Autumn show 2019

By 18th November 2019January 1st, 2020No Comments

Autumn Exhibition 2019

4th October, 2019 to 12th January, 2020

Having enjoyed a well earned lovely break over the summer, we are now delighted to present our Autumn Show.

As always, this show has been carefully curated by Sarah, who has put together a selection of her favourite pieces with fantastic work from both old gallery favourites  and artists who are new to the gallery.  The result is a superb collection of  eclectic artwork ranging from the serene sleeping figures of painter Sally Gatie through to the pure abstraction of Helen Booth’s mesmerising canvases.

Complementing the paintings, is work by ceramicists Lesley Doe, Barbara Gittings and Sally Cleary, whose beautiful porcelain vessels and bowls demonstrate the beauty of the medium in very different ways.

We are also pleased to be showing for the first time, a range of stunning contemporary jewellery from emerging jeweller, Megan Brown.

Details of the exhibiting artists, and selected  images of their work can be found below.  There is much more in the Gallery!

We look forward to welcoming you

Leslie Birch

Award-winning artist Lesley Birch was born in Glasgow and gained her MA in English Literature and Music at the University of Glasgow. She went on to work as a professional musician touring the UK and USA with 80s chart topping Scottish band Hue and Cry. She later moved to Cambridge teaching English Literature and developing her life-long interest in painting.

Moving to Yorkshire, she continued to paint, exhibit and develop her practice, setting up an artist collective with an interest in life drawing. Birch’s paintings are bringing her attention for their evocative, sense of timelessness and atmosphere. Her experience of the landscape is her starting point – Ireland, Scotland, Yorkshire – and then, in the studio, memory and imagination take over.

Inspired by remote landscapes, Lesley is drawn to ever-changing skies, soft greens, rushing waters and winds. Her work is notable for energetic mark-making and an expressive use of colour.

I married a Yorkshireman and moved here from Scotland. I fell in love with Nidderdale and
Swaledale. I’ve painted at Sandsend – my favourite bay – and on the moors. The woods at Askrigg have entered paintings too. There is so much that inspires me.

My paintings strive to make an emotional connection with the viewer. My subjects are Time & Nature and I’m inspired by land and sea. The paintings quietly reflect my feelings as I play with colours, textures, line and form to express a moment in time.

Her paintings have been widely exhibited including the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Cork Street Open, The Mall Galleries Discerning Eye as well as solo shows across the UK. She has a painting in the Royal Marsden Hospital Collection and in 2016 won The Artist Magazine Award.

She currently lives in York and is a full-time practising artist.

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Helen Booth

Helen was born in Staffordshire. She studied Fine Art Painting at Wimbledon School of Art (1986-1989) under Bernard Cohen, George Blacklock and Prunella Clough.

The dot itself can be many things, a puncture wound, a beginning, an end, an existence or a loss. It can be the end of a sentence or a punctuation in a landscape. It can symbolise life and it can represent death – a full stop.

My recent paintings concentrate on the limitless variations of the single dot and how the individual marks when placed side by side create a dialogue. Often the dots follow disjointed lines or they crowd together in amorphous blocks. Sometimes they are destroyed by gravity with dripped paints. The works explore both an impulsive and repetitive way of mark making that is both gestural and meditative. Straight and dynamic lines often appear alongside the more gossamer transient dots in the paintings.

After each layer, I pour and drag the paint across the surface – this juxtaposition of imposed structure and the loosely applied layers is an emotional response to the process of painting. My restrained palette creates work that focuses on the mark without the distraction of colour.
Memory is also fundamental to my ideas, both personal memory and how it changes and morphs over a lifetime and also the memory of Nature. How the magnitude of space and its incomprehensible meaning can also be found in the most micro of organism.

A recent trip to Iceland, seeing land newly formed and baring witness to primary succession, reinforced my personal belief that Nature is the most powerful force and that trying to capture the essence of nature in its purist form is what is important to me as an artist. The cycle of birth and rebirth, in life and in nature is key.

