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Past exhibitions at Rochester Art Gallery and Craft Case
Trace Engines – Drawings &
prints by Gary Clough
Occupation - Steve
Drawn to Ohio
Rust and Bloom
Billy Childish in print
Apertures of Light
Lapsed Marissa Mardon
The Skull Grins
The Illustrator's Art
Kaleidoscope - Printed
Textiles by Neil Bottle
Man's Ruin - Richard
Being and Nothingness
- Matt Bray
Under A Bridge - Simon Barker
Resonance - Susie MacMurray
Evaluation of Space
Passing Reflections - Rosie
Imago: Silverpoint Drawings and Paintings -
Reza Ben Gajra
Sedimental - Stephen Turner
Seaflowers - Wendy Smith
Vessel: Still Points / Turning Worlds
Conditions of Abstraction - Marta
Women of Mettle
Trace Engines – Drawings & prints by Gary
24 November - 18 Feb 17
Semblance ‘the outward appearance or apparent form of something,
especially when the reality is different’ -Oxford Dictionary of
Trace Engines explore the tense relationship between the world
of things and their images. The amalgamated drawings flatten the
world of three-dimensional objects into a diagrammatic plane of
lines, shapes and shading. They are at once abstract and literal,
but in bringing together the flat outline forms suggestive of
man-made objects such as airplanes, vases, buildings and machinery,
they create new and abstract contexts for the objects that possibly
In this often incongruous coming together, where big things are
made small and round things are made flat, Trace Engines play with
notions of archetype. True to the iterative nature of their
creation, the drawings have only a fleeting clarity that sees the
clean crisp lines of their tracing bleed and blur in the act of
mono-printing, the process becoming the means through which the
work undoes itself.
Rochester-based artist Gary Clough is Head of International
Pathways at UCA and a tutor in art and design. Trace Engines was
developed through a collaboration with the AIP Centre in Guangzhou,
China and the University for the Creative Arts.
Occupation by Steve Mace
26 August - 12 November 2016
Having formerly owned a factory in Medway,
Steve Mace captures the production lines and occupations of local
His work references the patterns and rhythms
of industrial work, cemented with rigorous research from his own
experiences and those of others. From cement dust to concrete and
steel, ‘Occupation’ questions the security of zero hour contracts
that are offered to workers today.
Traces of the economic uncertainty vs.
yesteryear’s lifetime occupations are also referenced throughout
Billy Childish in print
27 May - 14 August 2016
Billy Childish, Medway-based painter,
poet and musician, has been active in the field of printmaking and
small press publications since the mid 70s. This survey exhibition
brings together works from the artist’s extensive archive in a
variety of media, from early punk fanzines, to recent print
editions. Many books, woodcuts, etchings, mono prints and posters
spanning Childish’s eclectic career have been included.
Some of Childish’s earliest printed
works were fanzines, dating from 1977-79. These show his twin
interests in Punk rock and Dada (notably Kurt Schwitters). These
fanzines soon expanded, including poetry, collage and handmade
books. The artist began making woodcuts in the early 1980s,
influenced by Edvard Munch and Karl Schmiditt-Routlouf (the German
Expressionist’s Die Brucke group).
Many of these prints appeared as
covers to poetry chapbooks published by his small press Hangman
Books - and to accompany (not illustrate) the poems.
As well as original woodblock prints
from the 1980s more recent print editions (including hand painted
photogravure etchings, monoprints, hand stamped record sleeves,
limited edition books, Gestetner prints, and polemic posters have
been included in the survey.
Working closely with The L-13 Light
Industrial Workshop, Clerkenwell a new poster has been specially
commissioned for the show and will be available to the public.
26 February - 15 May 2016
An exploration into the subject
of decay and renewal through paint and flora.
We always yearn for those things that
we can't quite capture. There is great beauty in loss and
impermanence. This can be personified by a flower teetering on the
'perfection' of full bloom only to tip over into deterioration and
Material presence is of great
importance within the paintings. By making my own watercolours I
relish the pigments that move and react with one another beyond my
control. An example of this is verdigris that seeps from brilliant
emerald green back to the copper colour of its origin. Cast iron
powder blooms with rust as the seasons change.
In my acrylic and latex works, paint
is layered again and again over pockets of latex – wrapping the
picture up to produce it’s own ‘rings of a tree’. These painted
layers are then ruptured to reveal the composition and lifespan of
the piece as it breaks out of or dies back from the surface.
By using the physicality of paint,
repetition, reaction and the subject of flora these works hold an
implied or actual ‘life’ of their own beyond completion.
The Craft Case - Emma
Emma Clegg uses only porcelain clay, arguably the most difficult
of clays to master, to create her translucent, delicate
Using both throwing and hand building
techniques, each piece is asymmetrical and organically grows from
its base as it's made. She is inspired by the Cotswold hedgerows
near her studio and the floral work of Edward Raby.
She has exhibited widely and has been
commissioned by clients including Fortnum & Mason, Sothebys and
27 November 2015 - 13 February 2016
The exhibition Drawn to Ohio is collated from work made
over the last seven years, in which Shelly Goldsmith explores both
the geographical and emotional distance between Goldsmith’s home in
Ramsgate, Thanet on the Kent coast and Cincinnati, Ohio, and
environs, where Goldsmith’s parents live. This on-going theme
has re-occurred in Goldsmith’s work for many years, expressed
through a series of textile based pieces.
The work draws both upon the high incident of
dramatic meteorological events that prevail in this area of the US
and our relationship with the clothes we wear, and the emotions and
memories that these garments are imbued with: themes constant in
The work presented for Drawn to Ohio uses
a palette of textile traditions and new media, ranging from
charcoal drawings, hand stitching to digital printing on
pre-constructed garments and photography. Pieces are presented as
installation works as well as wall hung pieces and Limited Edition
28 August – 14 November
Join us at 6.30pm on Thursday, 10 September for the
opening reception of Anima at Rochester Art
Dan Perfect’s paintings begin with improvisational mark-making
on paper. That vocabulary is then expanded through digital
compositing to inspire large-scale canvases full of detail, colour
and dramatic gesture. These evoke a natural world bound up with
technology; bold brush marks and sinewy flashes of neon dart across
fluid, spacious backgrounds, whilst nascent figures, masks and
beasts emerge as if summoned from some primal formlessness.
