Monday, 15 August 2022

Women connected to nature

Women connected to nature

FOUR female artists are hoping it will be third time lucky when they demonstrate their work in Henley for four days from Thursday.

Wendy Hodges, Liz Harvey, Sue Mundy and Cat Croxford had initially arranged to exhibit their work on the Whiteknights Studio Trail in Reading in 2020 but were thwarted by the first coronavirus lockdown.

A second exhibition was pencilled in for the Old Fire Station Gallery last February but, again, lockdown prevented this.

Now the quartet are back in Upper Market Place with their show, Connected, a selection of paintings, ceramics, prints and cards inspired by the natural world.

The women, who all met through teaching art and artist workshops, plan to attend the exhibition and demonstrate some of their working practices.

Wendy, who is an art teacher at Gillotts School in Henley, trained as a textile designer at Winchester School of Art and worked as a freelance artist before training to teach in 1997.

Her work stems from a passion for pattern, texture, surfaces and colour. Many of her pieces are a response to the ammonite pavement in Dorset and the multi-coloured, multi-textured rock faces on the North Cornwall coastline.

Wendy says: “We tend to spend most of our summer holidays on the coast, Devon and Cornwall. I just get really immersed in the patterns and the textures of the rocks and the different rock formations, taking pictures of rocks and looking down into the ripples of the sea and just looking for colours and textures.”

Much of her work is mixed media, retaining some elements of textile work.

“I will embroider and patch fabrics together, so stitch can be a part of it,” she says. “Most of my work now is more painting-based, working on tissue with watercolours and then working into those and using sandpaper to sand back surfaces and reveal different

“I’ll select an area from it and, with my offcuts of paper, I will then make smaller pieces and those tend to be the pieces that I will stitch into.”

Liz Harvey obtained a degree in fine art and the history of art and then worked in art education, teaching both in the UK and abroad.

He work is a balance between observation and abstraction, responding to the environment, recording the experience of seeing and noticing things.

Starting with observational drawing in sketchbooks, Liz’s work develops as she considers formal elements of the painting such as tone, line and light.

The initial process explores ideas through Liz’s drawings, considering mark-making and composition. This is translated into paint, with texture and tone, recreating the qualities of the drawings in a new form.

Liz explores light and form, layers and surface, tension and balance.

Ceramic artist Sue Mundy trained at North Staffordshire Polytechnic from 1983 to 1986 and has enjoyed creating in clay ever since. She teaches ceramics classes and runs weekend workshops.

Sue explores the shapes and surface textures found in her observations of trees and bones.

Taking daily walks in local woods means she is constantly surprised and delighted by the curious shapes of felled trees and the nodules which grow from them.

She uses slow and repetitive hand-building techniques in her work, which can be seen in galleries and at specialist ceramic events across the UK.

Cat Croxford grew up in Berkshire and South Oxfordshire and teaches at JoeDaisy Studio in Mapledurham.

She paints the familiar landscapes rich with memories and moments, aiming to capture these in her light-filled paintings.

Cat wanders through the woods taking photos and absorbing the smells and sounds. She witnesses the eternal cycle of nature through each season as the stories change and lights and colours evolve.

Cat likes to create art to stimulate sensations and memories. She paints on a black canvas, over which she describes contrasts, shapes and light with distinctive brush marks.

This creates the illusion of change as you move closer to the surface of the canvas and back out, as if zooming into a pixelated image.

• Connected: Wendy Hodges, Liz Harvey, Sue Mundy and Cat
Croxford is at the Old Fire Station Gallery, 52 Market Place, Henley, from Thursday to Monday, February 24 to 28 from 10.30am to 4.30pm daily. For more information, visit www.henleytowncouncil.

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