March’s Featured Friend – Harry Bell

Harry Bell by his work in the Friends Summer Exhibition 2019

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your passion for art:
I was born in 1947 and brought up in Gateshead, where I still live.

I’ve always drawn since the time I walked off with an assistant’s pencil stub from the Co-op when I was four and my Dad showed me how to draw cartoon spiders. My route to painting, however, was circuitous, involving several years detour into cartooning for the world of science fiction fanzines (I was Fan Guest of Honour at the World Science Fiction Convention in 1979).

In 1989 I began seriously to paint and, taking early retirement from the Civil Service in 1997, I began a BA (Hons) Fine Art course at Newcastle University, graduating in 2001. I’ve been a professional painter since then.

Can you tell us more about the artwork featured on the title page?
The paintings in the photograph are part of an occasional series based on found still life subjects. I love the careful, but often random arrangements of shoes, hats, bags and other holiday items set out in front of shops and stalls abroad. Given the chance, I like to draw them in my sketchbook (I’ve drawn an awful lot of rows of jars and cans in the Grainger Market) but usually this isn’t possible in the hot sun and busy streets where I find the stalls, so I rely on the photographs I have taken.

At home, I edit the photographs until I’m happy with the composition and even then, the painting itself will determine how closely I follow the original [photographic] source.

Are there any events/exhibitions upcoming that you’re particularly excited about?
I wish I could say so, but at the moment, apart from one or two regular club shows, I have no exhibitions lined up. I’m always on the lookout for opportunities but haven’t been very proactive in this respect in recent years.

Must do better!

What are you currently working on/planning to work on?
I’ve always been fascinated by the effects of time on surfaces, and a few months ago I began painting a series of paintings based on old doors I’ve photographed round the Mediterranean over the years.

I love the distressed paint work, rusted locks and handles of these doors, and using collage and acrylic gels has allowed me to work with the textures and relatively abstract compositions of the subject. From doors, I’ve moved on to walls with torn posters and broken brickwork and most recently, some parcels wrapped in crumpled brown paper.

Unwrapping John Piper by Harry BellUnwrapping John Piper – Mixed media on board, 30×30 cm

Who is your favourite artist and/or what is your favourite art movement?
I wrote my Dissertation on Graham Sutherland and his Pembrokeshire Landscapes and I’ve always loved the Neo-Romantic painters from Paul Nash to John Piper, John Minton, John Craxton and Keith Vaughan.

Someone once said that the ghost of Edward Hopper was sit ting on my shoulder because of my urban landscapes, and I have to say that I’ve never found him a heavy burden. But also across the Atlantic is Wayne Thiebaud, probably the greatest realist painter in the US. At 100 years of age, it’s astonishing that he’s never had a major exhibition in this country. I owe my interest in rows of hats and bags to his series of paintings of pies and cakes.

When did you become a Friend of the Hatton Gallery and why?
I was a Friend for quite some years in the late 80s and early 90s, but lapsed, probably ironically when I went to University. I always found the social events, workshops, weekends away at Ford Castle and the opportunity to show my work in the main galleries (despite the dreadful lighting!) great fun.

I’ve yet to recapture that feeling since I rejoined [two? three?] years ago, mainly because of pressure on my available time.

What is your favourite part of being a Friend of the Hatton Gallery?
Because, as I’ve said, I have limited time available, I’ve not been able to take part in many of FoTH’s events, but I do still enjoy the opportunity to show work, even in the limited space now granted to us, and the chance to meet other members at the preview.

You can see more of Stuart’s work on his website.

If you would like to  be our Featured Friend in a future issue , please email Tomke at FotHevents@gmail.com

Printmaking workshops at the Hatton

Over four Saturdays form late November to early February a number of eager printmakers took part in workshops run by Caroline Coode and myself (Vhairi Cardinal). Some had brought work in progress to print from, others were complete beginners and came in some trepidation. All produced beautiful work along the way and can be rightfully proud of their achievements. This time we introduced screen printing for the first time and some participants found the process rather challenging, but persevered to produce prints on paper and on fabric.