Implicit in Perfect’s practice is the question of how and when
something animate arises; how we recognise ourselves emerge from
the vast flowing river of sense data and our endless surprise at
burgeoning self-consciousness and mutating identity.
Perfect’s recent paintings eschew previously explicit forms to
create an abstract sensate field, with a profusion of drifting
elements. Several possible readings are suggested: the paintings as
portraits; the frenzied actions of biology on a micro-scale; the
hybrid forms of human information language.
Tommaso Corvi-Mora has been running a contemporary art gallery
in London since 1995. In 2009 he started taking evening classes in
ceramics at Morley College, with his interest centred on functional
ware, with a particular focus on the irregularities of the
hand-made and on the evocative powers of forms dictated by
This exhibition marks the first presentation of the Heads
series. Every part of each sculpture is wheel-thrown and assembled
and most of them maintain the functional quality that characterises
wheel-thrown ceramics: the heads can be used as jugs, vases or
12 June – 16 August 2015
Join us at 6.30pm on Thursday, 11 June for the opening
reception of Apertures of Light at Rochester Art
Katayoun Dowlatshahi is a contemporary artist working with the
medium of print, drawing, photography, time-based media and
architectural glass. She creates work for public and private
commissions as well as gallery-based exhibitions.
Apertures of Light features work produced between 1998 and 2012
often linked to public realm commissions. Context and site
specificity are always integral and are motivating factors with her
research and this exhibition includes exploratory drawings and
studies that respond directly to her immediate environment. These
studies are often abstracted or deconstructed to reveal the hidden
landscape of light, architecture and space. Photography is a
constant in her work too, often combined with other materials to
produce fascinating results.
Katayoun has successfully integrated contemporary art on a
number of public commissions across the UK, including new city
developments and heritage locations. For this reason she has been
appointed as lead artist on IN-SITE, a public art project for
Chatham and Rochester Riverside. Katayoun is mentoring six
south-east based appointed artists who are working collaboratively
in pairs on three temporary commissioned works. With her extensive
knowledge she will support and guide them as they develop and
produce their final outcome.
The exhibition was curated by FrancisKnight.
Works by Salvatore Arancio, James Brooks, Leo
Fitzmaurice, Helen Kincaid, Noa Lidor and Tom Richards
Friday 3 April - Sunday 31 May 2015
Data brings together a selection of works by Salvatore Arancio,
James Brooks, Leo Fitzmaurice, Helen Kincaid, Noa Lidor and Tom
Richards that explore systems of knowledge and information.
In a world saturated by data - gathered, analysed,
archived and shared - and engrossed by issues of privacy and
control, the exhibition seeks to locate a fault in the system: the
place where a human narrative interrupts the flow of numbers.
Interrogating scientific disciplines, the works
investigate the potential for data to be manipulated and
re-invented through obstruction, deletion and imitation.
The exhibition artists use a range of strategies to subvert the
tools employed to evidence, measure and order the physical world -
electric circuits, architectural plans, astronomical charts and
geological illustrations - transforming them into the psychological
realm and investing them with wonder and humour.
Through acts of deletion and redaction, blurring, muting and
intentional error, the artists investigate notions of scientific
and artistic authority while experimenting with the suggestive
language of data visualisation. In place of reassuring information,
the manipulated, malfunctioning objects offer a sense of
disorientation and confusion.
The exhibition presents a survey of possibilities and
limitations, exploring the boundaries between fact and fiction,
science and art, objectivity and poetic license, and asking
questions rather than providing conclusive answers, offering a
space for exploring these tensions.
Data is curated by Shiri Shalmy. The exhibition was commission
by the Contemporary Art Society.
The Inflatable Archive
Archive New works by Claire Orme & Drew York
23 January – 21 March
"Everything in the world has its own
spirit which can be released by setting it into vibration."
The Inflatable Archive is an
exhibition by Claire Orme and Drew York - two recent graduates of
the School of Music and Fine Art. They are the recipients of the
first Recreate Bursary in celebration of the University
of Kent’s 50th Anniversary.
For The Inflatable Archive, Drew York aims to
explore the relationship between Sound and Image in an immediate
and visceral way. Centrally concerned with acoustic anthropology,
York uses 3d printing technology as medium to the unseen dimension
- bringing to light the forgotten sonic histories of our
environment by realising sound as object.
Claire Orme presents
works that playfully explore the unexpected associations between
the history of Kent, Ancient Egypt and British Music Hall. Weaving
together Kentish folklore and ancient rituals, ghost stories and
archaeology, music hall and sonic arts, Orme constructs an
unorthodox narrative that is somehow suspended between the real and
the imagined. This narrative is created through research materials,
sculpture, drawings and sound.
Taking over the gallery and transforming it into an archival
grotto, the artists will fill the space with curious artefacts that
they have excavated from the ether. Dismantling local
chronologies and assembling new narratives, Orme & York will
entwine past and present in an imagined reality.
This exhibition has been supported by the
University of Kent, the European Union Recreate Bursary and Medway
Council with objects kindly loaned by the Guildhall Museum.
Works by Kate MccGwire, Zara Carpenter, Tessa Farmer &
24 October 2014 – 3 January 2015
Rochester Art Gallery
This exhibition brings together the work of four artists who all
explore notions of beauty and alienation, attraction and repulsion
and the otherworldly in their use of materials and form.
