Two weeks ago I visited a new gallery space in the ‘Fargo’ urban development in Far Gosford St. in Coventry.

This truly inclusive ‘Studio 91a’ exhibition was curated by artists Simon Britton and Marta Firkowska, whose studio is the focus of a circle of friends, family, artists and students who share a common love of art.

Diversity of Studio91a show

Diversity of Studio91a show

 

 

The diversity of their work is quite remarkable: satire, social commentary, work from memory and observation, semi-abstraction and total abstraction.

Simon Britton 'To Move in a Direction'

Simon Britton ‘To Move in a Direction’

 

 

Simon and Marta chose some of their own works as object lessons for the group to consider, including Simon’s early multi-media piece, “To Move In a Direction”, which contrasts with one of his highly finished portrait drawings, also on display.

Marta Firkovska 'Devonshire Landscape'

Marta Firkowska ‘Devonshire Landscape’

 

 

 

Marta shows a somber ‘Devonshire Landscape’ , a very dark ‘Self Portrait’, and highly coloured abstractions

 

 

This painting is one of a series of abstracts painted by Ron Clarke.

This painting is one of a series of abstracts painted by Ron Clarke.

 

 

Ron Clarke paints gestural abstractions in low-key colours.

 

 

Colin Dick shows paintings of Roma families he has known, drawn and painted for decades.

This painting has documentary value as a record of a changing way of life.

This painting has documentary value as a record of a changing way of life.

A striking innovation of this show is the use of wall-fixed 15cm high boxes to display small sculptures in their own niches. Alan Satchwell showed a family group in one, and Simon shows small portraits-in-progress in two others.

Left: Alan Satchwell, centre and right, Simon Britton.

Left: Alan Satchwell, centre and right, Simon Britton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alan Satchwell's  Folk Singer, Mother and Child, Sheep,Greek Island

Alan Satchwell’s Folk Singer, Mother and Child, Sheep,Greek Island

Alan Satchwell is an adventurous experimenter in Watercolour, ceramics and collage. One particularly ambitious piece sets outcrops of Greek islands against a royal blue sea/sky.

Elspeth Whiston's 'Hen Night'

Elspeth Whiston’s ‘Hen Night’

Social satire, mentioned above, features in the work of 0f Elspeth Whiston.

It seems the main thread that binds these artists together is friendship: both Ron Clarke and Alan Satchwell have modeled for a series of sculptural studies by Simon Britton.

Henry Britton, Self PortraitAnother link is family. Henry Britton’s precocious ‘A’ Level self portrait already demonstrates the qualities of craftsmanship that later blossomed in his profession of violin maker.

 

Will Britton 'State of Mind no. 1'

Will Britton ‘State of Mind no. 1′

 

 

Will Britton’s visually dynamic ‘State of Mind’ series play with figure and ground puzzles and colour fatigue pyrotechnics.

 

 

 

Helena Firkovska Polish LandscapesMovingly, Marta includes a pair of landscapes of remembered images of Poland by her late mother Helena Firkowska.

The exhibition continues to the end of September.

 

Posted on by Bernard van Lierop | Comments Off

Simon Britton and Marta Firkowska, Coventry

I recently returned to “The Old Bakery” in Coventry and again found a hub of painting, drawing and sculpture made by two artists who have inspired many in their locality to attempt to make art, or to extend their artistic vision by joining one of their classes.

Painting by Marta Firkowska

Painting by Marta Firkowska

The paintings of Marta Firkowska currently on show in the house and studio that she shares with her partner, artist Simon Britton, reveal her as a creative colourist whose brushwork is vigorous while constrained by a close examination of human and natural forms, and also by the careful interplay of abstract forms

Painting by Marta Firkowska

Painting by Marta Firkowska

 

 

 

Sculpture and drawings by Simon Britton in the 'Old Bakery' Studio.

Sculpture and drawings by Simon Britton in the ‘Old Bakery’ Studio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sculptures of Simon Britton follow two complementary traditions: figures and portaits modelled in clay, and construction in wood and found materials.

