Katayoun Dowlatshahi is an artist, printmaker and fine art photographer with 27 years of experience in the field of public art, lecturing, mentoring and strategic development work. She has pioneered Carbon Prints that are enormously difficult, time consuming and expensive to make but no other pigment-based process can produce blacks and depth of shadows as dark as the carbon process. Another highly sought-after characteristic of the medium is the depth of the pigmented gelatin layers that render the image with a subtle relief.
Artist statement about the Contemplations Series
This an ongoing series of images that are inspired by my garden in Norfolk. These are intimate and self-reflexive portrayals of nature. Connection to memories, delightful discoveries, opportune moments, study of and meditations on the natural world around me are reflected in my choice of subject and compositions. These works evoke a North European tradition of the ‘Vanitas’ still life and conversely contemporary representations of birth, death and life.
Roger Hardy’s sculpture is figurative, made from reclaimed wood, metal and with clay additions, configured to create the human or animal form. His figures represent individuals of all types, either single figures or assembled in groups resembling nomadic tribesman. The starting point for his creative process begins with natural erosion and seasoning of his wooden component parts, often in the local river, the Alde.
As Hardy says himself: “The estuaries and coastline of Suffolk has been my source of inspiration for several years. Whether it is searching at low tide for wood, worn by time and tide or collecting fragments from the boat yards, these found elements are relics of a history and time gone by. Using found river and sea wood in sculpture which has a previous life and a story to tell. Strangely most of my finds have human characteristics worn into them by nature. I like to work with the timeless quality of the sculptures. They seem to have a soul/life becoming an icon of humanity. This aspect fascinates me”.
John Kiki has lived and worked in Great Yarmouth for the past 50 years and has developed a rich figurative language that encompasses a fluid abstraction alongside a changing cast of characters borrowed from Greek mythology, history genre paintings, and his own observations of how people interact in daily life. John Kiki's long career has included exhibitions in museums and galleries such as the Royal Academy, Tate, Hayward Gallery, Barbican Gallery, and Serpentine Gallery in London; OK Harris Gallery in Soho, New York, and Galerie Wahrenberger in Zurich. The influences on his work are many and varied. There are elements of Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon, Matisse, de Kooning, Baselitz, and Picasso.
“John Kiki is a very unusual artist. Unusual, not for his clear and immediately recognizable way of painting, but because he emerged, painting in his distinctive way, when he left art school fifty years ago.” John Kiki: Fifty Years in the Figurative Fold by Keith Roberts
Rachael Long makes large-scale sculpture of animals and birds, using steel and redundant farm machine parts. The alchemical transformation of cold hard metal into a fluid animated creature is what interests Rachael. She graduated in History of Modern Art BA in 1990. An award-winning artist with successful public commissions across the UK including Lifeboat Horse at Wells-Next-To-The-Sea, she has work in collections based in France, Austria, New Zealand, and the US. Rachael says: "For me stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact. This is what I hope to translate into three-dimensional work. On an intuitive level visual imagery holds yet deeper and more valuable truths through non-verbal communication. My choice of the natural world as subject matter developed from my farming background and living in a remote part of Scotland. Working in forged and recycled steel I have found a way to draw with the materials, aiming to capture movement and strength in the animals I portray. ”
Jessica Perry trained at Norwich School of Art (B.A. Fine Art, London, exhibiting paintings and sculpture in group and solo shows. She is a resourceful and inventive artist whose personal narrative combines humour and idiosyncratic detail in closely-worked miniature drawings. Focusing on the hidden imaginary worlds of underground creatures has given rise to Jessica’s ‘WeatherMole’: an ongoing, wry visual commentary observed from the perspective of the common-or-garden mole, vole, snail or slug. A brief, sardonic paragraph accompanies each drawing in the form of an abbreviated and adapted local weather forecast (lifted from the localized BBC forecast for her area).
Over the years, Jessica has led a wide range of hands-on art projects in outdoor settings and in the classroom, working with groups of all ages and abilities, combining her broad knowledge of traditional processes with recycled and natural materials. This has included collaborations with other artists on art in the landscape working along the Norfolk coast, using simple raw materials such as soot, chalk and sand to create powerful visual images that address coastal erosion and climate change. Large-scale public commissions include wire-art assemblage pictures in the permanent collection at the N & N hospital in Norwich, and as East Anglia's leading instructor in earth oven building, she has hand-built many sculptural clay ovens as large, functional features in gardens and community spaces.
Emily Mayer began her immersion in the natural world as a youngster drawing the tiny, perfectly preserved bodies of dead field mice on the kitchen table. She spent many years in the UK and the USA learning traditional and ‘cutting edge’ taxidermy techniques that proved to be an unorthodox route into complimenting her activities as an artist and model maker. In 1986 Emily attended Norwich School of Art (Norwich University of the Arts) studying Fine Art Sculpture BA (Hons).