The works of acclaimed artist Kate MccGwire use
the language of natural materials to attract and repel in equal
measure. Her feathered sculptures have a constant sense of
‘otherness’ to them, at once seducing and disturbing the viewer
with their strange familiarity. This abject beauty is integral to
MccGwire’s practice, where bodily forms reference both the beauty
of the natural world and its darker undercurrents. For this
exhibition MccGwire will be showing several pieces including
‘Sluice’ a remarkable floor installation made of 4000 feathers.
Medway based artist and milliner Zara Carpenter
will be showing her first major sculptural work ‘Persephone’ which
explores the acceptance of ones own mortality and the ageing
process and the desire to leave something beautiful behind. The
work uses gathered and found objects including silk flowers, birds
wings and insects to investigate themes of metamorphosis.
Kerry Howley is a contemporary jewellery artist
fascinated by the power materials have to influence the wearers
emotional response and particularly how these can be conflicting.
She uses familiar forms yet works with materials that both
fascinate, attract and repulse, turning discarded hair into
exquisite yet unsettling adornment.
Tessa Farmer creates intricate miniature fairy
sculptures made from insect carcasses, plant roots and other found
natural materials. Microscopic battles between insects and tiny
winged skeletal humanoids are both sinister and bewitching and
offer a glimpse of an apocalyptic microscopic underworld.
An exquisite selection of artefacts including seldom seen
Victorian mourning and hair jewellery has been kindly loaned by the
Guildhall Museum from their collections as part of
Medway based artist Cormac McManigan who's work is inspired
by nature, is showing two stag beetle pieces for the show, carved
and cast in bronze and made specially for the exhibition, the
pieces are displayed in antique specimen drawers and can also be
worn as jewellery
Printmaking by Xtina Lamb, Adam Piper and Liz
22 August – 11 October 2014
Preview event Thursday 21 August
The exhibition showcases three artists working at Medway Fine
Printmakers in Rochester - Xtina Lamb and Adam Piper (co-founders
of the print studio, and INTRA, the new multi-disciplinary arts
venue that houses it), and Liz Miller who was the first artist to
complete a residency there.
Liz Miller. Debussy 2.
Themes of mapping, crossovers, and visualisation of hidden
patterns run through the show, expressed through a range of print
techniques including intaglio, silkscreen and relief printing.
Liz Miller's 'Classics on Vinyl' series combines music and
visual art with the aesthetic quality of information graphics, in a
photopolymer etching project investigating repetitive patterns in
Lamb screen prints layers of densely colourful imagery with
stencils and Print Gocco to map personal geographies, memories and
Xtina Lamb. Swept away.
Adam Piper works with ancient presses, combining the
transformative qualities of reversal, mixing weights of line and
rich, velvety tonal ranges, achieved with intaglio processes and
mark making experimentation with relief printing.
A Thousand Words
Bryan Talbot is one of the true greats of
British comics, a master draughtsman and storyteller whose
astonishing career is surveyed in A Thousand Words. Bryan and his
wife Mary received the 2012 Costa award for biography for Dotter of
Her Father’s Eyes, the first British comic to win a major literary
prize. A Thousand Words presents original artwork from this and a
range of his other significant books, including pages from the
currently unpublished fourth volume of his Grandville
series.Rendered in beautiful ink washes and alert to the
minutiae of life, Joe
Decie’s stories are peppered with
absurd or impossible moments that both escape and celebrate the
everyday. Joe’s work has been collected in two acclaimed books, The
Accidental Salad and The Listening Agent.
Ian Williams’ comics are informed by
his career as a doctor, presenting the unseen side of medical
practice in stories that are both funny and painfully honest. His
first graphic novel, The Bad Doctor, will be published in
Mark Barnes applies his crisp design and
cleverly observed humour to a group of new illustrations for this
exhibition. Drawing on the vernacular of comics by adopting imagery
from its history, Mark Barnes’ work plays on and disrupts many of
the expectations people have of comics.
Lisa Swerling’s Glass
series of artbox sculptures contain brilliant tiny worlds inhabited
by miniature people.
Time Lapsed Marissa Mardon
Craft Case – Ceramics by Imogen Noble & Raewyn Harrison
28 March – 1 June 2014
Marissa Mardon takes her inspiration for Time Lapsed from a
creative fusion between painted forms and traditional and historic
contexts. Using vintage photography as her starting point, Mardon
attempts to show the blurred line between image construction and
the painting process of photo realism for which she is best known.
Time Lapsed presents a body of work that is experimental in
approach and a move away from Mardon's usual style.
Time Lapsed Oil and graphite on linen. Marissa Mardon
Mardon's focus is on contrast and form, light and shade. Her
canvases are bare in places, left partially raw revealing the
evidence of visible pencil marks and brush strokes. She encourages
the viewer to become drawn into the work, its construction,
development and pause. A time lapse film captures and reveals the
process of her work, demonstrating exactly how each brushstroke
evolves onto the canvas from beginning to end. The passing of time
is referenced in the historical imagery found in Mardon's work as
well as the making process which she explores through sound and
Craft Cases - Ceramics by Imogen Noble and Raewyn Harrison.
Fascinated by architecture, industry and
tidal landscapes, Raewyn’s work explores, history and industry. The
fragmented images are an integral part of each piece as they reveal
the narrative of a journey, moment of time or place. Raewyn’s
visible clay techniques include; slip casting, throwing and hand
building and photographs are specifically taken to work with the
perspective and scale of the form.
Raewyn Harrison 3 Delft Turbines
Imogen Noble makes pots inspired by patterns found
in landscape and textiles, and by the weathered surfaces of stone
and wood. She hand builds one-off vessels using pinching, coiling
and slab building techniques which are fired in saggars – sealed
ceramic boxes – to which locally foraged Whitstable seaweed and
oyster shells have been added to give flashes of rich colour and
texture in the kiln. Imogen was recently selected for the Crafts
Council creatHothouse 4 programme.
Imogen Noble Small jars. Stoneware clays 6” tall 2013.