Construction by Simon Britton

Construction by Simon Britton

In addition, the studio displays many of his semi-abstract drawings, based on human forms and geometric shapes.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Muscular images of the South Wales Coast

This week at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay, I visited Guy Pitt’s exhibition of paintings, drawings and photographs of the South Wales coast and the Severn estuary. Using large-format cameras, one of which he built himself, he distils years of close observation into magnificent contrasty enlargements of quirky sand banks off-shore at low tide, and the rocky bulk of Steepholm island. His drawings and paintings of the coastline are in a mixture of inks, watercolour, gouache and unconventional DIY materials. Often radically abstract, but sometimes painstakingly descriptive, these evoke the map-drawing precision of his father, an army cartographer in the middle east in WWII. One of Pitt’s major passions is drawing the coast at night, by moonlight or on a dark night on the coast of western Barry, working by the light of Cardiff Airport over-spilling from the cliffs at Rhoose. Drawn by moonlight, viewed down a telescope, his images of Steepholm have a visionary quality. Sadly, this exhibition lasted only ten days, but most of the images can still be seen on his website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

September Summer

My main creative work in recent weeks has been making new ‘Headers’ for this website! The ‘September Summer’ weather has been ideal for this, as when a couple stopped to look at the swimmers enjoying the autumnal warmth. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

 

 

 

 On another day the swimmers paused to watch two NATO boats sail away from the Cardiff summit.


On another day the swimmers paused to watch two NATO boats sail away from the Cardiff summit.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

‘Back to the Drawing Board!’

Following feedback from friends and family, I have decided to restructure my website, to focus more on the work, and less on the life! I am very grateful for encouraging comments from artists Natalie d’Arbeloff, Anne Irby Crews and Andy Hulling!

Progress!

Quite recently, I complained to my Web Tutor, Steve Williams, that neither my website nor any of my images were “trawled up” by a Google search of my name! But yesterday (five weeks later) the same search yielded a blizzard, including my three blogs from the past. Two were made for the artists’ group I belong to, VOGA (Vale of Glamorgan Artists). The first, vogaexposed.blogspot.com, is about the group’s 2009 exhibition at the Washington Gallery in Penarth. Each artist presented a work and supporting material about their creative processes. The second, vogadyffryn.blogspot.com is about the group’s 2009-10 residency at Dyffryn Gardens. The third blog, bvanlierop.wordpress.com, promotes a touring exhibition of just my own work that had been inspired by Dyffryn Gardens. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

‘Steady as she goes . . . ‘

I have, I hope, at last devised a Home Page that both welcomes the visitor and gives an accurate summary of the whole website! I have finished the Edith Downing page and finalised the website’s main structure and themes. Now I’m trying to put something on all the main ‘Parent’ pages. This is in preparation for adding more detail on the ‘Child’ and even ‘Grandchild’ pages over the coming months. With my web tutor Steve’s advice, I’ve got my ‘Contact’ Page set up, too! On my Home Page I also put in a link to Natalie d’Arbeloff’s website, as she was a key inspiration for this website. I then emailed her my thanks for blazing a trail for other artists with her multi-themed website. She has just finished cutting over 40 amazing blocks for a poetry book, ‘Trans-Siberian’, to be published by the Old Stile Press. She invited Maggie and me to help her and her friends celebrate at an impromptu exhibition of all the proofs in an upstairs room of a pub in London last week. Sadly, we were needed in Barry on that day, so we had to send her our apologies.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

We’re motoring !!

I had a great tutorial yesterday evening with Computer Consultant Steve Williams! Some of the ‘mysteries’ are beginning to make sense! Thank you Steve!

I have learned how to add new Header images to the ‘appearance’ part of the website machinery . . .  so stand by for some more blustery clouds and rays of sunlight!

I’ve also learned how to put in links. Here is a link to the page I’m working on at the moment: Edith Downing, Suffragette Sculptor . It is now just about finished.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Making some progress!

I have finally written a Home Page that gives a short summary of the whole website! I am having difficulty installing my own images at the top of each page (‘Headers’), and in getting consistent quality with the other photographs! Looking forward to my next lesson with Steve, from ParkIT !

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off