MARGARET Sowerby is the latest artist to exhibit work at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, and surprises with such a wide variety of approach, styles and subject matter.
There’s everything from cream meringues in the foyer to a portrait of musician Rostrapovitch in the lower bar, both oils in colour, while in the upper bar, the mood changes completely with some dramatic black and white work, including portraits of conductors Zubin Mehta and Herbert von Karajan, American president Lyndon Johnson and Soviet dissident Solzhenitsyn.
At Last! goes back a bit further with Virginia Wade triumphantly holding up the Wimbledon tennis trophy.
Margaret’s Madonna is, perhaps surprisingly, a portrait of an ordinary-looking middle-aged woman wearing a fur-collared raincoat and a white headscarf.
Coloured bricks in a wall and a pair of hands are other subjects which the artist can deal with in a characterful way. Unnatural colours are well used in prints of fish and owl. Tigers’ faces also make strong subject matter, while Evolution, showing an open-mouthed ape and an open-mouthed man brings something of a disturbing resemblance.
Pair of Kippers has a bit of ambivalence about it, and leaves you wondering whether the title possibly relates to the rather grisly faces of the two men in the painting as well as the fish they have in front of them.
The show is full of contrasts – there’s a burning car and burning school chairs – and a rear view of a pair of Buddhist monks carrying umbrellas in the rain.
Born in Denby Dale, Margaret Sowerby studied painting and ceramics at Huddersfield School of Art, more recently at Bradford College. She taught art for 34 years in schools in Yorkshire, Singapore and Germany and is a regular exhibitor at Holmfirth Artweek.
She says, “My aim is to produce a body of work on subjects that I care about and have significance for me, to present them in a way which refreshes our experience and questions how we feel and what they stand for”.
The show runs throughout April.
r ANDY Fullalove, of Holmfirth, whose landscapes have an abstract flavour, is currently showing 12 paintings at London University in Islington, which was opened recently by the Duke of York.
He also has an exhibition with Viv Wade at the Artspace Gallery in York. Viv is the daughter of Sir Ernest Hall, of Dean Clough, Halifax, where she was a former press officer.
This exhibition has been arranged and curated by Jake Attree, who recently exhibited at Huddersfield Art Gallery and is writing the foreword for the catalogue.
Following a success last year, Andy will also be showing again this year at the Helen Bray studio in Holmfirth – probably around the end of May or the beginning of June.
r “DISCOVER sculpture in the heart of Leeds” says the latest publicity leaflet from the Henry Moore Institute, in the Headrow.
But got there at present and you will not see any sculptures by famous artists, or even not-so-famous ones. All you will see are carefully pencilled rectangles, of different sizes, on the walls.
These are the work of Alan Johnston, whose exhibition titled Drawing A Shadow: No Object runs until May 2.
Apparently, one of the ideas of the drawings is to bring a new perspective to the galleries’ architecture, but as you might expect, this is proving a controversial show.
“Comments in the visitors book have ranged from the perplexed to the downright hostile”, one of the enthusiastic information assistants told me. The reason he was enthusiastic, I think, is because a lot more visitors than usual have been putting questions to the assistants about what they are seeing.
An Edinburgh-based artist, Johnson has undertaken drawing projects in several countries, and there’s really no doubt about the skills he has used in Leeds.
But it would be difficult to recommend Examiner readers to take a trip over to Leeds simply to see this exhibition which might proved frustrating to the average visitor.
However, anyone visiting Leeds Art Gallery, next door to the Institute, could pop in, just for curiosity’s sake.