Folio14Folio 14, a group of creatives making work under the tutelage of artist and educator Jo Kori, opened their first show this week at Hastings Arts Forum. These 10 local artists met through a workshop held at the Jerwood Gallery and have, for three years, participated in creative exercise-based studio time with Kori that provides talking points and experience using new materials and methods. Having developed friendships with and trust in each other during this time, the group provide peer feedback geared towards generating ideas within their individual practices.

Sculpture, drawing, painting and printing are all included, and representational and abstract genres are both used to probe personal, self-exploratory pieces, based around memory and folklore, for example. Ann Barnes-Crowe’s non-narrative, brightly coloured abstract painting and sculpture and Carole Trimbee’s unusual sculptural sketchbook-based inquiries sit alongside found objects and recycled materials featured in David Reeve’s and Jenny Wilcox’s work, the latter describes her process as ‘messing about’. Julie Hudson Gidlow’s photography, using two decades-old expired transparency film in an old Box Brownie, directly references the process, as ‘running this film through the mechanics of an old, rusty, metal box resulted in “tram lines” being scratched onto the film’.

Miriam Cobrin’s printmaking and still lifes traverses the relationship between watercolour and printmaking and light and shadow, while Phil Tomlinson draws on artists such as Eric Ravilious and John Nash, as seen in his painting Moor Top, based on a childhood vision in the Peak District. The piece is described in Tomlinson’s statement as a ‘rather unusual composition [which] privileges the horizon, although concentrating on the terrain. [Tomlinson] is drawn to the flattened perspective that telephoto lenses can create of distant views and so, here, the flat canvas surface takes on the potential of abstract marks. The effects of cloud shadow and the naive-style depiction of trees and building gives a sort of magical realism to the painting.’

Informed by very personal experiences of brain damage within her family, Elaine-Marie Wigg’s sketchbook drawings became an invaluable resource for her during a period of time when getting into the studio was not possible. Her research has resulted in the production of repetitive abstraction providing a gentle aesthetic for the viewer, but also a meditative process for Wigg, particularly reflected in her wire sculptures.

Many of the artists such as Brenda Pallant, whose work also focuses on utilising recycled materials, Marva Bryony’s pieces on slug mating rituals and Helen Wells are heavily influenced by Hastings and the natural world within the settings of the surrounding areas. Wells says: ‘I frequently have a love affair with a theme where I become obsessed with it for a while; from snow flake structures to patterns on shells or the colours and patterns on fish scales or antique Indian textiles or bird feathers or butterfly wings or the patterns on maps … I also have some magpie tendencies and am rather drawn to the glittering and glinting, iridescent or luminous.’

Having seen photographs from the group’s workshops, which appear to include real physicality and gestural use of medium and material, the work on show here reflects those experiments and investigation, as considered ruminations, if not in scale. We should look forward to the future progression of their endeavours.

Hastings Art Forum, 36 Marina, St Leonards-on-Sea, TN38 OBU, – exhibition runs until 12 November 2017

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