Bees, Birds and Bentleys Exhibition Review

Bees, Birds and Bentleys Exhibition

At Urban Arts Studio in St Annes I learnt all about the birds and the bees from a very different perspective. And a bit about Bentleys too. The launch of the latest monthly art exhibitions, entitled Bees, Birds and Bentleys, enlightened me in methods of printmaking. Five printmakers, brought together through their association with Art Lab in Preston, are exhibiting their work and all favour different techniques of the art.

Rita Robson uses wood engraving to create her miniature fairytale fantasy inspired works of art. She kindly gave me a crash course in how it’s done. Working in miniature, creating an image that needs to be back to front to ensure the perspective is right when printed, and the decision to hand print or a huge Albion printing press, are considerations when forming a new piece from Box wood. Rita’s art is intricate, charming and meticulous. I loved Green Man for its authenticity and detail. My favourite was Archway and Trees, making me yearn to shrink myself and step into the tiny frame.

Julia Swarbrick’s linocuts appeal to the nature lover in everyone with her Bees in Lavender, and Rebirth (triptych with bird). Inspired by the natural worlds around her, Julia’s work resembles botanical drawing, its fine detail bringing a metaphorical magnifying glass to the wonders of her chosen subjects. She adds a comedic light touch to her Hare and Tortoise -linocut and laser, methods with which she successfully experimented, depicting the sleeping hare being overtaken by a sly, smug, smiling tortoise.

Simon Plum’s complex and fantastical etchings reflect his exploration into the anxieties and absurdities of modern life, where everyone is rushing, chasing their own tales and others’ too. So bizarre and quirky – so many animals and people crammed into each work- that you could find new details upon every inspection.  Characters race crazily in circles, often in Bentleys or other vintage cars, in a mixture of excitement and compulsion out of control. We smile at their seemingly manic behaviour but fear they might never stop until they wear out the ground beneath them. On discovering the painstaking labour intensive methods of achieving contrasting shades in the etching process, I wonder at the incredible detail Simon gives us in these delightful works-White Rabbit, Carousel and Rats can all be viewed here.

Jenny McCabe’s collagraph and etching Single Starling and Murmurations pieces are intricate with an ethereal quality. She explains her excitement at the freedom to layer her drawings and experiment with combining techniques.

Kathryn Poole’s lithograph images illustrate her biology background and interest in natural history and science. Inspired by collections in museums, her work here is from her series -Hybrids. Duck, pheasant, moth and flying beetle are the subjects of these lithographs, madeby drawing on limestone with wax crayons, applying ink onto the stone and printingthe image onto paper.

It seems there is more to learn of the birds and the bees than we might imagine. Go and take a look.

Bees, Birds and Bentleys can be viewed at this eclectic and welcoming venue at the following times: Wednesdays 2-6.3pm, Thursdays 5.30-11pm, Fridays 7pm-1am and Saturdays 7pm-1am.

For more information call 07931 113855, email [email protected] or visit their Facebook page.



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