This new work is made possible by the generous support of the Jackson Pollock & Lee Krasner Foundation and the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation in America, from whom I won awards this year. Their recognition and support has been life changing.

Helen works from her studio in Wales. Other awards include the BEEP International Painting Biennial Prize, Swansea (2018), Jackson Pollock & Lee Krasner Foundation Award for Painting (2014) and the Threadneedle Art Prize, The Mall Galleries, London (2012). She exhibits throughout the UK and will be represented by a British gallery in Miami later this year.

We are delighted to represent Helen in the North.

Sally Cleary

Sally was born in Australia. In 1994 she was awarded MA Fine Art from RMIT University, Melbourne. In 2014, at the same institution, she successfully completed a PhD Fine Art.

‘Through my art work, I explore the representation of nature and human ecology transposed through mixed-media sculpture.

I am interested in the relationship between objects, and the relationship that we, as human beings have, with the natural environment.’

The ‘State of Ruin’ series exhibited in Silson Contemporary’s Autumn Show is inspired by landscape and architectural ruins. The porcelain forms stand alone, or in groups. When assembled together my artworks form still lifes of small cities, or forests of forms. They are a momento mori of the nature of time and all that will remain after we cease to exist. These works are 3D drawings and collages, constructed with porcelain paper clay. They are high fired, and translucent where the clay body is thin.’

In 2014, Sally relocated to Paris, France where she now works as a senior lecturer in Art History whilst continuing her artistic practise.  She has exhibited in Australia, France and the UK.

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John Creighton

Born in Scarborough, John comes from a family with a strong artistic tradition going back several generations in Ryedale. His father was a talented and well-known landscape painter and from earliest days John drew and painted from this landscape. John completed a foundation course in art in Scarborough in 1976. He then went on to complete a degree in Fine Art Painting in Manchester in 1979.

‘As a child I roamed this land through woodland, meadow and thicket. Along lost shadowed tracks bye ways, and no ways. Often staying out until the stream glittered in the moonlight and the path through the woods was a winding band of starlight overhead. This landscape lives deeply in my soul.’

For the last three years, John has been concentrating on, and developing, his vision of landscape through drawing and painting. A couple of recent solo exhibitions have showcased the results of this work, and Silson Contemporary is delighted to be showing 3 such pieces in the Autumn Show. ‘The Call of the Land’ at the Ryedale Folk Museum Gallery in 2017, featured twenty-five of John’s large charcoal drawings, followed by another large solo show, ‘Rivers of Light’, at the North York Moors Centre, 2019. ‘Rivers of Light’ was also accompanied by an illustrated booklet with essay by Jane Sellars, Curator, Mercer Art Gallery, 2003-18 (available to purchase from Silson).

John was delighted to be one of a handful of talented Yorkshire artists to have the accolade of being selected for the ‘Great Yorkshire Art’ Exhibition at the Mercer Gallery, Harrogate in 2018, a show which celebrated exceptional Yorkshire artists over the decades.

He works from his studio in Appleton-le-Moors, North Yorkshire.

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Lesley Doe

Having gained her Doctorate from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 2000, Lesley worked initially as a University Lecturer before moving into a career in Media and Branding Research. Her PhD thesis, which concerned itself with the exploration of patterns of repetition and difference in film, informs her current work as an artist whose work primarily involves the exploration of the repetition of form through the slip casting process.

Lesley is drawn to casting mundane, everyday, ‘found’ objects that populate our lives without a great deal of thought; objects which are considered to be useful but not beautiful, and which are often disposable. Her pieces subtly question our own relationship with these objects which are comfortably familiar; used and touched every day, but rarely thought of. Lesley’s process is transformative of these objects. By rendering them into porcelain, a prized material, and firing them to a high temperature, these otherwise ephemeral items are transmuted into objects of beauty and permanence far removed from their original condition.

