Artists Workhouse

Artists Workhouse is setting for abstract painting exhibition

A new-ish gallery space is showing an exhibition entitled Windows, and it brings together two artists I’ve met running galleries in different places.

The Artists Workhouse in Studley is being developed by Dawn Harris, an artist currently studying for her MA in Fine Art at Gloucester University, and who previously was artist in residence at Ragley Hall where she also became Director of Ragley Gallery and Studios. There were several fun openings there, where visitors drove up to the stately home to enjoy drinks in the luxuriant setting, and then visit the exhibition in the atmospheric stable block.

This show is curated by Matthew Macaulay, a Coventry University art graduate who amongst other things set up the Pluspace Gallery in Coventry which made use of an empty space overlooking Broadgate and showed some good exhibitions, before he went on to work under the Pluspace banner for various other projects.

But good things at Ragley and Coventry city centre both came to an end, and Dawn has now moved on to establish The Artists Studio in Studley, which is being promoted as “an artist-led studio, gallery and project space benefiting from a collaborative environment”, with studios, workshops, events and exhibitions. And as Matthew put it, he was curated to curate the exhibition there.

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The show consists of 25 works by various artists from countries including the UK, Germany and Romania, and is over two floors at the venue.

The paintings are mostly abstracts, and include some by Matthew including the lagre and striking Southside (Lewis), a mostly-green abstract of his homeland.

Three works by Coventry University lecturer Graham Chorlton actually feature windows in the paintings; in one, bright blinds seem to stick out of a dull-coloured building, and another looks like it’s painted from within a building in another country, with wooden blinds and attractive architectural buildings visible through it.

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New works by another Coventry University graduate Mircea Teleaga, now studying at the Slade, both called Untitled (Night Clouds) are also different to previous ones I’ve seen, with dark blue/black swirls of what could be water or clouds. Damir Sobota’s criss-cross stripes of colour are a big contrast. Terry Greene’s ‘Water s very important for life but we need it to wash our hands’ has the longest title but is a smallish work with a U shape in blue, and Erin Lawlor’s small works seem to consist of several large brush strokes.

It’s an interesting exhibition in a good new space.