Photo by Phillip Keevil
Marissa, Imogen and Raewyn’s work is further complimented by
historic objects in the craft case kindly loaned from the Rochester
The Skull Grins Relentless
Wolf Howard & Mick Hampshire
Craft Case: Sarah Crouch & Xtina Lam
17 January to 15 March 2014
Four Medway artists will be showcasing their creative talents at
an exhibition in Rochester Art Gallery.
Paintings, drawings and pinhole photography will make up a
display called ‘The Skull Grins Relentless’ by self-taught artists
and musicians Mick Hampshire and Wolf Howard.
Wolf Howard specialises in images painted in a style called
impasto, which involves painting with thick, deep visible brush
strokes that form part of the image itself. Howard – who tries to
capture his subjects with a childlike innocence - paints in his
back garden using oils on canvas and shoots old-fashioned style
films with his super 8 cine camera.
He will also be conducting two special painting and drawing
workshops for families during the exhibition.
Mick Hampshire’s abstract work is inspired by cave paintings and
medieval art. He often paints with a grinning skull sitting on his
shoulder, a fact that has helped inspire the name for this
Galleries throughout London and the South East have showcased
Hampshire’s work and a number of his paintings have found homes
across the world.
Mick and Wolf have known each other for over thirty years but
have never tired of laughing at each other’s misfortunes. Expect
some animals, some skulls, some abstracts, some ancient-looking
photography and a weird film.
Some of the pair’s well known pieces will be at the exhibition
as well as art created especially for the show.
Also on display at the same exhibition will be crafts by two
other Medway artists.
Sarah J Crouch will be presenting a selection of her sculpted
ceramics inspired by aboriginal art as well as 1950’s and 60’s
She will be joined by printmaker Xtina Lamb, who will be
displaying her colourful artist books; vinyl cut illustrations and
printed banners based on the themes of luck, loss and truth.
Rochester Art Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of
drawing, video and installation by the London-based artist Jessie
Brennan. In Spring 2013 Medway Council commissioned Brennan to
develop new site-responsive work that explores and documents the
River Medway’s heritage through the hidden histories and first hand
stories of people who have worked, lived and played along the
The Cut (detail) 2011, Pencil on Paper, 29.7 x 504
This is Brennan’s first solo exhibition in a public gallery
showing the prizewinning work The Cut (Jerwood Drawing
Prize, 2011, François Schneider Foundation, 2012) as well as newly
commissioned work by Medway Council in partnership with LV21
Lightship where Brennan undertook a residency as part of the
The Gallery and Craft Case will display historical artefacts
relating to the River Medway, kindly loaned by local organisations
and private collectors including LV21 Lightship, The Guildhall
Museum, World Ship Society, Master Ropemakers at Chatham Dockyard
and The Medway Queen Preservation Society.
The Illustrator’s Art
Prints by Andrzej Krauze, Lynn Hatzius and Matthew Pagett
Craft Case – Books by Kaho Kojima and Chisato Tambayashi
Friday, 26 July to Saturday, 5 October 2013
The Illustrator’s Art celebrates the
work of Andrzej Krauze, Lynn Hatzius and Matthew Pagett, who all
work as fine artists and illustrators, and explores the influence
of narrative and figurative expression transferred from
illustration to fine art through printmaking.
Lynn Hatzius experiments with a combination of collage and
printmaking, her recent work, inspired by the anonymity of found
material, alters the physicality of her portrait subjects by adding
images of nature, to suggest loss, growth and
The RCA graduate Matthew Pagett received the 2012 New Graduate
Award at londonprintstudio. Using new techniques and processes at
the studio, he has been evaluating new ideas through
Andrzej Krauze a leading political cartoonist in his native
Poland, became known for his extraordinary illustrations in the
Guardian newspaper. A master of producing wry, ironic, sometimes
scary images, the bold paper cut images in this exhibition
represent a radical departure from his normal line drawing
Printed Textiles by Neil Bottle
Friday 17 May to Sunday 14 July 2013
Neil Bottle’s exquisite new ‘Kaleidoscope’
series of printed textiles has been created especially for this
solo exhibition at Rochester Art Gallery.
In the Kaleidoscope series, Neil explores the relationship
between digital textile printing and craft printing techniques and
how these seemingly opposing practices can coexist.
A combination of the latest cutting edge digital print
techniques such as dye sublimation combined with craft traditions
such as screen printing, discharge printing, pleating and Shibori
have been developed in the work. Kaleidoscope
digital printed cotton sateen wallhanging. Neil
The Kaleidoscope series of wallhangings is printed in rich
shades of scarlet, flame, teal and gold. These designs are in a
sense autobiographical, representing an eclectic mixture of
references, journeys and memories. A key focus in the work is to
create a sense of depth and space on flat printed cloth, pushing
the limitations of digital textile printing.
Neil is the Course Leader for Fashion Textiles at University for
the Creative Arts (UCA) at Rochester where he set the BA Hons
degree in Fashion Textiles: Print in 2009. Neil's research is part
of the international Crysalis textiles regeneration project which
is funded by UCA and the European Regional Development Fund.
Neil’s studio is on the Kent coast from where he designs printed
textiles for fashion and interiors. His work is held in collections
around the world including The Victoria and Albert Museum in
London, The Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York and The Crafts Council
Collection in London.
Neil counts amongst his clients, The British Museum,
Shakespeare’s Globe, The Royal Academy, Royal Opera House and The
Guggenheim Museum, New York. Over the years his work has been sold
and exhibited internationally in galleries and stores such as
Libertys, Harrods, Browns, Fortnum & Masons, Neiman Marcus and
Medway-based, ‘Chatham Girl’' milliner, Zara Carpenter
makes unique, bespoke, sculptural headpieces and ready-to-wear
hats, using found objects. Inspired by nature, 1920s design, Dutch
still-life paintings, fantasy books and films, Zara’s beautiful
pieces are wearable works of art.
Neil will also be exhibiting his range of fashion and interior
accessories from his own label in the Craft Case.
'The Oloha'(Summer collection 2012) silk flowers, plastic
toy goldfish, satin covered headband, Zara Carpenter.