Difference is introduced through elements of hand building, altering and other modifications of form and surface. The seams which are characteristic of the slip casting process (and usually removed) are preserved and utilised in Lesley’s work to interrupt the otherwise perfectly replicated surfaces. This makes each item, although apparently repeated, actually unique.

Colour – solid, marbled, or dotted onto the surface, is used to introduce difference to otherwise uniform surfaces. All of this takes place whilst preserving the clean, simple and contemporary aesthetic, which is at the core of Lesley’s work.

Lesley’s piece, ‘Deviation’, a series of marbled, altered bottles, was exhibited at the Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, as part of their relaunch for the European City of Culture, 2017. Her 64 Bottle piece ‘Transition’ (each a different shade moving almost imperceptibly from Black to White) was shown in the Ferens during the 2018 Open Exhibition and was also featured on exhibition posters and brochures.

Lesley works from her studio in Beverley, East Yorkshire and her work is currently in Showrooms and Galleries in Sydney and Paris, as well as in the UK.

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Sally Marie Gardner

Sally Marie is a Contemporary British Artist who is influenced by light and energised by the surrounding wilderness of her northern homeland. Born and raised in Cumbria, the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales feed her creativity and are reflected in all her paintings.

Sally’s artwork is a direct response to nature and her experiences within it. Her fascination with shifting light and seasonal changes of colour, unify her pieces to the landscape. Long walks with her sketchbook down the dales and up the fells are the starting point of all her paintings as well as her love of writing and poetry, which also feed into the work.

Sally works from her studio in Sedbergh, Cumbria, and is currently Artist in Residence at Simonstone Hall Hotel, North Yorkshire.  She exhibits her contemporary landscapes and abstract pieces in galleries across the UK. She was selected for the prestigious New Light Art Prize Exhibition (2017/18), during which time her work was shown at the Tullie House Museum and Gallery, Carlisle, The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle and Bankside Gallery, London. Her paintings also feature in private collections in the UK as well as the USA and Australia.

This is the second time we have featured Sally Marie in an exhibition, such was the admiration for her work first time round.

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Sally Gatie

Born and raised in North Yorkshire, Sally studied Fine Art Painting at The University of York. Her fascination with the human form led her to spend many hours in the life room, honing her drawing and painting skills from the life model. She developed a highly skilled classical drawing technique and deep knowledge of colour. Indeed, the human form is prevalent throughout the work.

Working from sketches and photo-montages Sally creates her paintings using a grid system. It is a technique she has carefully developed over many years and is unique.  She uses the figure as a starting point for an exploration of colour, texture and pattern.

Sally paints large and small scale artworks, using oil on canvas. Her love of pattern and texture is shown in her expressive mark making, as she depicts figures gently cradled in a sea of tumultuous patterned fabrics.

‘Jasmine’, shown at Silson Contemporary, was part of The White Room Installation (2013 -14), displayed in six galleries across Yorkshire and Scotland as part of a touring exhibition. The White Room consisted of four large scale paintings, each one becoming a wall which formed an intimate room. The inspiration for The White Room stems from Sally’s private view of her life and family, exploring ideas of motherhood, nurturing and consciousness. She understands that her thoughts and feelings are reflected while she is painting, and are consequently experienced by the viewer as a result. She therefore places great importance on her thoughts, moods and state of mind while painting, which all become woven into her artworks.

As with the other 3 paintings in the exhibition, Jasmine, at first appears to be peaceful and still, however, before long the viewer will become aware of an energy emanating from the painting into the viewer’s space.

Sally works from her studio in Scarborough

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Barbara Gittings

Mainly self – taught, Barbara came to ceramics late in life in 1999, having spent thirty – five years working in the fashion industry. She lived in France from 2006 – 2013 and exhibited widely there, and on her return to UK, she set up her studio in Hove.

‘During my earlier career in the fashion industry, I began to explore clay as an alternative medium to fabric. In fashion, the layering of textiles and the power of the cut merge to find new balances and forms, the biomorphic and geometric held in tension. I’m fascinated by the geometry in nature, especially as growth and random chaotic forces skew and distort the initial perfect symmetry. My ceramics explore the multi-layered effects nature creates via the laying down of strata, weathering and erosion.