Silkscreen print on a tote bag
Screen print on fabric by a more expereinced printmaker
IMG_4757
Tri-coloured screenprint by a
novice printmaker

Other techniques explored were collagraph (tutored by collagraph queen Caroline), lino cut and engraving on acetate. Some participants brought engraved plates they had made at other workshops.

Different techniques produce different effects.

We are planning to have more workshops in the not too distant future. If you would like to have a go as a beginner, or to develop your practice as an experienced printmaker, we’d love to welcome you to our workshops. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for early announcements.

The cost is not great – currently £20 per day – much less than a day at any other print studio. Come along and spend an enjoyable day with friends and learn, produce and achieve super prints.

Talk by Dr Mike Collier, The Dawn Chorus – Tuesday 31st March

Tuesday, 31st March, Nibbles 6 pm talk 6.30 to 7.30 pm,
Seminar Room, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Mike is Professor of Visual Art, University of Sunderland and will talk in conversation with composer and musician Dr Bennett Hogg about their ongoing project with master printmaker Alex Charrington, and Natural History Sound Recordist Geoff Sample.

Together they have been developing work that explores the relationship between the natural world, its specific cultures and cultural ecologies and our own sense of culture/s. In particular, they have embarked on a three-year study of a dawn chorus in Northumberland representing their research variously as digitally manipulated sonograms and musical transcriptions.

The idea of the ‘dawn chorus’ vies with nightingales song as the aspect of birdsong most engaging to the general public.

Although the established understanding of birdsong is rooted on the premise that each singing bird is only, or predominately, concerned with intra-specific communication, listening to the mass of birds singing at dawn we intuitively describe the phenomenon as a chorus. However, new analysis of the whole auditory scene suggests inter-specific structure as well, giving rise to the ‘chorus’ impression, rather than random cacophony. This is the ‘area’ that our project specifically focuses on.

Contemporary understandings of the relationships of humans to a ‘more-than-human-world’ have begun to move away from a ‘preservation’ model to one of ‘sustainability’ and we now recognise the inescapable interdependence of humans and their environments, a model that sees humans as participant members of a world rather than its users. This project links the Arts and the Environmental Sciences, human expression and bird communication in a collaboration, exploring ways of presenting and re-imagining our complex, embodied and participatory engagement with a particular aspect of local ecosystems – a dawn chorus.

For a place please email Josephinecousin@googlemail.com.

Talk by artist Ruth Bond – Tuesday 21st April

Outer Hebrides and Northumberland captured in oils – a journey of colour

Tuesday 21st April, Nibbles 6 pm – talk 6.30 to 7.30 pm,
Seminar Room, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Born under African skies, Ruth Bond has worked in many countries across the globe, absorbing cultures, colours, textures and especially the beauty of the natural world. Ruth studied Fashion at Newcastle University and then went on to become a multi-award winning Interior Designer. Now, the light and subtle colours of the Northumberland countryside infuse her painting of some of the most dramatic skies and strikingly beautiful beaches in the world.

Ruth’s recent work reflects her visit to the Outer Hebrides. She realised that the colours of the landscape reminded her of the colour combination of renowned Harris Tweeds. As a result, the landscapes resemble not just the purple, peaty rivers, vibrant turquoise of the seas, blindingly white beaches and heathery moors, but also the natural ingredients that went into dying the yarns.

“Colour has always been the most important element of my landscapes and seascapes. The colours I discovered in the Outer Hebrides were astonishing. Attempting to capture these in my paintings has been a beautiful experience.”

Trips to the Farne Islands during the spring nesting season, where the quirky and flamboyant Puffins caught her eye, inspired a painting that was shortlisted for the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year 2019 at the Mall Galleries, London.

Ruth’s talk will take us through her personal journey from a career in fashion and interior design to the joys of painting with oil, inspired by the seascapes of the Western Isles and Northumberland.

For a place please email Josephinecousin@googlemail.com.

Dates for your diary – Spring 2020

Further details of the following events and talks will appear in the next bulletin issue.

In the meantime, please make a note in your diary where appropriate.


FotH Annual General Meeting 2020

Saturday 18th April 10.00 – 12.30. Learning Room at the Gallery.

The agenda and programme are on pages 5 & 6 of this issue. While it is not necessary to book for the AGM, please let us know if you wish to stay for a complementary lunch afterwards (about 12.30pm).


