first Lockdown and had plenty of paintings to exhibit. My overall title was ‘Beautiful Britain’ and paintings included mountain and water scenes from England, Wales and Scotland. Many of these originated from sketches I had done in previous years. It was an amazing experience to see the gallery covered with my own paintings.”
Avid Ainsdale based potter, Chris Hughes, had his first solo show at ArtHouse in 2021. A former primary school teacher, Chris began making his pots in the late 1970’s and following retirement in 2007, enhanced his existing garden studio by building a workshop and installing his own kiln.
“I believe that most artists are drawn to the medium that suits them the best. I like clay. I like the feel of it the way it changes, you can model it, stick it together and build with it, carve into it, colour it and just leave it as the colour of the earth. By training I am a geographer, clay is all about earth, fire and water, pretty similar really.”
All Chris’s stoneware pots are hand-built using pinching, coiling and slabbing techniques and glazed in sympathetic natural tones. Favourites are blue and black (Tenmoku) and iron, cobalt and copper oxides to enhance his trademark surface decoration.
Chris will be displaying his latest ceramics during the ArtHouse exhibition: “This jug grew out of a commission received at the Open Studio weekend I held as part of the SCA Arts Trail last year. I was asked to make a ‘wonky jug’ by a visitor to the studio, which I did, and it led me to make several more including this huge jug, by far the largest I have ever made. It weighs quite a lot and is even heavier when full of liquid – not the most practical jug in the world, but it was never intended to be so!”
Artist and writer, Alice Lenkiewicz, now based in Liverpool, who will be displaying her textile mixed media and figurative wall hangings, also first exhibited at ArtHouse in 2021 prior to embarking on a three-month textile art residency at The House of Annetta, in London’s Brick Lane. Alice’s work is mainly sourced from her own fertile imagination incorporating a heady mix of African art, Symbolism and Post Impressionism realised using a combination of digital drawing, painting and appliqué.
“My work is inspired by dreams and art that I have observed on my travels abroad. I have always enjoyed textile art, predominantly pattern and design and dreamlike subjects, particularly of women in nature and in surreal landscapes”.
On display will be Alice’s latest mixed media stretched canvas, ‘Under the Sun and Trees’: “This is a technique I really enjoy although it can be quite time consuming but worth the time spent. It involves painting the image first and then creating an extra layer of fabric and stitch on the surface of the painting. This creates a rich and tactile surface with layers of paint and stitch merged together. It can be quite minimal or it can become quite intricate”.
This wide-ranging celebratory showing is certainly not one to be missed. Catch it while you can. The work will be on display at ArtHouse, Eastbank Street, Southport from 8th – 25th February 2023. The gallery is open Tuesday – Friday 10.00-15.00. Saturday 11.00-16.00.