CELEBRATING Terrington’s link with the botanical world is the latest theme at the Back o’ the Shop Art Cafe in the village.
After four years of predominantly solo artist shows, the gallery is starting a programme of thematic curated group shows, which begin in March with the botanically-inspired show, Bloom.
“At a rather apt time of year after a hard, cold winter, Bloom brings an early start to spring and the colour of the new season,” said Shelley Hughes, who is curating the show.
“With artists working in a variety of media to explore these organic floral forms, the show moves from the disciplined classical botanical illustration to vibrant contemporary stained glass and delicate leaf forms captured in silver clay.
“Not many people know that Richard Spruce, one of the greatest Victorian botanical explorers is buried in Terrington, and was born near Ganthorpe in 1817. At the age of 16, he drew up a neatly written list of all the plants he had found around Ganthorpe – arranged alphabetically and containing 403 species.
Spruce went on to spend 15 years exploring the Amazon from the Andes to the mouth and was one of the first Europeans to visit the places from which he collected his specimens.
“After his years of exploration he returned to North Yorkshire and spent the last 17 years of his life in the nearby village of Coneysthorpe,” added Shelley.
“This exhibition, as well as being a shameless revelation in the beautiful world of the botanical, is a nod to the work of perhaps our most notable local resident.”
The show features the work of several artists including Pocklington-based Jenny Storey, whose work is produced using mainly watercolour, as the vibrancy and transparency of the medium can create delicate, detailed and intricate effects.
Much of her inspiration is drawn from plants and natural forms and she explores the way the shapes and patterns interact with each other.
Challenges arise for her when exploring complex negative spaces which are increasingly the starting point for most of her ideas.
“Wet-in-wet methods are used in a controlled manner which rely on dropping colours into an already wet wash to create a gradation of pigment which bursts into existence on the paper,” said Shelley.
“Her colours are mixed on the paper more often than on the palette in an attempt to retain freshness and spontaneity. They are built up, layer by layer, rather like a mosaic where all the pieces relate to each other, as it is this interaction of shapes, spaces and colours that have fascinated her and other like-minded artists since people discovered these plants in times of exploration.”
Silversmith Alison Zwaard from Sheffield collects leaves and petals from the city’s Botanical Gardens, translating them into delicate silver pieces of jewellery by painting layer upon layer of silver clay slip over the skeleton of the leaf.
Meanwhile, Lee Karen Stow, a photographer from the East Riding of Yorkshire, who is well-known for her documentary photography of women in Sierra Leone and their fights with poverty and gender inequality, has been drawn recently on a completely different tangent to the macro photography of the tiniest spring flowering daffodils.
Similarly Phil Cornelius, a photographer from the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, presents dramatic portraits of individual flowers, reminiscent of the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe, but with a hint of the documentary – the modern digital equivalent of the detailed botanical handdrawn study.
“We are also very thrilled to be showing work by the wonderful Romey T Brough, who after four years at Harrow School of Art, travelled extensively in Europe and America continuing her education in art as well as creating amazing large floral pictures, which were initially sold in Liberty’s store gallery in London,” said Shelley.
“Around this time, Romey also had paintings accepted for three summer exhibitions at the Royal Academy.
Romey eventually moved to Bakewell in Derbyshire, before moving to York in 2007. With her recent return to working in oils, Romey is creating some exquisite botanical paintings.”
The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm. The exhibition opens with an evening preview on Friday, 7pm to 9pm. For more details, visit backotheshop.co.uk