TWO contrasting sides of Yorkshire – its green and pleasant countryside and its gritty old towns and millscapes – are on view at an excellent exhibition at the Harrison Lord Gallery, Brighouse.
The show is appropriately titled Yorkshire, The Green and the Grit, and the two artists involved, Andrew Jenkin and Catherine McGrath, both deserve commendation for their very different work.
Andrew, a watercolourist and formerly head tutor at the North Light Gallery Art School, Armitage Bridge, has painted some splendid canalside scenes. Summers’ Day, Elland, for instance, takes a serene look at the waterway, with strong perspective, lovely soft greens and lighting.
In Canalside House, the treatment is more splashy and the watery reflections are deliciously atmospheric.
Mill, Slaithwaite, is another composition worth mentioning – a familiar scene to towpath walkers like myself in this area.
Slaithwaite from Bolster Moor is a wide landscape, taking in hills, town and radio mast, with fine lighting and perspective.
The artist also gives us Bolster Moor from Scapegoat Hill, with the Holme Moss mast creeping up in the background.
On a completely different tack are his architectural studies, like Sugden’s Mill, Brighouse, a familiar landmark, and Halifax from Bank Top – a wonderfully detailed view with a plethora of buildings from the modernist Building Society through to the old Square Chapel.
In his detailed painting of the centuries-old Oakwell Hall, Birstall, both stonework and windows are handled with equal skill.
Where Catherine McGrath is concerned, it’s not the pretty pretty side of the region that concerns her, but the industrial heritage of mills, terraced houses, and corner fish and chip shops.
In her large Allotment Triptych, we see the long lines of old stone houses with a railway viaduct in the background to add to the gritty, industrial feel of the landscape.
Catherine, who took early retirement from her career as a languages lecturer to concentrate on her art, uses acrylics and mixed media, building up admirable textures for her paintings, like On the Back Lane, where washing hangs out on the clothes lines, and Mills, where the factories are tiered up with their tall chimneys.
She is not afraid to use unnatural colours for good effects, for instance in Telephone Box, where the old red kiosk is not the only colourful bit to draw our attention.
Other works include a deep study of Castle Hill, again using unnatural colour and a still life, Coffee Pot Green/Cream which shows admirable skill in the handling of colour and texture.
Two nice human portrait pieces are A Bag of Chips and A Pint and a Bag of Chips.
The exhibition runs Monday to Saturday till July 23.