Monday, 26 April 2010

It Takes Two – Norwich 20 Group Spring Exhibition

It Takes Two - Norwich 20 Group Artists Collaborate will be staged at St Margaret’s Church, St Benedicts, Norwich from Tuesday, May 11 to Saturday, May 22, open daily 10am to 6pm, free admission.

Collaborations include the surreal meeting of Chedgey’s alter ego Honoré (photograph) and sculptor Ros Newman’s wire maquette, a response to apple trees by Gill Levin and Nell Close, featuring an apple tree planted by Mary Newcomb in the 1950s, and drawings by David Woods and Michael Chapman, inspired by visits to the Sainsbury Centre.

Rory McShane Chairman Norwich 20 Group (N20G) said: “It Takes Two, continues on from our successful Voicing Visions exhibition staged in St Margarets in 2009. This year’s spring exhibition has given our members, who include painters, sculptors, photographers and print makers, the opportunity to create some very exciting collaborations.”

Chedgey, a painter and sculptor, who specialises in surreal self-mocking works, began developing Honoré as his alter ego six months ago. He initially wrote a children’s story then embarked on Honoré’s autobiography. Honoré has also come to life in a series of automaton’s and sculptures collaborating with N20G members.
He appears in Ros Newman’s studio trying to redesign the wire maquette, in a dress, with his trademark tricorn hat, inspired by the work of Louise Richardson and is ‘shocked’ by John Rance’s optical art.

“Honoré Bunaparte has been involved in the great moments of history from the Napoleonic wars onwards,” said Chedgey. “An inventor, with a taste for often wearing little more than a fig leaf, it is very fitting that he should be putting his mark on It Takes Two.”

Ros Newman said: “I started seeing Honoré in one of my life-size wire ‘sketches’ quite randomly and then found the old wire 'sketch’, which appears in the automaton. Then I discovered a nearly finished piece from 20 years ago that was obviously Honoré. He had insinuated himself into my work in the guise of a harlequin in 1989! So I decided to finish ‘Honoré’ for the exhibition.”

Gill Levin (oil on board) and Nell Close (mixed media) collaboration came out of their regard for each other’s work and mutual enthusiasm for apples. Gill’s apple tree is in an orchard planted by the late Mary Newcomb in the 1950s. Mary Newcomb, one of Britain’s best loved artists, famous for her visionary ruralist paintings, was a member of N20G for many years.

David Woods and Michael Chapman have produced drawings following visits to the Sainsbury Centre collection: “We both admire the Sierra Leone Sherbro head, carved from Steatite. The head appears to be looking up, as if 'Moon bathing' and on consideration, is far from anatomically correct. The beauty lies in the boldness of the carving and clarity of vision of the carver.”

“A hard act to follow in any medium” said Michael Chapman. David Woods finds the decorative elements fascinating: “An inspiring image of ancient Africa”.

Norwich 20 Group
N20G was formed in 1944 comprising professional artists from the Norwich School of Art and Design. The group is no longer limited to 20 and now has more than 60 members, several of whom exhibit regularly in the West End and abroad. All aspects of the practice of contemporary fine art are represented e.g. sculpture, print, photography and painting.

Over the years the membership has included nationally known artists, for example, Bernard Reynolds and Jeffrey Camp. Colin Self has taken an active role as have numerous art historians and architects. Mary Newcomb, one of Britain’s best loved artists, famous for her visionary ruralist paintings, who died in 2008, was a member of N20G for many years. Her work often sold at exhibitions for around £20. It now changes hands for five figure sums. Current N20G members include Andy Campbell, David Holgate, Ros Newman, Vanessa Pooley and Laurie Rudling.