SOMETIMES when your head’s full of stressful clutter, you get an urge to walk along the shore and savour the open spaces. Malcolm Ludvigsen, one of the exhibition’s feature artists, captures this feeling in his seascape Bridlington, July 19. On a tide-washed beach under towering skies, a few people are strolling, a man and his dog going in the opposite direction from the others. I like the impression that he’s passed within yards of them with maybe a nod or a quick ‘hello’ and immediately settled back into his own thoughts. The smudgily painted figures have an impermanence in a setting that’s many millions of years old.
The other feature artist is Kate Kenney. Her design-conscious paintings show the rolling Wolds positively oozing fecundity. The farmer’s labour enhances the beauty of what’s already there. Rapeseed bursts from the soil in sizzling yellow. Tawny crops ripen under the autumn sun. Hockney-esque trees are simple statements rising from a glowing carpet of agriculture. Four of the canvases sold while I was in the gallery.
There’s an Andrew Cheetham I hadn’t seen before, showing the waves roaring past Flamborough, and some beautifully crafted driftwood wall plaques by Shirley Vauvelle. In Jon O’Connor’s ominous study of Redcar beach, the giant blast furnaces stride down to the shore in the distance. I know the scene well – on a fine sunny day, their industrial bullying bulk feels out of place, but here their blackness is quashed by the magnificent moody darkness of sea and sky.
There are echoes of John Piper in Adam King’s mixed-media studies - five Scarborough landmarks and a Castle Howard temple - which grabbed me the minute I saw them. A solid architectural awareness shines through the seemingly loose technique. Jaunty black outlines are overlaid with splashy colour, making the structure feel alive.
In Jan Richardson’s ravishing piece of naïve art, the manipulation of perspective and colour gives us a glorious day in Whitby, seen through a child’s eyes. A tour bus trundles down the hill and a boat chugs along the water, crammed with holidaymakers. The sea is impossibly blue, just as it appears in your memory when you look back fondly to your childhood holidays. The biggest figure in the painting is a seagull, beadily watching from a rooftop. Perhaps he’s there to remind us that birds were on the scene long before we were? No, on reflection I think he’s simply looking out for rich pickings.
I chortled at Sue Atkinson’s tiny quirky painting called Teatime. Four people head determinedly for home, beach swag packed away in enormous bags, sunbathing over for the day, minds totally focused on cups of tea, scones and maybe a nice bit of malt loaf. Wonderful!