Man’s Ruin - Richard Heeps
Friday, 1 March to Saturday, 4 May
Richard Heeps has been photographing hot rods and Americana in
the UK and the USA for more than 10 years. His images
capture the vibrancy of contemporary scenes inspired by the 1940s
and 1950s and pay tribute to mid-century modern life, as it is
Heeps' images capture the spirit and pursuit of the American
dream - stylish, glamorous and hedonistic. His portraits
capture those at odds with modernity and his landscapes and
interiors preserve and celebrate places where time has
stood still and the wrecking ball is looming.
Heeps' work is not a passive nostalgia; situations within his
photographs are real, found and not pre-arranged, subjects are
celebrated and not styled. Heeps is a traditional craftsman using
film and hand-printing his own pictures full-frame.
Playful and ambiguous, Heeps' large cinematic and technicolour
images of diners, motels, gold rush towns, airstreams, hot cars and
Rockabilly enthusiasts wilfully lack any clear pointers to time and
space. The work is witty and misleading. Think you’re in Nevada, or
maybe it’s Norfolk?
Photograph by Richard Heeps.
Bonanza Cafe, Lone Pine,
Over the last decade Margo Selby has been
developing award winning fabric constructions and textures on
handlooms, which are used for luxury textile products and projects.
Her trademark patterns and textures have ensured her products are
fast becoming coveted contemporary classics.
Image: Margo Selby. Silk and lycra woven cushion
Kaz Robertson creates bold and colourful handmade resin
jewellery in her studio in Edinburgh.
Magnets inside some of the pieces create bangles which can stick
together to build up sets, rings that you can swap their tops and
necklaces that can be connected in various designs.
Image: Kaz Robertson. Bitties earrings, resin with silver
Being and Nothingness
Craft Case: Jewellery by Sian Bostwick, Glass by Kathryn
14 December 2012 to 16 February 2013
Matt Bray’s abstracted figures draw upon personal feelings of
alienation, using expressionist techniques to engage with the human
body. Bray’s paintings occupy and explore the tensions between
subject and object, figuration and abstraction and allows the paint
to exist on its own terms.
Being and Nothingness brings together key works to
date, from dark forlorn heroes and expressive portraits to a more
fragmented figure. Colourful sci-fi inspired canvases see the
figure transformed - trashy horror movie monster, neon zombie or
dismembered android body parts, now form the subject for Bray’s
immediate and impactful approach to painting.
Matt Bray is currently studying for a PhD in Fine Art at the
University of Kent and has a studio in Chatham’s Historic Dockyard.
Although still a relatively new figure on the British art scene,
his affecting paintings have featured in UK and International group
exhibitions and in several publications.
card for Being and Nothingness - Matt Bray (pdf 171KB). To
download a pdf you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do
not have it on your computer, please use our advice page.
Image: Being and Nothingness 1, 2012 (detail). Oil
Award-winning, Medway-based Hot 100 2012 jewellery designer
Sian Bostwick, creates jewels with delicate detail and a hint
of wonderland, inspired by the Kent countryside, mysterious
literature and enchanting fairytales.
Kathryn Roberts makes timeless,
painterly glass handcrafted vessels, their asymmetry captures
the natural fluidity of the medium and finds inspiration in the
Welsh countryside surrounding her riverside studio and gallery.
Under A Bridge - Simon Barker
Friday, 28 September to Sunday, 2 December
Artist and architect Simon Barker investigates how a place can
be defined by the hidden, the missing, and the erased. How this can
contribute to a community’s potential to reclaim the value of a
place, think intuitively about its area and engage in regeneration
Simon Barker's practice explores the traces people
leave behind and the marks they make on a place. He is
interested in people's relationships with the built
environment and how this informs communities and society.
Bridge explores a particular relationship
between the M2 motorway bridge dating from the mid 20th
century and a monumental structure, from the last
quarter of the 19th century that was once omnipresent in the
local landscape in Gillingham, Kent but has since been almost
totally erased: Jezreel’s Temple.
The Temple was constructed in the 1880s by the Jezreelites, the
religious followers of James Jershom Jezreel, a charismatic leader
who had preached a millenarian form of Christianity. The Temple was
never completed, but was nonetheless an impressive structure in the
form of a severe masonry cube of approximately 30m in height.
The still vacant site of the demolished Temple, and the river
banks below the bridge, where the remains of the temple now lay
buried, are both marginal, ‘edge’ landscapes, uncared for and
unvalued. The exhibition explores the nature of, and relationship
between these nonetheless very distinct places and their
The Jezreelite sect dwindled over the 50 years after
construction of the Temple, but the building became a well known
landmark that was: featured on postcards; used as a navigational
marker by ships on the River Medway; and became a strong element in
the folk memory of Medway communities. It was demolished in 1960
and there are still many members of the local community that
Simon Barker's interpretations, re-constructions and
compositions are explored through moving image, sound and
visual installation influenced by archival materials, the
performance of a 120 year old hymn and the collection and
recycling of local photographs, stories and tales.
essay for Under a Bridge - Simon Barker (pdf 600KB) Craft
Jennifer Collier, a paper artist and founder of
Unit Twelve, a contemporary craft workshop and exhibition space in
rural Staffordshire, creates work from paper by bonding, waxing,
trapping and stitching. She produces unusual paper fabrics, which
are used to explore the remaking of household objects.
Kate O’Connell’s ceramics are inspired by
‘things that have gone before - historical objects of function
whose essence can be used as a basis for contemporary craft’.
O’Connell challenges notions of familiarity and reproduction, by
altering the scale of objects and stripping them of their
Resonance - Susie MacMurray
13 July to 16 September 2012
Resonance examines the complex
relationships between Susie MacMurray’s drawings
and sculpture and how an engagement with materials is central to
her work. It is through her choice of materials that she searches
for ways to explore the paradoxes that exist within unpredictable,
arbitrary and volatile personal/public life experiences. She is
attracted to materials, particularly ‘found’ materials that
generate a measure of ambivalence - memory/mortality, power/
submission, protection/suffocation. It is by subverting her
materials; she is able to make sense of these juxtapositions.
