Through the Locking Glass
by Rhiannon Clark
I chose to attend this exhibition because it was a reflection of what local artists experienced through lockdown and so it is very relevant to me. It was also a mixed medium exhibition which gave me the chance to experience art created with different materials which could then inspire my art.
There were 80 Cumbrian artists who created over 160 pieces of art; paintings, printmaking, illustrations, ceramics, sculptures and photography. All the pieces were created during the pandemic lockdown and I saw a range of artworks; paintings, photographs, sculptures.
My first impression was that the layout of the exhibition was well-thought-out. The space was totally accessible for individuals in a wheelchair who could navigate around the whole space without worrying about knocking something over. The space flowed intuitively, but it was easy to move through the sections in any order if there was suddenly a crowd.
The artwork was grouped logically, so photographs of nebulae were displayed next to a watercolour painting of a nebula. A block print of a robin was placed next to a block print of a fox although completed by different artists.
I found that I was drawn to the artwork inspired by nature more than anything else. I live very rurally and getting outside was very important to me during lockdown and during this time nature-inspired my artwork.
There were three photographs of red squirrels taken by Simon Whalley, where he was able to get very focused shots of the animals. The colour was very vibrant and clear. Margaret Shaw’s photographs of fungi also drew my attention as they were very unusual and offered a detailed view.
I was very impressed by the lino print of a robin completed by Liz Jones. In what was a difficult time for people, Liz saw the beauty and vibrancy in nature and this was well reflected in her artwork.
David Boyd’s work really made me think about how I view my painting. David used acrylics to create real snapshots of his life during lockdown. He was fearless in the application of his paint and clearly did not take himself too seriously, something that I need to embrace more as I experiment with acrylics.
I always associate watercolour with soft, dainty naturalistic paintings. Vivenne Pooley, created a huge watercolour nebula using deep dark colours she also used salt to create a textured effect. As I learn to use different mediums I must not get stuck in my way of thinking about how to use them, I must experiment and use them in different ways.
I really enjoyed the exhibition because it was a real insight into the lives of local artists and it allowed me to view a range of mediums side-by-side.
For younger children, the gallery had an art detective activity which my brother enjoyed completing.
A very happy 9-year-old with his completed activity.