Art Review: Exeter Art Soc’s “Your Scape”

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The Art Society’s Your Scape exhibition is being held currently at the Exeter Phoenix; the paintings hang on The Walkway, next to the café. There were several striking pieces from amongst the collection.

An array of styles and mediums confirmed the individuality of every artist. Where some chose classic waterscape, like Sarah Harrington’s “Monet’s Garden”, which was done on canvas in textured acrylics, others chose to go in the direction of drypoint etching.

The aim of the exhibition was to explore space and environment, both of which were represented in unique ways across the body of work on display. Steph Franklin-Burns’ “Untitled 1 and 2” is striking as the eye immediately goes to the rift in the board between the images. The forest is divided by the three dimensional cut, which could possibly be a representation of a tree, but the physical nonexistence of the missing piece in this work plays on the sense of area by disconcerting the viewer.

A similar effect is accomplished by Stephanie Bates’ painting of a cyclist spinning over steps- “Untitled”. The watercolor and ink painting achieves a nostalgic tint with the use of distilled light in the corners. The three silhouettes can be interpreted as three separate cyclists or can be seen as the trajectory of a singular cyclist spinning through the air. The focus here is centered; the space is stretched on the sides, the buildings appear to be moving, almost refracted like they are being looked at through a glass of water. On the right side, the steps appear larger and have shadows beneath them, further curving the image and giving it a convex appearance that draws importance to the center.

Isaac Mount’s watercolor and ink paintings, “City Series 1 and 2”, takes the theme and turns it into a dystopian vision where man is reduced to the size of an insect and the trees reach proportions that are left to the imagination. The first one takes space and fills it with discreet motion; miniscule human figures are working throughout the painting, walking, even waving. The branches of the trees begin at the bottom of the image but continue far beyond. Mount’s use of turquoise works to give the painting an eerie quality that separates it from a space the viewer may be familiar with.

Other works included Jorunn Joiner’s geometric acrylic on canvas, “The Forum”, and Katie Hollsinhead’s “Piccadilly”, reminiscent of a 1930’s postcard London. The exhibition shows innovation, technique, craft, and passion; I encourage everybody who has not yet gone to go and see the exhibit.

Farda Ali Khan

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