The Atkinson: Flavours
Venue: The Atkinson
Dates: 07/08/2021 - 04/09/2021
Times: All Day
The Atkinson Art Gallery, Lord Street, Southport PR8 1DB
7th August – 4th September 2021
Three very different local artists are linked through their personal use of colour in a new exhibition at The Atkinson this autumn. ‘Flavours’ will be the first combined showing of the work of Carole Dawber, Caroline Kaye and Lisa Langan.
Carole concedes that “Colour is my main driving force, often with vivid combinations or unacceptable norms and certainly lacking any preconceptions about how hues should interact together.”
Already no strangers on the region’s art scene, the contrasts of their individual creative practice will be well to the fore in this collective showing.
Carole and Caroline are both award-winning graduates of the celebrated Liverpool Art School (now Liverpool John Moores University) from a time when John Lennon’s autograph was still in evidence carved on the Lecture Theatre desks.
Carole reflects on her student days in Liverpool as ‘magical’.
“All I did all day was draw and paint, work with fabric, design clothes, and create by taking risks and having fun. The most inspiring artists, tutors and musicians surrounded me. It was awesome. There were no limits to imagination. I met such amazing people, all of whom just loved creativity for the idea of invention.”
Diverse in their media, all three artists recognise the importance of individuality of expression in their work.
Lisa, who likes to work from her home studio, admits “My still life paintings are personal centered. They are a slice of my life and will usually have evolved from an experience that I’m trying to evaluate in my head. Painting these evaluations helps me to deal with the reality of them that much better.”
Lisa also admits that her domestic paintings are a form of therapy, “a way I can push myself artistically, whether its by challenging myself with a new pattern in a fabric or with a wallpaper colour I have never used before.” Symbolism is key to her composition: “I use objects in my still life paintings that have a relevance to interpreting the situation. I might use a ‘Jammie Dodger’ biscuit with the heart in it as a symbol for self-love. A cup from my cupboard, with a painted heart on the side, might symbolise self-care and I often incorporate a candle to represent spirituality.”
Caroline, who is currently completing a PhD in Art History, uses mixed media as a means to express her own private commentary. “I spent a great deal of my artistic training and practice in observational work and my abstracted work draws upon all of that experience of looking at the world. I anticipate chance happenings, and the ability to over-paint or collage where necessary.”
All three endorse the value of personal research. Caroline confirms “Despite the abstracted nature of my work, I’m a great believer in observing the world in all kinds of ways. I make use of all manner of reference material. That might be objects that I have to hand or drawings, sketches, photographs I’ve taken, cuttings and collected material.”
For Caroline, the making of art is a process of discovery “about the work and oneself. My starting point is the construction of interesting surface textures that can be quite arbitrary. I then begin the painting by mark making in a fairly intuitive way. This often oscillates between an idea of landscape and still life. I find that I continually subvert many decisions, breaking lines, interrupting shapes, overpainting, suggesting known objects alluding to others, allowing some ambiguity to remain. I have a rule that says that even if I find a section of the picture to be wonderful, if it doesn’t work, it has to go. Each picture develops its own mood and parameters as I attempt to achieve some coherence. In this way, a painting presents a puzzle or a problem that I set out to solve.”
Carole’s similarly tactile approach stems from her student days experimenting with yarn and natural dyeing techniques that earned her a Life Fellowship from the Royal Society of Arts during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year. “Sometimes, I forget how thread and needle is like pen and ink to me. My earliest memories ever revolve around my Nana teaching me to crochet using just my fingers then showing me how to peg a rag rug using real dolly clothes pegs.” For her current ‘Bouquet in a Vase’ series she has “revisited silk fabric appliqué technics to express the exuberance of the cut blooms. Each flower is created using hand dyed, reclaimed sari silk, hand cut into individual petal and leaf forms, bonded together using transfer adhesive. These are then assembled into individual floral stems that are used in a similar way to any cut bloom arrangement. Once the whole composition is complete hand stitching is used to enhance and anchor both silk blooms and silk backgrounds.”
‘Flavours’ will also feature a collection of new flower paintings from life by Lisa. “I work mostly from life apart from when I need close up detail not visible to the eye. It is the freedom in this type of painting and that I enjoy the most.”
The work will be on view at The Atkinson Art Gallery, Lord Street, Southport PR8 1DB, 7th August – 4th September 2021.