For many, 2012 has only just got going – but for some of the resident artists at The School Creative Centre in Rye, January is already proving to be extremely busy.
Painter and printmaker Paula MacArthur has been resident at the School for just over a year. Having enjoyed early success winning the prestigious John Player Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery in 1989, she continued her studies at The Royal Academy Schools in London. Shortly after completing them, Paula was a prizewinner at the acclaimed John Moores Biennial at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. Since then she has continued to exhibit both nationally and internationally and has work in several permanent collections at the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, Baron and Baroness Von Oppenheim and Ted Baker Ltd.
In recent years Paula’s work has matured into an increasingly painterly and intensely colourful style, while retaining all the dexterous qualities of her early academic and naturalistic draughtsmanship. Her current work focuses on single objects – sometimes a museum piece, a domestic object, a shop sign or one of the items on sale inside. These are taken out of their usual context to be scrutinised in isolation by the viewer through the filter of the artist’s subjective eye. Her work is heavily influenced by both British and American Pop Art, commercial signage, advertising and all Americana. Works range from large-scale painterly canvases to smaller, more graphic silkscreens and etchings. Artswipe London has just published a small, affordable edition of 24 silkscreens of Paula’s ‘Fluorescent Love’ silkscreen in fluorescent pink and blue.
Her latest work is currently being displayed as part of The Perfect Nude exhibition at the Wimbledon College of Art, from 13 Jan-10 Feb. “The painting is my idea of how a perfect nude might appear,” she explains. “The figure is a transcription from the male nude in Richard Hamilton’s ‘Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?’, but I have also taken inspiration from artists as diverse as Carravaggio, Warhol & Freud.”
She continues: “Although my current practice never draws upon the human figure, life drawing has always remained a necessity throughout my career; a meditative process which sharpens the coordination between eye and hand, and allows a clearer focus of ideas. My return to figure painting for this exhibition has allowed me to bring together current sensibilities and past preoccupations, and the whole process has become an evaluation of my journey as a painter.”
Jewelers Grant Braithwaite and Wendy-Sarah Pacey have both contributed work for a collaborative piece to be exhibited at the Electrum Gallery, London 13 Jan-3 March, in conjunction with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) for their Mending Broken Hearts appeal. The specially made necklace, based on the surrealist parlour game Exquisite Corpse, includes work from eight artists working in a variety of media including linen, silk, steel, staples and glue, and will be auctioned at the BHF’s Tunnel of Love event at the Proud Galleries, London on 29 May 2012.
For award-winning artist Nick Archer, January is all about the London Art Fair. The event presents works from more than 100 galleries and features the great names of 20th-century British art as well as exceptional contemporary work from leading figures and emerging talent. Nick will be represented at the art fair by Long and Ryle. He will also be taking works to the Paris Art Fair in March – the springtime fair for modern and contemporary art.
2012 also heralds the arrival of some new residents for The School: award-winning artist Peter Burgess, painter and art therapist Fiona Gilmore, photographer Christopher King, who was the Tower of London’s first artist/photographer in residence, installation and performance artist Erin Veness, and arts marketing and promotion business the Pure Arts Group.
For more information on all the resident artists at The School, special events, workshops and exhibitions go to www.theschoolcreativecentre.co.uk