Rugby Art Gallery & Museum. Rugby Open

Rugby Open provides showcase for local talent in lots of media

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Graham Grimmett’s Tread Lightly, Walk True (Nature Morte)

The Rugby Open exhibition is on again, showing an interesting diversity of works.

Apparently 236 items were entered, and 97 have made it through to the exhibition, with a few artists showing two or three pieces. Paintings not surprisingly dominate, but there is a good variety of style and content, plus works in other mediums.

Tony Baker’s We Are Sailing is one of the few photographs, and taken from an interesting angle, looking down at a selection of balconies on a cruise boat, and the people on them. Another photograph is Jean Sutton’s Patterns of Birmingham, showing swirly reflections in metal.

Linda Cavan’s The Red Speck is strangely compelling, a small red speck on an inkpen drawing of what looks like some sort of bag or container.

Lilly Martina Gardener, a former winner of the Rugby Open, has two works on show, Winter Snows over Weedon, showing people walking along in a snowy scene at her home village, and Blackbirds and Tea. Both are in her distinctive style, which appears to be influenced by Henri Rousseau, with every bit of the canvas covered in activity and colour, with dense fronds of greenery.

Julie Bett’s Reflections is a landscape in mixed media, a bit Piper-esque. Nancy Upshall has two colourful abstract paintings in the show including The Bridge, a collection of small shaped colours creating a path across the canvas.

Eric Gaskell is another familiar name at Rugby Opens, and he has three linocuts featured, including one which called Boxed Boundaries – a linocut slider game, which is unusual. Helena Godwins’s sculpture Cat & Mice is made out of a breeze block so has a strange, holey, texture to it.

Roger Griffiths is also a known name from Rugby exhibitions, and his Rugby Cement from King’s Newnham watercolour shows a well-known Rugby site too, the huge building towering over colourful out-of-perspective landscapes. Val Hunt’s sculptures made from drink can metal are familiar and the one on show here is particularly charming, entitled “A conference of endangered birds discussing their future. Nightingale, lapwing, barn owl, cuckoo and house sparrow”, with the birds, looking very knowing, sitting on a branch together.

I’ve seen Bryan B Kelly’s work in Leamington before and The Folly is in his usual exuberant style, with lots of colour, the paint applied in dots, and a regular pattern to the scene.

Linda Keller has created Coventry Cathedral out of acrylic paint and mixed media, and Susan Moreton’s In the Footsteps of Monks is also a mixed media of what looks like a monastery or cloister.

Helen McChesney’s three oil painted landscapes are very pleasant to view, with pale colours, entitled Summer, The Wheat Field and The Ploughed Field. Neil Moore, former Leamington Open winner, is exhibiting The Lightness of Darkness, an oil painting of a person lying down in his highly realistic style.

Gérard Mermoz, a former winner of both Rugby and Coventry Opens, is showing Interior, two classic old paintings of women in domestic scenes becoming one by being placed on top of each other.

Teresa Wells’s Hashtag Tragedy Take 2 is an unusual sculptural installation of several small naked models on the floor, some enacting a boat capsizing tragedy and others watching it or filming it. Graham Grimmett’s Tread Lightly, Walk True (Nature More) is a plastic resin creation, sticking out from the wall full of colourful bright flowers.

It’s an interesting variety of work with something for all to enjoy, and is on until January 14.

  • The exhibition winner was David Broadfield, for his charcoal work Lime, Newnham Paddox. David Kearney won the World Rugby award for his watercolour and pen and ink work Winter Trees, Val Hunt’s drink can metal sculpture mentioned above won the Rugby Decorative and Fine Art Society award and Roger Griffiths won the Brethertons LLP award for Newton Rugby.
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Nina Cashmore’s Lisa