Monday, 4 February 2013

Norfolk Abstract Artists at The Cut Halesworth - stains on the silence

Norfolk abstract artists, Martin Battye and Geoffrey Lefever, are staging a joint exhibition, stains on the silence, at The Cut Arts Centre, Halesworth from Tuesday, February 12 to Saturday, March 16. The Cut is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

More than 50 works will be on show at the exhibition. Martin Battye said: “Both Geoffrey and I used to have studio space at the old Bally Shoe Factory in Norwich. I am now based at Hempnall and Geoffrey has a studio at Fengate near Aylsham. We have worked together and shown together for a number of years and have very different, but complementary approaches.”

                                          Geoffrey Lefever in his studio

Martin Battye is currently Chairman of Norwich 20 Group (N20G) and Geoffrey Lefever is a long-term member of the group, joining in the 1960s. N20G was formed in 1944 comprising professional artists from the Norwich School of Art and Design (now Norwich University of the Arts – NUA). The group is no longer limited to 20 and has more than 70 members.

Martin Battye was born in Suffolk but has lived and worked for most of his life in Norfolk. He creates abstract mixed media art and combines his work as an artist with designing and making medical equipment.

Martin Battye added: “My recent paintings have become increasingly concerned with the substance and material of paint, and with a reduced geometry that takes away as much external reference as possible.''

He has been a member of N20G since 2007 and exhibited with the group last year at The Forum, Norwich, Apex, Bury St Edmunds and Espacio Gallery, London. He was also part of the Four Abstract Painters show at Mandells Gallery, Norwich in 2012. Martin has staged solo shows at the Chappel Galleries, Chapel Essex, Graham and Oldham in Ipswich and has exhibited at Royal Academy summer shows and was a prize winner at the Eastern Open Art Exhibition (King’s Lynn).

For 20 years, Geoffrey Lefever was a painter of expressionist landscapes and industrial landscapes in oil, but confronting the equivalent of ‘writer’s block’ in the late 1970s, he embarked on a three-year degree in fine art at Norwich School of Art and Design (now NUCA), emerging as an abstract artist focussing on collage and mixed media work.

Geoffrey Lefever explains: “The three years at art school were at times painful, being confronted by ‘self’ every day. In my final year, my work evolved towards abstraction by means of collage. My degree show works are the earliest in this 30-year retrospective.”

In 2001, Geoffrey was inspired by his daughter Jane’s fine art degree course at Nottingham Trent University, to complete a two-year fine art MA there. “My final show at Nottingham comprised large abstract works on paper hung away from the wall surface. My work has continued to evolve in ways that I had not envisioned. While still totally abstract, at times it tends towards minimalism, but always with an emphasis on structure and the significance of materials such as hessian, ash and paper.”

Geoffrey Lefever has exhibited with N20G in Norwich’s twin cities, Koblenz, Novi Sad and Rouen. He is a member of the Union des Arts Plastiques in Rouen and exhibited with them in 2012. He had a solo show at The Stew Gallery Norwich in 2010 and a 30-year retrospective solo show at St Nicholas Church, Salthouse North Norfolk last year. He was part of the Four Abstract Painters show at Mandells Gallery, Norwich and also exhibited with N20G at The Forum, Norwich and The Apex, Bury St Edmunds in May 2012.

The Cut Arts Centre, 8 The New Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8BY,  t 01986 873285.