neat16 is a four-week-long festival in Nottingham, which allows the city's cultural centres to collaborate across many different art forms.


David Jones: Vision and Memory At Djanogly Gallery, Lakeside Arts

I found this show really inspiring. It's a retrospective of David Jones's works which consists largely of drawings and watercolour painting, but also features typographical etching and wood cuts. The welsh poems were insightful, but I particularly warmed to his use of portraiture and the fact that he drew mainly his friends and family. The first drawing in the show he did when he was just 7 years old - very impressive.

There's a chronological gap between the ages of 28 and 32 years for his next pieces, with the last work in the show being done in his late 60s. The fact that he wasn't encouraged to be an artist also makes the show more intriguing, but it's the talent that the show exhibits that really made this a must-see exhibit. His paintings of landscape and trees seem to animate the subjects, giving them feeling and ambience beyond their stillness. The are really exciting works to see.

Gordon Cheung: Here Be Dragons At Nottingham Castle, Temporary Exhibitions

My favourite room in this exhibit features historical eighteenth-century paintings displayed on light boxes mounted on the walls. But all is not what it seems. If you stand in the room long enough, the historical paintings begin to pixelate and distort, moving closer to techniques that Cheung uses within his own work. It allows you to witness the artistic process and see how Cheung manipulates imagery. The room itself is dimly lit to highlight the work, and I found myself becoming mesmerised by the images appearing and disappearing.

The works in the other galleries use less digital techniques. His works utilise mixed media and painting techniques. I really liked the way the paint was layered on the canvas, becoming tactile and colourful. I feel it needs to be pointed out that this show is not actually about dragons at all. Its title stems to the fantastical 'unknown lands' that Cheung explores in his painted works, whilst also referring to a phrase computer programmers use, within his digital works.

Simon Starling at Backlit Gallery

I was unlucky when visiting this as in I managed to visit when the video was not working. Despite this the exhibition offered a lot of food for thought. The gallery was occupied by various objects that Starling had curated to add new meaning to the space. From 2,000-year-old tree stumps to contemporary furniture, it highlighted the idea that many objects can become art through their placement within a gallery setting, and their curation around a specific theme to give them new meaning.

There also seemed to be a less restrictive access for the public. We were able to get right up close to the objects, they almost encouraged bodily interaction. The dual mirrors exhibited as you enter the building, seemed set up to display and explore a viewpoint of yourself, to connect the viewer to the art.


Mary Strickson

Mary Strickson Contributor

I love writing, blogging and reviewing on Voice and other online publications, covering a range of topics but I especially love the arts, activism, film and theatre. When I am not writing I work as an events photographer and artist/illustrator, as well as running workshops in schools and the community, mostly with young people. I'm also a huge history nerd, have a History BA, Art History MA and work in heritage. I love comics, superheroes and anything sci-fi.

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