The disarmingly life-like quality of Emily’s taxidermy preceded that of artists like Damien Hirst and Dorothy Cross. She moved the creative potential for taxidermy beyond the baggy and balding specimens that populated the display cases of regional museums, introducing taxidermy to sculptural production and changing perceptions of what ‘natural’ could be in sculpture. For this reason, other artists came to her seeking her expertise as she carved out a parallel career fabricating sculptures, honing her skills on larger animals and developing extraordinary techniques like erosion moulding. The animal carcasses she has used are usually donated or ethically sourced.
Emily’s displays are composed with the spirit of the animal in mind, her approach avoids compromising a subject’s integrity.
“It is the attentiveness of the naturalist as much as the technique of the craftsman that she brings to her work.” Catalogue essay on Emily Mayer by Rachel Campbell-Johnson.
Rosie Philips is a self-taught portrait painter, she has worked to commission, spending time teaching herself traditional methods and how to achieve a sense of realism. Portraiture is highly competitive as a genre and difficult to make a name for yourself in when young, like she is. So she has done well to get her work featured in an episode of the prestigious Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year competition. Rosie has managed to introduce something new to what can be a rather staid area of art, toying with texture, composition, and colour, leaning into the creative potential of experiments and chance marks. Attention to detail and achieving a likeness is really important to her, time and time again she finds herself inspired by the people and animals around her. Most of her sitters have been people that she knows and is close to. This has allowed Rosie to communicate expressions and relationships that feel both specific and universal. She strives to convey a sense of narrative and personal flair. She thinks it’s fun to get people treasuring and re-remembering certain moments from their own lives:
"Some stories I would have never heard if it wasn’t for my paintings. I want to encourage people from all walks of life to see the magic in these ‘in-between’ moments". Rosie Philips
Colin Self was born in Norfolk, studied at Norwich School of Art and attended the Royal College of Art (RCA) in the early sixties. Self is one of the leading protagonists of the British Pop Art movement that he helped start in the early 1960s. His clever, irreverent drawings have been sort after ever since. He began his training in the visual arts while a boy at school at Wymondham College, Norfolk. He grew up in rural Norfolk near Norwich. He honed his creative skills by attending Norwich Art School (Norwich University of The Arts, NUA) and the Slade School of Art in London (UCL). He achieved success early coinciding with graduation, becoming one of British Pop Art’s finest exponents. He has remained true to his Pop roots and sees potential in the everyday objects that surround us. His work is fresh, immediate, and frequently delivered with a punchline.
His take on popular culture was different from that of his contemporaries. Colin developed a more political approach to his art that has set it apart. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) was in its infancy in the early 60s, the threat of impending nuclear war ensured Colin identified with the movement’s anti-nuclear stance. His drawings and anti-war collages from this period share German anti-Nazi propaganda artist, John Heartfield’s attacking approach.
Colin calls himself a ‘hunter’, seeking out connections between objects he has selected out from the detritus of mass consumption.
Louise Richardson is a multidisciplinary artist working in mixed media sculpture, textiles and photography. She studied art at the Norwich School of Art and Design where she obtained a Fine Art BA (painting) in 1992 followed by a Fine Art MA (multi-disciplinary) in 1995. Previously represented by Robert Sandelson Gallery, London she has shown nationally and internationally and her work is held in many private and public collections. She lives and works in Norwich.
‘My work has evolved from a process of discovery and investigation, collecting and eliminating ideas and materials enabling me to build up a library of resources to draw upon for each new piece of work. I am currently looking at the idea of memory and identity, bringing universal messages to the viewer, through the portrayal of objects in my own memory. The diversity of materials within my work – both found and processed – gives me the opportunity and freedom to invent metaphors which run parallel with the subject matter.’
Nessie Stonebridge’s work resembles some sort of mid-air collision or interstellar explosion, with a palpable centrifugal energy at the heart of her paintings, sculptures and drawings. Often small in scale, they nevertheless explode beyond their boundaries - their vectors suggestively reaching out beyond their pictorial edges into the gallery space. Her works draws inspiration from the bucolic, of wild and wind-battered Norfolk, where she now has her studio.
At the heart of her work are a fury of beaks, encircled by fanlike, semi-abstracted wings. The result is an aviary of attack and defence, intimating the basic fight-or-flight behaviour of even the most diminutive of birds. Beyond their avian references, these images are impressive for their counterpoising of formal elements. The gestural brilliance of her mark-making - her paint is scored and splattered with a palette knife, brush or by hand - is contained within a deliberate and considered structural vortex.
“I see the transformation from painting to sculpture, especially using clay, as a natural progression in my work. Using clay in its raw state allows for an immediate response that captures the energy and emotions of my encounter into a solid form.” Nessie Stonebridge