Autumn show at the Lund Gallery in Easingwold

Gazette & Herald: Alice Hartford at work Alice Hartford at work

LANDSCAPE artist Debbie Loane is marking the fifth anniversary of the Lund Gallery, at Easingwold, by selecting five contemporary artists and makers for the autumn show.

Running until November 6, the exhibition features paintings and prints by Emerson Hayes, paintings by James Naughton and ceramics by Sam Hall and the RAMP duo of Rupert Johnston and Alice Hartford.

“Their work demonstrates the wonderful diversity of art and design being produced by young artists and makers in the UK today,” says Debbie, whose rural gallery occupies converted dairy buildings in Alne Road, just outside Easingwold.

Yorkshire-born Emerson Hayes is complementing his landscape paintings with a suite of wildlife prints he has been developing quietly over the past 12 months.

“The drypoints and etchings, which depict native birds and animals, were launched at Emerson’s own open studio event and were an instant hit with the public,” says Debbie.

“His skills as a draftsman are no secret and these new works only serve to demonstrate his deep and intimate understanding of his landscape.”

Emerson loves being surrounded constantly by the landscape that stirs him. “A quick glance out of the window or a walk to the village shop can really inspire and inform me,” he says.

“I have the river at the end of the road, the moors overlooking me and the dale sweeping down in between; I don’t really see the need to travel further afield.

“The important thing to me when I am painting is that I feel an emotional connection with it and it’s my home county that I have that connection to.”

Bolton artist James Naughton’s landscape paintings are often executed from a high vantage point.

“Describing a hauntingly beautiful scene illuminated through clouds and very British weather, they seem to catch an exhilarating moment in time in a way which is unique to him,” says Debbie.

“My landscapes are nearly always epic in theme, even when very small,” says James. “There’s a sense that elemental forces are at work, with huge clouds hanging over endless horizons, sunlight emerging through the darkness.”

Both Sam Hall and RAMP have had their pots represented by the Lund Gallery since it first opened its doors. Indeed, when Debbie first conceived the gallery, her purchase of one of Sam’s inspired her to specialise in ceramics.

This time, Sam, a West Yorkshireman who now lives in St Ives, is showing a specially made collection of small pots whose characteristic scratched and marked surfaces make each piece a voyage of visual discovery.

He creates pots without practical function, using the ceramic surface as his canvas, while the colours are natural and muted, aside from the occasional small red slash or gold enamel embellishment.

“The form is very much considered; a flat form, a starting point,” he says. “From here the work goes through a myriad of constant changes.

Layers of slips from dark earthenware to porcelain are applied, often thrown on or dribbled while the pot is laying flat on the floor, and drawing of lines and periodical writings are added.

“All this can then be scraped back to a finer point before been built up again.

“In this manner of working I feel the pot gains a history, a kind of diary of events that build up over time.”

Husband and wife Rupert Johnston and Alice Hartford work together as RAMP – it stands for Roop and Al Make Pots –in the Devon village of Appledore.

Their ceramics combine skills in throwing shapes in earthenware and porcelain with Alice’s vigorous and intuitive freehand slip decoration.

“RAMP has a particularly nostalgic feel, which harks back to the mid-20th century and the Festival of Britain – a period that is proving very popular with the younger generation of collectors,”

says Debbie.

“We started supporting Rupert and Alice some years ago after encountering their work at a pot fair in Hertfordshire.

“We knew that it had something special about it then and have been proudly showing it and watching it evolve ever since.”

Debbie finds it rewarding as a gallery owner to forge long-term relationships with emerging artists and play her part in their careers going from strength to strength.

“By exhibiting their work over the years, you’re providing a platform for their talents, and by giving them the security of having an exhibition on the horizon, you’re enabling them to expand their repertoire and encouraging experimentation and ambition,” she says.

Debbie cites the progress of artist Celia Smith as an example. “The Lund Gallery showed Celia’s work in our first ever exhibition and now, five years later, she’s just finished her second sell-out solo exhibition and completed two very popular workshops,” says Debbie.

“Her work is in such demand that there’s a waiting list of 18 months.”

Gallery opening times are Thursday to Saturday, 11am to 5pm; Sundays and Bank Holidays, 12 noon to 4pm.

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