Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Artists are putting ‘freedom of expression’ first at gallery

Artists are putting ‘freedom of expression’ first at gallery

FOUR women artists, all with different life journeys, have joined forces to stage a new exhibition at the Old Fire Station Gallery.

The show, titled La Liberté d’Expression, is running at the Upper Market Place venue until Tuesday (April 24).

“Freedom of expression” is the theme of a range of works in collage, prints, mixed media, drawings, paintings and sculpture installation.

One of the artists, Nacera Guerin from Dunsden, said: “We hope to stimulate significant conversations and share with visitors new vistas and fresh reflections. This is an important time to be living consciously.”

Nacera is an international French artist with more than 20 solo exhibitions, and 60 group shows to her name, including New York, Florida, Switzerland, and the Florence Biennale.

She paints, sculpts, uses mixed media, collages, and words to express an emotion, an event, a dream and awareness — or just to play.

Nacera says her long-term vision is “to bring together international women artists to exhibit collectively.”

The other artists in the current exhibition, which opened yesterday (Thursday), are Jennifer Leach, Selma Osborne and Sara Davies.

Jennifer Leach is an artist, writer, director of arts company Outrider Anthems and of Reading’s recent Festival of the Dark.

Her interest lies in the sanctity and energy of creativity, and in its unique power to burst open our small minds to the riches and challenges of the greater universe.

For Jennifer, art is no frolic — she is increasingly using it to engage human beings in “Conversations at the End of Time”.

Her focus in this exhibition is on The Death of Bhishma — a climactic point in the Indian Mahabharata epic.

Through painting, sculpture and words she invites people to consider what it means to “let go” in these times of self-serving ego and fear.

Selma Osborne is an artist and art tutor with a first class degree in fine art from Buckinghamshire New University.

She is currently teaching art to children individually and in groups both in and out of the school setting.

Selma has previously exhibited in Poland, Italy, London, Somerset, High Wycombe and Henley.

She won “The Fantastic Prize” in 2016 and the “First Time Exhibitor” award in 2013.

Her work combines expressionism, surrealism and symbolism. She uses her own pain as raw material and seeks to make her voice heard by an audience who identify with loss or a sense of injustice, need closure or seek light in the darkest of hours.

Sara Davies is an artist, mother and feminist living in Reading. After making performance work for a number of years, she became interested in “craftivism” and now uses needle and thread to explore issues surrounding consent, motherhood and gender politics.

She has previously shown her work at the SPILL Festival of Performance, Chelsea Theatre and the Sitelines Festival.

Closer to home, Sara’s work can be seen at the jelly studio now based at the Broad Street Mall in Reading.

La Liberté d’Expression runs until Tuesday (April 19). Admission is free and the opening hours are 9am to 5pm each day.

Last night (Thursday) saw the show launch with a friendly “DIY” opening from 6pm to 9pm that saw guests invited to bring their own drinking vessels in order to cut down on the use of plastic.

Looking ahead to the remainder of the exhibition, Nacera said: “The Liberté d’Expression theme will be captivatingly explored through two separate evenings of poetry and storytelling.

“A collective of published and unpublished poets will gather at the gallery on Sunday, April 22, at 8pm.

“And spellbinding storyteller Anne Latto will be joining Jennifer Leach to spin tales on Tuesday, April 24, at 8pm.”

For more information, visit the artists’ individual websites. For details of future exhibitions at the same venue, go to www.

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