REVIEW: Basingstoke Art Club exhibition, Fairfields Arts Centre, until September 29
Those who doubt the talent of our town should attend this exhibition, given that it’s a feast of fantastic art from Basingstoke’s own.
Basingstoke Art Club has organised art classes for its members for an unbelievable 60 years, and they meet in Fairfields, so it is appropriate that they have finally been given the two gallery spaces to display their undeniably accomplished work.
Sandy Kendall’s gorgeous florals burst with colour on the facing wall of gallery one, which also hosts pieces by the renowned Cicely Drewe, three by Brenda Perkins and Sherry Edmondson’s fascinating multilayer monoprints. Texture plays a key role in the work of Ivan Bellchambers, whose Web of Life is a fascinating circular watercolour.
I quite fancied living in the gorgeous cottage captured by Lindsay J Berry’s The Springfield Sundial watercolour, and having a debate with the wary Liz Smith in Character sketch by Anita Leatherby!
Jim Blackford’s fired clay animals are resplendent in the cabinet before you’ll move to admire Arti Chauhan’s work, and feel drawn in by Ron Turrell’s Gossip, in which a young woman peers from behind net curtains, looking at the gathered figures in the street outside. Ron’s oil piece Memories is a charming coastal scene, complete with colourful beach hits and a little red kite.
John White’s pieces took me to a fantastical place, courtesy of the blimp-like craft in Chagall’s Dream and the fantastical building in the watercolour The Castle Near Moon Lake, very different than Jillian White’s naked figure in The Blue Bowl and the brilliant juxtaposition of light and dark in the oil Ashe Park, Winter. Further landscapes are captured by Grace Springthorpe beside the varied pieces of GE Toms, including the evocative See the Horses Dad?
I was also fascinated by the detail in Pauline A Hall’s Shells and Seaweed, in contrast to Shirley Kirsopp’s Reflections 1 and 2, and the paintings and drawings of Ros Morton and Rolland Q Parris, which wonderfully capture the seasons.
And it’s all brought to a stunning conclusion with Bethany Milam’s trio of pieces featuring the agonies and ecstasies of competing gymnasts, their tears, their prayers and their smiles.
It is impossible to view this collection and not be impressed. Well done to all involved for their fantastic demonstration of another element of what cultural Basingstoke has to offer.