MacMurray is concerned with the intimate relationship objects can
have with the body itself and how they can immerse or repel. She
often makes domestic references not only in the materials she uses,
but in the way she explores what it is to be female, a wife, a
widow, a ‘catch’. She explores provocative and challenging issues
in her work and tries to understand ‘where one finds the residue of
a fleeting but intensely emotional experience', be it a profound
sense of loss, or deep-rooted connections between people and
stories within a place. Drawing is an important part of MacMurray's
creative practice. In addition to her elegant pen and ink works she
extends the possibilities of making drawings using unconventional
materials including rubber tubing, hair, wax and discarded strings
from musical instruments.
MacMurray's work encompasses drawing, sculpture and site
responsive architectural installations. A former classical
musician, MacMurray retrained as an artist, graduating with an MA
in Fine Art in 2001. She now has an international exhibition
profile and shows regularly in the USA, Europe and the UK.
Photo: Two Hairnets No.5, 2011, pen on paper, Susie
for Resonance - Susie MacMurray (pdf 667KB)
Evaluation of Space
27 April to 29 June 2012
Andrew Mackenzie, Oliver Barratt, Rosie Lesso, Dan
Evaluation of Space explores transformation in the context of
interior and exterior space, and how this translates between the
imagined and the experimental. The exhibition brings together
painting, drawing, sculpture and applied arts that provoke
curiosity and question ideas surrounding space and the built
Clearfell 4, 2011, Oil on panel, Andrew Mackenzie
Andrew Mackenzie captures a tension between
nostalgic and romantic associations with landscape painting and
modern-day life, through his curious, uninhabited spaces and
Rosie Lesso’s drawings explore the boundaries
between realism and abstraction by bringing together broad subject
matters, encompassing her fascination with the colour black,
performance, outdoor intervention and writing.
Oliver Barratt’s sculptures are elegant
and uncluttered. Their fluid lines and forms grow and fall, loop
and swell, suggesting familiarity, as if straight from nature. Dan
Stafford’s sculptural ceramics are about the manipulation of
perspective in sculptural form. He employs subtractive processes,
masking and stencils, to build up and take away intricate patterns
and contrasting textures.
Thinking Aloud, 2005, Ceramic, resin, wire and paint, Oliver
Dan Stafford's sculptural ceramics are about
the manipulation of perspective in sculptural form. He employs
subtractive processes, masking and stencils, to build up and take
away intricate patterns and contrasting textures.
Interpretation essay for
Evaluation of Space (pdf 660KB)
Lesley Risby examines fragility and
vulnerability with her ceramics. Their skeletal nature represents
the susceptibility of living organisms to natural and man-made
Bud Latven, an internationally acclaimed
sculptor, creates beautifully crafted woodturned forms. Influences
include Southwest Native American ceramics and prehistoric and
contemporary culture surrounding the vessel.
Passing Reflections - Rosie James
10 February to 13 April 2012
The exhibition brings together works by textile
artist Rosie James, ceramics and
glass by Andrea Walsh and fused textiles in glass
by Alison Lowry.
Anonymous passers by, individuals and crowds are the subject of
Rosie James' investigations. Within her figurative-thread drawings
and screen prints she draws attention to often-overlooked details
found in everyday occurrences and looks to capture the commonality
found within groups.
James explores connections between her subjects and their
location by interpreting their surroundings, through drawing and
photography, making reference to buildings, windows and skylines to
suggest urban landscapes. Her energetic, sketch-like, thread
drawings are sewn onto transparent fabrics, to reveal and celebrate
the process of sewing. Loose threads and frayed ends imply speed
and movement, which suggest busy towns and bustling
Rochester Art Gallery’s Craft Case presents ceramic and glass
faceted boxes, together with a selection of jars and vessels, by
Andrea Walsh. She explores the physical and
metaphorical relationships between the material object and external
qualities of light, shadow and surface.
Alison Lowry's fused textiles in glass aim to
capture and preserve traces of the wearer, translating ethereal
properties into a second skin of memory using family heirlooms.
Imago: Silverpoint Drawings and Paintings - Reza Ben
25 November 2011 to 3 February 2012
Rochester Art Gallery presents Imago: Silverpoint Drawings
& Paintings by Reza Ben Gajra. The
exhibition brings together recent works concerned with the body and
its spiritual and emotional connections to the heart and mind.
Reza Ben Gajra's imagination and sensitivities are reflected
within the linear qualities found in his silverpoint drawings, the
symbolic representation from metal leaf motifs and the playfulness
of his paintings. The artist describes his work as a visual
language that embraces the interconnections between abstract and
figurative expressions and levels of objectivity between emotional
attachment and detachment.
Reza’s work and the process of producing it, derived initially
from his observations, focusing on composition and pictorial space.
This investigation became consumed by more open experimentation,
using metal leaf, powder pigments, wax encaustic and housepaint
alongside oil paint, and the collaging of his own abandoned
paintings, to emphasise depth of surface and artistic
Following a year in India in 1989/90, Reza’s visual language and
use of materials became minimalist and formalised, concentrating on
surface arrangement and the stylisation of forms. Metal leaf
replaced paint and colour, and drawing was employed as a tool of
enquiry. The work became increasingly more detailed and linear, and
the scale more intimate. Reza began to use silverpoint, which
requires time and patience. This manifested itself in fine lines
executed very slowly, deliberately and obsessively, perhaps
reflecting thought-processes and memory.
Rochester Art Gallery’s Craft Case presents Nan Nan
Liu’s sculptural paper and previous metal collections,
which show her interest in Chinese culture and ways of storing.
