Artweeks 2019

Banbury

More than 100 artists in and around Banbury are part of a group of 1000 artists and designer-makers who are preparing to turn Oxfordshire into a giant art gallery for the Artweeks Festival this month (4th-27th May; 18th-27th in North Oxon) and with around forty venues in this My Letterbox patch there’s so much to see. From paintings and photos, to sculpture, textile art, wood-turning, pottery, jewellery and more, you are invited to visit artists’ open studios and pop-up exhibitions in interesting and welcoming venues where you can not only see wonderful art and design – you also have the chance to talk to the makers about their methods, their materials and their inspiration.

Start perhaps with the Culworth exhibition of artists Julie Herd and Miranda La Mutanta (Artweeks venue 467) who are presenting a collection of inky portraits of famous and significant women through time. Each is drawn with ink and biro, the expressive and textural nature of the inks is in contrast to the fine detail of the biro. Based on photographs of actual women, the artists add their own interpretation to give a dynamic flavour to these historical icons.

In Culworth too, Ann Crawford (venue 466) promises lithographs and mixed media pictures of animals, birds, the circus and fables, and there are more mythological beasts to be seen in the King’s Sutton studio of printmaker Margot Bell, in black and white and colour (Artweeks venue 477).

Margot describes how she was inspired by a trip to the Palace of Westminster. “I was walking past the Victoria Tower at the south-west end of the palace admiring the gothic architecture, and my eye was drawn towards the black iron fence surrounding it: at the top of the gates a menagerie of fantastic mediaeval animals were looking down at me, picked out in gold, and they glinted and gleamed in the sunlight.’ Margot began doodling dragons, the mystical White Hart, and other curious creatures from Greek, Roman and Egyptian legends and has been captivated ever since.

Just across the green from her studio, you’ll find eight artists exhibiting in the church including mixed media by Ella Hendy who paints in acrylics and often uses wallpaper in her art (Artweeks venue 476). ‘I am fascinated by the concept of tearing layers of wallpaper and not knowing what you might find,’ she explains.

And in King’s Sutton too, in a working potters studio (Artweeks venue 478), you can see the very different art of three ceramicists – from pretty functional pottery to wonderful animals  by award winning wildlife sculptor Jill Collier. These include birds on delicate legs and breath-taking three-dimensional underwater scenes.

For a delicate octopus etched into glass, head down to Deddington. He’s on show with a real variety of other subjects in The Duke at Clifton. Alongside paintings inspired by nature, photographer Sam Brown was inspiration by the recent discovery of her great-grandfather’s magic lantern slides of Egypt in the 1890s. Fascinated by the beauty of the slides in their own right as historic artefacts, she has been exploring the transformation in photography in the last 120 years to create a series of beautiful prints.

So pick up an Artweeks 2019 festival guide in libraries, information centres or go online at www.artweeks.org to browse exhibitions by areas, artist or creative medium complete with maps and to plan your day.

Be inspired, diverted and delighted; have a go, and even choose an original work of art to take home

Visit www.artweeks.org for more information.

Bicester, Kidlington and Woodstock

Over a hundred artists in and around Bicester, Kidlington and Woodstock are part of a group of 1000 artists and designer-makers who are preparing to turn Oxfordshire into a giant art gallery for the Artweeks Festival this month (4th-27th May; 18th-27th in North Oxon) and with two dozen venues in this My Letterbox patch there’s so much to see. From paintings and photos, to sculpture, textile art, wood-turning, pottery, jewellery and more, you are invited to visit artists’ open studios and pop-up exhibitions in interesting and welcoming venues where you can not only see wonderful art and design – you also have the chance to talk to the makers about their methods, their materials and their inspiration.

The old St Edberg’s school on Cemetery Road in Bicester is a wonderful place to start – it’s bursting with local talent and dozens of artists: and in the space, a series of photographs by Italian portrait photographer Massimiliano Giorgeschi depict some of these local artists in their natural habitats and lost in the art of creation with a dramatic cinematic edge. Sculptor Michele Green is one of the artists Massimiliano has captured thoughtful, in a moment in time, the shot framed by her trademark pieces. Michele works in a group studio, a large airy space in this old Victorian School with its giant windows. ‘A shared studio has a very different dynamic to it, and it was a challenge to bring the flavour of a much bigger space into the photograph whilst keeping the focus on Michele herself. Because an artist often hides behind their art – they’re usually an unknown quantity behind each piece of art you see – it seemed appropriate that the viewer is almost peering through a couple of her trademark mask-type sculpture to spy the artist in their natural habitat behind the work!

Alongside a large exhibition sculptures by many professional sculptors using materials from stone to wire, papier mache and more, you’ll find paintings of the local landscape and quirky bold paintings, wildlife photography and whimsical bright art for the children.

Up in Lower Heyford, Heyford House throws open its grand old doors and invites you to take tea on the lawn beneath the wisteria-clad walls whilst enjoying a range of art with a focus on crisp and classy design, typography and to suit the modern house.

Another fascinating venue is very different: HMP Bullingdon is hosting an exhibition with paintings showing the inside of the prison by artist Sarah Moncrieff alongside the work of residents on a theme of ‘Inside Spaces’. These vary from the thoughts inside the heads to the view of the building from the outside, and the boundary of their everyday space.

Head south to and Shipton-on-Cherwell and Kidlington, here the churches of Holy Cross and St Mary’s respectively both host large group exhibition with lots to see. Or for the intimacy of a welcoming garden studio, visit glass artist Pam Fyvie who works in a treasure trove of colour and joy fusing transparent and opaque with iridescent sparkle for the house and garden. On into Bladon, you’ll find metal wall sculptures in a magical hidden glade where artist Suzanne O’Driscoll works: the colours and imagery of the countries she has visited are vividly represented in her paintings and drawings which has a vibrant yet dreamy flavour.

So pick up an Artweeks 2019 festival guide in libraries, information centres or go online at www.artweeks.org to browse exhibitions by areas, artist or creative medium complete with maps and to plan your day.

Be inspired, diverted and delighted; have a go, and even choose an original work of art to take home

Visit www.artweeks.org for more information.

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