Summer Exhibition 2020

Looking ahead we are again planning to arrange for our annual Members Summer Exhibition which will take place in July/August.  Full details with entry forms etc. will be included in the May bulletin.


Booking forms and further details will be available in the September bulletin.

What’s on at the Gallery? Spring 2020

Illuminating the Self

Illuminating the Self

Featuring original work by Susan Aldworth and Andrew Carnie it is a response to ground-breaking research led by Newcastle University into developing a new treatment for epilepsy.

Themes within the two exhibitions include the human perspective of living with epilepsy and the potential impact of technological interventions within the brain. Until 9 May 2020

Origins & Endings
This exhibition brings together the work of an artist and a musician who have collaborated with PEALS academics and scientists.

The works align with the current interest in the Medical Humanities, and the relationship between bioethics and arts practice as a medium for research and engagement. The exhibition features works by musician Mark Carroll and artist Marianne Wilde. Until 7 March 2020

Heather Ross: The Losses

This exhibition is the culmination of Heather Ross’s practice- based PhD research into the work of artist Kurt Schwitters, specifically focusing on his Merz Barn Wall.

The Losses refers to a term used in conservator’s reports, to describe the ephemera (or fragments) which have been detached or become displaced from the original artwork. Until 9 May 2020

Kurt Schwitters’
Merz Barn Wall

The Merz Barn Wall is one of the UK’s international art treasures and is on permanent display at the Hatton Gallery.

As part of the redevelopment of the Hatton, Schwitters’ Merz Barn Wall underwent essential conservation and is now presented alongside new interpretation.

On permanent display

 

 

 

Hatton Gallery Opening Times: Monday to Saturday. 10am to 5pm

What’s on locally March/April 2020

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

Judy Chicago, until 19th April 2020

Animalesque / Art Across Species and Beings (group exhibition), until 19th April 2020

Bringing together an outstanding selection of artworks that invite visitors to rethink the human position in the world.

 

The Laing Gallery

William and Evelyn De Morgan: ‘Two of the Rarest Spirits of the Age’
14 March to 20 June 2020

Chris Killip: The Last Ships, gallery reopens soon, check with the gallery for details.

 

Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, National Glass Centre, Sunderland

Simon Martin, until 29th March 2020

Simon Martin’s work is in the permanent collections at the Tate and the Dallas Museum amongst other international institutions.  His works have been described by the New York Times as “masterpieces of poetic discretion”.

Chad McCail: Toy, until 19th April 2020

The artist Chad McCail has spent 3 years developing a single monumental new work specially for the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art.  This exhibition presents an enormous 3 dimensional cityscape that fills the entire gallery.

 

The Biscuit Factory

Spring show, from 7th March 2020

headlined by the Contemporary Young Artist Award 2020 – an exhibition featuring the work of 45 artists, shortlisted from over 1200 submissions.

 

Side Photographic Gallery

Rena Effendi – Waiting for Winter,
until 5th April 2020

Effendi’s work focuses on themes of environment, post-conflict society, the effects of oil industry on people and social disparity.

Tessa Bunny, until 5th April 2020

For 25 years Tessa has photographed rural life, working closely with individuals and communities to investigate how the landscape is shaped by humans.

 

Oriental Museum, Durham

Pushing Paper: Contemporary Drawing from 1970 to now, until 17th May 2020

A British Museum touring exhibition illustrating how artists experiment with the power of paper to express their ideas pushing the medium in new directions.

Season’s Greetings…

… and the best of wishes for 2020

Welcome to the Friends’ bulletin for December and January 2020.

This issue includes an article on fellow Friend and “plein air” artist Stuart Jones. If you would like to be our “Featured Friend” in a future bulletin, drop us a line and we’ll send you our questionnaire, FotHevents@gmail.com.

We have included a profile of local artist Mike Collier along with two reviews of a talk, which the Northumbrian Milliner Margaret Woodliff Wright gave in November.

We have included details of up and coming talks and events, “What’s on” at the Hatton Gallery and also at other local venues.

As always, the committee appreciate members’ views and comments. If any member wishes to include an article in a future bulletin please contact the Secretary,  Richard Thompson.