Exhibition Review: HIVEArts Winter Collective

Autumn has now transitioned to winter and snow is even forecast. Time to join the HIVEArts team at its Church Street lair, for the opening of its Winter Collective exhibition. David Simper bused it down to Church Street to take a look.

There’s been quite a run up to this exhibition, allowing everybody to get their pieces lined up, while the HIVEArts team prepared the gallery space. A winter rather than Christmas theme was chosen, as the latter is rather limiting and most people don’t want Yuletide themed pieces on their walls all year round. I was able to help for a change, although that only amounted to carrying items from the permanent collection upstairs out of the way and writing out name labels to stick on the back of pieces where absent.

Congratulations to the team for its usual high curatorial standards. There’s a lot in deciding what goes where and this skill is underestimated.

With an 18:00 start on the mid-week launch on 15th November 2023, I was on the service 61 bus to the town centre, arriving in good time. The dodgy weather might have put a few people off, but the HIVE venue was still lively as I climbed the stairs to the first floor exhibition space. On arrival I was offered and gratefully ate, a vegan mince pie with accompanying brandy butter, which was delicious.

Friendly catering services including delicious mince pies.

The collection assembled was eclectic and of an extremely high standard. My modest graphite stick effort was next to some absolutely gorgeous watercolours (thanks for that!). Materials included oils, watercolours, photography, resin coated coins, crystal collage and many other techniques. Winter has been interpreted in the widest possible sense.

Image formed in resin-coated half-pence pieces.
Crystal-formed image

There was also great size variety in the pieces. Also new artists have come into the fold, which is naturally welcome as we all want to see Blackpool’s art scene grow and HIVE’s status as a venue for the arts increasingly recognised at a regional and national level.

“We decided on winter because winter can mean so many things to so many different people,” says Kate Yates of the thinking behind the collection. “The southern hemisphere is a different thing to the northern hemisphere – different parts of the world look at winter in different ways, so it was a way of expanding our perception of winter. And the artists have been incredible – we’ve got so many variations on that theme and so much high-quality work – absolutely astounding! I’m blown away with it all.”

This is a show featuring all local artists, which is of the highest possible quality and is not to be missed.

I took another turn round the pieces, this time without the camera, which tends to mean that more registers, and compared notes with chums. That left me neatly placed for the service 6 bus home and supper.

The show continues at HIVEArts on church street until 20th January 2024.


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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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