Arts & Literature
Circle painting by Andy Campbell
Exhibition: Art Sans Frontieres Deux
By Martin Barber
The work of a number of Norfolk's most respected artists, members of the Norwich Twenty Group, can be viewed in an autumn exhibition at the old Bally shoe factory in Norwich until Saturday, 29 September, 2007.
The Norwich Twenty Group, a collective of professional Norfolk artists with a national reputation, presents their second exhibition of the year - laced with an international flavour.
The group has well established links with artists in Norwich's twin-towns of Rouen in France and Novi Sad in Serbia - allowing them to present a collection of work from all three cites at the old Bally shoe factory on the outskirts of Norwich city centre.
Art Sans Frontieres Deux
The works of around 60 artists are included in the Art Sans Frontieres Deux exhibition, featuring some 300 pieces that showcase all the aspects of contemporary fine art.
They range from traditional figurative painting through to impressionist work, abstract, sculpture, stone carving and some imaginative site installations responding to the actual space of the old Bally factory.
Contraposto by Mike Toll
"[The show] represents the very best of visual creative work that's going on in the city," said David Holgate, chairman of the Norwich Twenty Group.
"We invited the artists from our twin cities to join us and this year we have 12 artists from Rouen with five paintings each, they are beautiful things. We have similar work from Novi Sad.
"Later this year we're going to Novi Sad with a whole mass of work from Norfolk artists.
"That exhibition is starting off in Novi Sad and going to Belgrade – so we're actually promoting Norfolk and Norwich, and Norfolk and Norwich artists in an international way - all with people doing it voluntarily," he added.
Over the years the membership of the Norwich Twenty Group has included nationally known artists, including Michael Andrews, Mary Newcombe, Bernard Reynolds and Jeffrey Camp.
Norwich's Colin Self has taken an active role as have numerous art historians and architects, including David Hockney and Peter Blake.
The group holds exhibitions twice a year. Among the art on display this September are sculptures by David Holgate, circular paintings by Andy Campbell and large dogwood sculptures by Barbara Leaney.
Barbara lives in Wroxham, having moved to Norfolk from Germany around 20 years ago. Her art finds a synergy between the natural world and architectural design.
Barbara Leaney with dogwood sculpture
"I use dogwood [a type of bush] – you find it everywhere. I cut dogwood, it's very straight and has a wonderful strong colour. People often use it as a decorative feature in the garden in the winter," she said.
"When you cut the wood, you get these white circles and these create a kind of pattern and texture.
"The wood itself is very dark so it's like white stars against this black background – the shapes I use are very architectural. Very simple and clear with, for my tastes, the beautiful starry speckled surface.
"I like the texture of the cut wood and precision against the more wild, rough structure of using the wood uncut. It's the mixture of precision and bits sticking out that are very rough – it's an interesting juxtaposition," she added.
History of the Norwich Twenty
The Norwich Twenty Group was originally formed in 1944 by a group of professional artists, responding to a public outcry over an exhibition of 'modern art' that was installed at Norwich Castle Museum.
Painting by Caroline Hoskin (detail)
"There were letters in the paper about how horrific this stuff was and the press hammered the exhibition," said Mr Holgate.
"That is why these young professional people got together - to try and promote modern art at that time as a reaction, to the reaction of the press and the public. It was a discussion group. Members talked about and criticised each other's work.
"Guests were invited to attend as observers and speakers – which included Lucian Freud," he added.
Art Sans Frontieres Deux can be viewed at the old Bally shoe factory, Hall Road, Norwich, daily from 10am-5pm until Saturday, 29 September, 2007.
Admission is free.
last updated: 19/09/07