South Street Gallery
Until 5 June
Thu-Sat 12-5pm, Sun 12-4pm
Review by Jenny Drewery
Featured artist is the gallery’s curator Angela Chalmers, whose outstandingly sensitive work is both quiet and monumental. Her nudes are the closest thing you’ll get to bronze statues made from ink.
For me, her finest pieces are those created on Indian rag paper against a dark background. Faces turned away, the figures exist in awesome isolation, frozen in time like the dignified, petrified remains of the Pompeiians. I felt a hushed sense of history.
Sensitive Ground depicts a woman’s crouching form, her Rubenesque curves filling the canvas as if she has tucked herself into a private corner of the world where there’s space only for herself and her thoughts.
In handling her ink the artist allows it to run as it will, tilting the paper in a way that coaxes rather than controls, achieving results that connect deeply with her subconscious intention. The light and shade effects in Shadowed throw an almost eerie gleam onto what we can see of the man’s face. An opera demon, I thought, lit by the footlights. In Splint, a male figure resembles a statue that has been split by a lightning bolt, the running ink suggesting a primeval mountainous backdrop.
In a departure from the artist’s usual medium, there’s a huge canvas done in acrylics. Entitled After Glow, it shows a woman basking, her body warm and rosy. She is alone – as are all of Angela’s figures - but not lonely.
The artist is also making her name as a photographer with a signature technique. Her images of Scarborough landmarks are taken from above and the focus is gently and respectfully managed, to blur and highlight. The Spa bandstand is a graceful curve, elegant and peaceful. The tide is out, so there’s no sea to compete with the architecture. The dragon boats of Peasholm Park acquire a shining stateliness against the hazily blurred trees on the island.
There are no people in the photographs. If there were, they’d probably look like giants because, as many people have commented, Angela’s photographic subjects look like miniatures, and certainly her take on the harbour looks like something you’d see in a model village, perfect to the last detail and the last delicate yacht.