FOUR artists from ‘over the hill’ in Lancashire are showing their excellent work in an exhibition at the AC Gallery, Bryam Street, Huddersfield, where they have been joined by sculptor Jean Fenton, giving the show the title The Gang of Four Plus One.
Russell Howarth paints in a muted colour range, but his pictures are sharp-edged and the subject matter is handled in highly atmospheric fashion.
His pieces include The Square, Dobcross, with its unique vintage street lamp, Disused Cottage and a complex composition including the well-known Saddleworth railway viaduct.
In his painting of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Greenfield, he gets his desired effect with the absolute stillness of the water and surroundings.
Steve Capper is also a landscape painter, but in a different, stylised manner.
He used unnatural shape and colours to good effect, like the turquoise and blue tress and the red hills in paintings such as The Outcrop and Valley Farm, where, for added effect, the paint is thinly applied.
Even more stylised are the works of Kevin Haynes, which have a Lowry-like feel to them, though not composed in a Lowry-like fashion.
As with Lowry, there’s an impersonality to the figures and the men in Top Street and Off To The Dance all have the same expressionless faces underneath their flat caps.
The artist used bright primary colours, but there’s a distinctly nostalgic flavour in the work, as in the pictures including the old Cairo mill, workers and war memorial.
In contrast to the narrative paintings, there’s a large and powerful portrait of Amy, who looks like a no-nonsense type of girl.
Peter Stanaway’s paintings are figurative, but verging towards abstraction. Strong colours are evident here in pictures like Doctor Lane, Saddleworth, Fisherman at Seahouses and Welsh Mountain Village.
Jean Fenton’s sculptures are a nice foil for the four painters and certainly leave a good impression.
There is some solid work here – solid being the operative word in Just Relaxing (white ceramic) for instance, where the man has huge legs and arms in proportion to the rest of the body.
The same thing applies to the woman in a terracotta work, Deep in thought.
The sculptor’s Lovers (ceramic) are in an appropriately sensual embrace.
The mother in Mother and Child (ceramic is huge in form, almost reminiscent of a Henry Moore, while Abstract Seated Form, with its fine curves, has the feel of a Barbara Hepworth.
The exhibition runs until May 14.