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Exhibition Review: Anjinese and J. Paul Wright at Tea Amantes

It’s the first Monday of the month, which means it must be a new exhibition at the Tea Amantes cafe and gallery.

Once more abandoning the family to their own devices, I take the service 3 bus to town and walk down Albert Road to the already bustling space. I fail to make it through the door before Anna Paprzycka, who runs these exhibitions, photographs me stood next to photographer Kate Yates. This gives me time to set up my little digital camera with its filter and lens hood.

This is the first dual exhibition at Tea Amantes and the first married couple show that I have attended. There are relatively few pieces as they are substantial and striking. The husband and wife works are entirely different in style, but the complementary. Anji’s three pieces are hung on the back wall, with Paul’s more widely distributed around the gallery and into what is the tattoo parlour waiting area.



Both use a mosaic technique producing strong and well-composed pieces that catch the light. Colours are quite restrained, but saturated. Some are quite abstract and take a second view. As a cat lover (who hasn’t got a cat) I was pleased to see that Paul had made one his subject.



Anji’s work uses British decimal half penny pieces as the basis of her work. Her approach is described as based on a little girl striving for perfection and creating something beautiful. Portraits capturing a personality’s essence are a passion. The mosaic technique means that the pieces become more seamless with an increasing viewing distance.

I ask Anji how she came to this way of artistic working.

“I’ve always been quite arty, but wanted to do something a little bit different, and that happened to be some coins on my desk in a pot,” she explained. “You know when you look at something in a different way? I need to see something else? It was a moment like that really. Things just kind of evolved from there.

“The material is a resin overlaid on a coin with alcohol soaked artist’s paper. I’m not currently using other materials, I’m sticking with this. I like using the half penny coins โ€“ they’re a discarded thing that no-one uses anymore.”



These materials and technique are certainly producing excellent work.

After a few tasty nibbles, including grapes, strawberries and a slug of tasty tea from the many pots around the room, I spoke to Paul. What had led him to his own artistic choices?



“My pieces can take up to two years to produce,” he said. “These have been done over the last eight years. Others are too large to fit into this venue. But here the evening light comes in and really brings the crystals to life.

Generally I use a type of quartz that I colour because otherwise I can’t get the exact variations I need. I use semi-precious stones whenever I can, but they’re difficult to get in the right size. The individual stones are glued onto a strong acrylic base.”



I ask Paul if he ever uses found materials:

“Not generally. I have been down to the beach and found certain things, but they haven’t yet worked for me. This doesn’t mean I won’t use them in the future.”



With my photos in the camera, I took another turn round the works. Conversations were still continuing around the room and more people were coming in to view the exhibition.



With the service 6 conveniently due, it was time to draw the curtain on another nice evening viewing some excellent art and spending time with some lovely people. This fine show is on until 30th June 2023 and is not to be missed.

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    I have worked in the housing and transport professions for several local authorities, specialising in policy, strategy preparation and bid writing. Having always had an interest in film, the visual arts in general, theatre, music and lterature, I thought it would be good to combine the writing experience with these interests to contribute to altBlackpool. In addition to writing, my hobbies include watercolour and pastel painting, photography, woodwork, cycling and vegetable gardening.

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