Natalie Vardey uses traditional techniques to
weave, knit and crochet fine precious metals to create delicate
jewellery, some of which have moving parts in acrylic, silver and
Interpretation essay for Imago: Silverpoint Drawings &
Paintings - Reza Ben Gajra (pdf 209KB)
Sedimental - Stephen Turner
25 August to 11 November 2011
Sedimental is a journey of (re)discovery for artist
Stephen Turner; an exploration of significance in
nature and a reflection on how this can be incorporated into his
For Turner, the Medway estuary reconnects people in our ever
increasing urban lives to the pulsing heart of nature. He examines
threads interweaving geology with history, flora with fauna,
hydrology and river archaeology, purity with contamination and
other such contrasts that make being beside this stretch of tidal
water an enlightening and enriching experience.
The estuary's rich story, animated by people and defined by
place over time is the subject of Turner's intimate conversation
and impetus for connection, using the oldest and newest
technologies - the muddy clay itself and digital audio and video in
collaboration with the river, its histories and its people.
Interpretation essay for Sedimental - Stephen
Turner (pdf 455KB)
Seaflowers - Wendy Smith
17 June to 19 August 2011
Seaflowers is an exhibition of contemporary paintings and
textile installations by Kent-based artist Wendy
Smith. The exhibition has been conceived as a celebration
of colour and ritual.
Informed by a recent self-initiated residency on the coast in
Karnataka, South India earlier this year, Smith presents new work
that responds to ritual behaviour, interwoven into the necessities
of daily life and vibrant street culture in South India.
Smith has sought to redefine the exhibition experience by exploring
its possibilities as a visual journey rather then a series of
objects. This is evident in her abstract paintings, based on
seascapes and drawings of temple flowers and textile installations
from sari material, which are sumptuous in texture and colour.
In Seaflowers, Smith has explored pattern and space, absorbing
herself within the richness of Indian colours and the ritual of
making. She has introduced elements of printing, combining her
passions and treating the canvas as both textile and painting.
During her residency, Smith immersed herself in daily life,
observing women and children selling flowers to pilgrims and
tourists outside the temples each morning, while local fishermen
went out to sea night after night, as their families sold the day’s
catch at the market.
Interpretation essay for
Seaflowers - Wendy Smith (pdf 265KB)
Craft case programme
Rochester Art Gallery's Craft case will be exhibiting work by
students from applied Arts and Contemporary Jewellery courses,
University for the Creative Arts, Rochester.
Vessel: Still Points / Turning Worlds
1 April to 3 June 2011
Featuring work by Annie Turner, Sara Radstone, Dan
Kelly, Kate Wickham, Ruth Franklin and Robert
Cooper - acclaimed ceramists at The City Lit in
The focal point for this group exhibition is the vessel, as an
object and abstract concept. The exhibition aims to present broad
links between disparate and diverse makers, techniques and
approaches. The vessel becomes the starting point for unravelling
symbolic, conceptual, subversive and figurative references.
Annie Turner's sculptural vessels, inspired by
the River Deben in Suffolk, are triggers for personal and
collective memories - contrasting fragile landscapes and the
intervention of man.
Kate Wickham's hand-built vessels explore
interplay between form, surface, colour and texture, containing and
preserving memories like reference points or markers.
Ruth Franklin's work combines printmaking
techniques and ceramic sculpture. It concerns family memories, the
importance of household artifacts and their ability to conjure up
Russian Revolutionary Granny 2, 2008, Ruth Franklin
Sara Radstone's sculptures explore themes of
history, memory and place. Recent works are inspired by ambitious
display methods - suspending work with wire and composing wall and
Robert Cooper is fascinated by the persistence
of artifacts and ideas. He often uses found objects and employs
recycling as a mode of working. A range of intriguing discarded
materials are recombined to create new narratives.
Dan Kelly's wheel-thrown vessels combine the
aesthetics of the accidental, appreciated by tea masters, with the
exuberance of expressive painting. Rims are left raw and marks made
during the making process remain.
Conditions of Abstraction - Marta Marcé
14 January to 25 March 2011
The gallery presents paintings
by Marcé, a Spanish-born,
Berlin-based artist, who is interested in the idea of play as a
metaphor for how society operates in an era when daily life is
becoming ever more structured, planned and controlled.
Featured right is her 2008 painting Flowing in
Marcé investigates concepts involving the human condition and
the act of painting. She explores the principles of games, rules
and laws; those that encourage obedient behaviour and
those that seek alternatives to the system through judgement,
decision-making and chance.
The physicality of the artwork is expressed through colourful
hand-painted geometric shapes used to reinforce a universal
understanding that celebrates human activity and its imperfections.
The pleasure of discovery, comforts found from being in
control,self-determination and innocent playfulness are concerns
that Marce sensitively considers to create conditions of
abstraction that are bold and joyful.
essay for Marta Marce - Conditions of Abstraction (pdf
Lindsey Mann’s playful jewellery and objects
are inspired by light-hearted memories of her childhood, spent
surrounded by her father’s collections of vintage machinery and all
things mechanical. Mann’s fascinating mixed-media pieces combine
printed anodised aluminium with silver, semi-precious stones and
colourful objects trouvé. The aim being to create something amusing
that seems to be both familiar and foreign.
Clare Tindall’s colourful liquid latex
plant-like objects are intriguing, playful and toy-like. Her
perfect specimens, made from the sap of the hervea-brasiliensis
tree, are fabricated and manipulated through moulding, layering,
dipping and painting. Undercurrents of mutation and cloning can be
found in her explorations when transposing the physical elements of
one animal or vegetable species to another.
15 October 2010 to 3 January 2011
Get Real brings together contemporary artworks that explore
transformation and communication within unreal, imaginary and
artificial contexts through photography, film, installation,
performance and jewellery.
UK-based Italian artist Emilia Telese explores
public and media fascination surrounding icons and celebrities, the
heights of frenzy associated with the act of being famous and
interprets the beauty industry’s obsession with perfection.
Rikard Österlund, a Kent-based photographer,
investigates contemporary notions of beauty and our post-modern
relationship to nature through a series of monumental portraits of
Kent artists and theatrical floral compositions influenced by 17th
century Flemish paintings.