I work with a grogged porcelain, using Nerikomi techniques. This involves adding oxides or stains to the clay to colour it and then joining, slicing and rejoining layers of colours to build up patterns through the clay. I then slab-build the pieces. After sanding and biscuit firing to 1046 degrees, the pieces are re-sanded and then further decorated, using various resists. They are then smoke-fired and polished’.

In 2017, Barbara was delighted to be accepted as a member of The Sussex Guild, a professional group of talented designers/makers, with whom she now regularly exhibits. She has also been a frequent exhibitor at Art in Clay.

We are pleased to be showing her work for the first time.

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Jane Kell

Originally from Harrogate, Jane currently lives in the US.

Jane is essentially untrained although both her parents, David Morris and Margaret Morris, were painters. She admits while growing up the thought of painting was always in the background, it just took a while to surface.

She has a BA Honours in the History & Theory of Art from Essex University and worked for many years in PR.

It was while working at the National Gallery in London as Head of Press, she felt the time was right for her to try her hand at painting. By this time Jane was clear about how she wanted her work to look, and that she wanted to paint with oils, so she bought some paints and finally made a start – from the beginning it felt very natural.

She is a colourist working within the tradition of realism but aims to push the boundary with colour and form to achieve a semi-abstract quality in her work. She paints ‘alla prima’ directly onto the canvas with no preliminary drawing using handmade oil colours with natural pigments and enjoys the physical quality of the paint and spontaneity of this method.

Jane paints full-time in her studio in Washington DC, inspired by the surrounding landscape and the simple domestic details of life. The effect of light on water and the colours in nature are recurring themes or just a shadow on the kitchen table can be a starting point. She has always loved still-life and the British painters William Nicholson, Mary Fedden and Euan Uglow were early influences.

In 2018 Jane was commissioned by the Belmond Cadogan Hotel, London, to paint a series of eleven large abstract paintings which would form the centrepiece of suites in the newly re-opened luxury hotel. The paintings were bold and intensely coloured and have provided a new exciting direction for her. The three large abstract pieces in Silson’s Autumn exhibition represent a continuum of this new artistic direction.

We are delighted to be showing Jane’s work for the first time.

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Julia Poulton

Julia is an abstract artist, interpreting landscape and emotion through bold intuitive painting.  Originally from Wakefield, Julia completed her BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art at the University of East London, before returning to her roots in Yorkshire.

She has always felt a strong personal connection with nature, and this for many years has been the main source of inspiration for her work. However recently, this ‘external’ reference point has taken on less significance in Julia’s work, as her urge to focus on ‘process’ and use paint to express her ‘internal’ world, has taken over. Landscape often still appears as an recognisable ‘theme’ in Julia’s work, though her spontaneous approach in the studio frequently leads to more fluid and abstract compositions, where self-expression dominates and something ‘unexpected’ emerges.

This process of ‘letting go’ and embracing the unknown, is what excites Julia most in her current practice. Each painting brings something new. Mainly working in oils on canvas or board, Julia is passionate about colour and enjoys experimenting with different techniques and mediums to create exciting textures and surfaces, into which she will draw, scrape and scratch, whilst applying energetic brushstrokes of vibrant colour.

After spending some years raising a family, Julia now dedicates her time to painting and in the last few years she has exhibited widely in Yorkshire and Lancashire.  Recent shows have included The Great North Art Show, Ripon Cathedral, 2015, Harrogate Open Exhibition at the Mercer Gallery, 2015 and Platform Open at Morphets, Harrogate, 2015 and 2016.  In 2017 she was delighted to be awarded ‘Highly Commended’ for her work in The Harrogate Open.

Julia lives in Harrogate, where she practices from her studio. Unframed original oil on card paintings are also available in various sizes. From £80 – £150

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