Steyning artists combine for Shoreham show

Work by Carol Wagstaff
Work by Carol Wagstaff

Artists Carol Wagstaff, Andie Armstrong and Caroline Darke, all members of Steyning Arts, last year formed a small group to chat about the vagaries and complexities of the art world which in turn led to their decision to exhibit together.

Approaching the Skyway Gallery at the Shoreham Centre, they were met with effusive support from artist curator Angela Edwards.

Now one year on the trio are ready to launch their exhibition A Collaboration of Works, running until September 28.

As Carol says, the artists, although with very varying backgrounds in their artistic journeys, enjoy a shared passion in subject matter, and underpinning all of their work is their commitment to drawing. On show at Skyway will be a cross section of their works encompassing abstract landscapes from Caroline, portraits in painting and sculpture and semi-abstract landscapes from Andie, and Carol will be showing a variety of works from various periods up to the present. There will be drawings from all.

As Carol says: “Caroline works as a multi-media landscape artist. She is drawn to landscapes both at home and abroad and that reflect the changes to her subject made by the weather, the seasons and man. By using layers, colour, collage and texture to re-enact the subtleties to the landscape or seascape she applies the same energy to her work as by those changes given in the natural. To engage with Caroline’s work as it entwines its way into your psyche with her quiet restrained palette, her calligraphic energetic freely expressed marks, one is reminded of the work of the American artist Cy Twombly. Any hint at the subject, often by working from memory, frees her from the constraints of being prescriptive.

“Caroline’s work is imbued and inspired by her many beautifully recorded sketchbook walks and observations. You can almost feel the wind as she weaves her way across the canvas suggesting the landmarks and undulations of the landscape experienced on her journey. The energy she derives from her given subject and environment is tangible on the surface of her work and is at once both emotional and vibrant yet by working from memory frees her from the constraints of being prescriptive. “

“Andie Armstrong’s recent work and interest in exploring the portrait has taken her on a journey from a background in botanical watercolours to an investigation of the people in her life and beyond as she transposes her meticulous observations of the plant world to the features of her human subjects expertly capturing the essence and spirit of the sitter. Earlier this year moving her creative abilities in another direction, Andie embarked on a course of 3D sculptural portraits completing a clay bust, now cast in bronze, which will be on display at the exhibition.

“Also on show will be a recent series of seven paintings produced over a six week period from mid-July to the end of August, during which time the hottest ever temperatures were recorded in the UK. Two areas were chosen, the Adur Valley within a walking distance of her home and the Knepp Estate a short distance away.

“Taking inspiration from and depicting the varied industrial and rural landmarks enclosed by the South Downs National Park, views were sketched and photographed during early morning walks, and the paintings were later completed in her studio. Within one hours’ walk from her home can be seen the remains of the Norman Bramber Castle, the crumbling and abandoned buildings of the Beeding Portland Cement Company, the imposing chapel of Lancing College and the prehistoric hill fort of Chanctonbury Ring.”

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