Featured here is Roses and Other Flowers in a Vase
(Philosophy of Futility), 2010.
Cumbrian-based jeweller Adam Paxon presents
one-off pieces of sculptural jewellery that reference nature's
languages of warning and courtship while maintaining a dual
identity both on and off the body.
Moon Young Shin, from South Korea,
creates playful jewellery using silver, pearls, beads and
handcrafted and self-dyed acrylic. Her jewellery attempts to
express paradoxical ideas between the human form and the person
Interpretation essay for Get
Real (pdf 208KB)
Women of Mettle
24 July to 3 October 2010
Away with the Fairies, 2004.Frances Brennan. Photograph
Using mild steel, stainless steel and enamelled copper wire,
Frances Brennan celebrates the unanticipated and
the curious in her contemplative, tangled, spiked and knotted
Kate Samuels transfers two-dimensional
mark-making to metal surfaces using vitreous glass enamels,
sketches and photography to develop themes within her work.
Cathy Miles uses wire and found materials to
create quirky three-dimensional drawings of birds and everyday
objects. She is Musemaker Artist in Residence at the
Guildhall Museum, Rochester creating a new installation The
Toolshed until 31 August.
Libby Day balances traditional and
computer-aided methodology in her work to explore related tensions
in modern culture through mapping the layers of connectivity and
contrast contained within natural and man-made structures.
Surfacing complexity, surfacing simplicity, set of six
objects, gold plated brass, 2010. Libby Day. Photograph
Li-Sheng Cheng’s silverwork is inspired by her
belief that “everything has a life which should be cherished and
Ane Christensen’s work explores the boundaries
between functionality and sculptural form. Vessels, created from
deconstructed sheet metal, echo her interest in the negative spaces
between buildings and architectural decay.
Suzanne Wall’s work is a critique of the
ideologies embodied in silver as a precious historical and
household material. Our expectations of silver objects and their
function are cleverly inverted through playful manipulation of her
1 May to 11 July 2010
This bold and dynamic exhibition of contemporary studio glass,
explores both physical and emotional responses to organic states.
Inspired by the natural world, the work featured explores the cycle
of growth, reproduction and decay, stillness, movement, permanence
and transience through a variety of diverse approaches and
techniques. A series of exciting contrasts are designed
to stir the senses and engage the imagination.
Red and Turquoise relief Vertical, 2009, Rachael Woodman
The glass artists participating in this exhibition are highly
respected makers in their field. Examples of their work are rarely
seen outside specialist galleries. Angela Jarman's
work makes subtle reference to the uncanny and sinister elements in
nature. Ruth Dupré's sculptures contract,
stretch and swell, reflecting her interest in mass, movement and
contemporary dance. Rachael Woodman's
highly-refined forms combine dazzling colour with opaque and
translucent qualities, while Joseph Harrington's
distinctive works are cast from melting ice blocks, capturing and
permanently 'freezing' a moment in time.
The gallery's Craft Case will showcase Stuart
Akroyd's elegant, organic forms, with
their combination of balance, playfulness and skill and
Stehen Gillies' and Kate Jones'
jewel-like blown glass bowls, inspired by the colours and textures
of their rural surroundings in North Yorkshire.
13 February to 25 April 2010
Thread Bare presents four contemporary artist-makers who use
textiles to explore the human condition and gender-related
concerns, relationships between past and present and narratives
constructed around personal and cultural identity.
Craig Fisher's sculptural installations
question representations of violence, disaster and macho
stereotypes. Staged scenes invite the viewer to speculate, as a
voyeur, on the artist's intent, as potentially hazardous objects
are presented as large soft sculptures.
Lucy Brown's work explores female identity
through themes such as beauty, absence and presence of the body,
clothed versus unclothed. Brown meticulously unpicks and
reconstructs second hand and vintage garments to create abstract,
sculptural works, that evoke heightened nostalgic and physical
You are entering a secure zone (installation view), 2008,
Joanne Haywood's bold and eye-catching
jewellery draws upon the conflict of opposites for dramatic effect
- skeletal forms and fleshy volumes, the natural and unnatural and
the interplay of light and shadow.
Contradictions and ambiguities lie at the centre of
Judith Dwyer's work. Embroidery techniques on
luxury fabric are combined with cheap and disposable materials to
create disconcerting, hampered creatures inspired by Indian pathway
icons, pantomime characters and Staffordshire ceramic figures.
Interpretation essay for Thread
Bare (pdf 430KB)
28 November 2009 to 7 February 2010
Coppice examines the work of contemporary artists and makers who
reveal, through their diverse, innovative and experimental
approaches, the intrinsic beauty of wood.
Malcolm Martin and Gaynor
Dowling draw bounding contours and shallow relief,
inspired by land and sea, into oak and lime using basic hand tools.
Tension between form and surface is accentuated by the fall of
light across undulating surfaces and sensual forms. Vessels and
still life compositions blur the boundaries between two and three
Inspired by her training in geography and basketry, Dail
Behennah's work is large in scale and abstract in nature.
A preoccupation with geometric forms, coupled with the effects of
light and shadow, have resulted in hanging installations and
meticulously constructed vessel-based forms.
Wycliffe Stutchbury's compositions reveal
wood's unfashioned beauty, durability and vulnerability, while
respecting and emphasising its origin. Found, fallen, forgotten and
liberated timber is altered to create new narratives.
Award winning designer Anthony Roussel creates
wearable sculpture from layered and compressed plywood inspired by
the epic sweep of the British coastline, repetitive linear patterns
found within rock formations and a passion for modern
Using a range of recycled materials, Sarah
Thirlwell challenges our perceptions of the traditional
craft of woodturning. Old and new, translucent and opaque, natural
and man-made are combined to produce vibrant, tactile and
Interpretation essay for Coppice (pdf
Rochester Art Gallery and Craft Case is located at 95 High
Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1LX