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A flowering of original art took root in May this year in the heart of Alston, when a group of seven professional artists from the Alston Moor area of the North Pennines created a new space for exhibiting their work. Now into high summer, they have just completed their second change of exhibits.
The gallery, Alston artspace, is housed in Camelot House, right next to Alston's market cross. In addition to paintings, prints, collages, multimedia work and photographs by the group, guest craftworker Ellie Langley has a range of her unique and distinctive felt work. A huge stock of artists' greeting cards completes the choice on offer.
The group, who call themselves Alston Artists, had previously collaborated by arranging group shows in other established galleries, participating in open studio events, and even organising Alston Art Fair. Now they've seized the opportunity to convert this former shop into a gallery, in a bid to ensure that once again Alston has a permanent space to exhibit contemporary, original art sporting a range of media and processes.
“We are very fortunate to have this opportunity to show together. We feel we're more than the sum of our parts”, said Jules Cadie on behalf of the group. “The 'road to Camelot' may have been a different route for each of us, but we all have a strong empathy for the North Pennines, and we hope that visitors to our gallery will at least take that sense away with them. Obviously we'd be delighted if they go further than that and purchase a card or two, a print, a photograph, or even a painting!”
The work by members of the group is as diverse as their backgrounds.
John Fowler is a painter based in Carrshield, close to Alston, working deep in the North Pennines countryside.
Nicky Neate is a printmaker. The environment and location in which she works has an impact on the outcome of her images. She enjoys contributing to new places whilst simultaneously acquiring a transient view of the culture and traditions that are unique to individual places.
Lionel Playford is a painter who has lived in the North Pennines since 2003 and as an artist feels that he is just beginning to understand the rhythm of life here which is so strongly connected to the seasons and so close to the energy of the atmosphere. He tries to make work that says something about living here in our time.
Jules Cadie’s artwork is based on locations around the North Pennines and Argyll, incorporating naturally-occurring pigments and materials. His investigations include sculpture, installations, digital imagery, exchange events and blogging.
Jane Willis is a painter and printmaker. Her work is often abstract and process-led. Paintings frequently begin with the thought " what will happen if...."
Painter Glynnis Carter draws inspiration for her paintings from the wild landscapes of the North Pennines. Her work is a response to the surrounding hills and moorland, the constantly changing light and weather.
Alan Hayward is a photographer and printer. Patterns, colours and textures observed in nature provide the inspiration for his stunning images.
Alston artspace is open 11am to 5pm Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until the end of August, and Saturdays and Sundays until the end of the year. It's also open on bank holidays. For further details, visit www.alstonartists.co.uk, or contact the group by e-mailing email@example.com