Ilkeston venue hosts summer art exhbition

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This summer there will be an exhibition featuring the work of selected professional artists and craftspeople in Ilkeston.

Paintings by Jill Barthorpe, Rob Leckey and Gillian Radcliffe will be accompanied by photographs from Sarah MacDonald and ceramics from Brian Holland in the Creative Coverage Mixed Show at The Lally Gallery, Erewash Museum, from July 19 to September 4.

Jill Barthorpe and Gillian Radcliffe are based in Derbyshire while Rob Leckey hails from Shropshire, Sarah MacDonald is from Scotland and Brian Holland comes from Yorkshire.

“We’re really looking forward to bringing this exhibition to Derbyshire,” said Creative Coverage co-founder Tim Saunders. “We hope that it will be of great interest not just to locals but to the tourists who visit the area over the summer.”

Jill Barthorpe is graduate of Slade School of Art, and won a European scholarship and went to paint in South West France for a year. Returning to London she set up a studio but has always enjoyed a deep connection with the countryside and now works both in London and at her studio in rural Lincolnshire.

“For me the excitement of painting is trying to capture the ‘likeness’ of things without slavish description. Paradoxically I find the most interesting way to carve out this reality is to use objects of an ephemeral nature: trees, clouds, flowers; their constant movement and the passage of the light during the day forces me to make decisions about their essential character and to attempt to draw that, rather than relay on an impression based on the moment. Similarly my approach to colour is to distil the essence and define the point of change rather than model the surface.”

Rob Leckey is an elected associate of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (ARBSA). He is a retired primary school headteacher who has painted all his life.

It is only in recent years that he has concentrated on exhibiting his work. “Primarily I work with acrylic paint and ink, collage and mixed media,” he explained. “The acrylics are applied with rollers, pieces of shaped wood, card and any found materials. Collage materials comprise of torn or shaped tissue paper, newsprint, and magazine illustrations. Details are also added with oil and chalk pastels, pen and ink.” Like many artists Rob’s inspiration comes from the subject matter. He finds experimenting with colour, media and techniques very rewarding.

“By the very nature of how I apply the collage, paint and inks I can never fully predict the outcome,” he says. “Along the way many accidents happen, interesting colours and unique shapes emerge.” Boats and harbours, landscapes, including his native Shropshire, town and cityscapes all provide inspiration for his impressionist style.

Following a career as a freelance ceramic and textile sculptor and teacher, Gillian Radcliffe moved to Derbyshire where she started to paint in watercolour.

“I love travel and I sketch and photograph my subjects, but complete paintings in the studio, where I find emotion recollected brings greater freedom of expression,” says Gillian. “Painting for me has a spiritual dimension, and each work is highly personal.”

A degree in English Literature followed by research on William Blake, a course in arts therapy in education, an interest in Jungian psychology and shamanism, and a lifelong love of music influence the way Gillian approaches her painting.

When Sarah MacDonald moved to BBC Scotland in 1995 she went to the Glasgow School of Art as an evening student and for three years studied the art of black and white photography. “It opened my eyes to the possibilities of pushing photography, an inherently representational art form, towards the abstract,” says Sarah.

“I try, whenever I can to turn the familiar into something unexpected. I took a while to move from film to digital but now I have I am discovering that the developing processes I like best are a continuation of the ones I learnt in the darkroom at the School of Art. As my photography evolves and improves I continue to learn from the greats of the past.”

Brian Holland has recently moved back into the city and is loving the city landscape and the hustle and bustle of people.

“I can’t wait to see how this influences what I make,” he says. “Although I coil and slab build, more and more I feel able to make the minimum intervention into the work, letting the clay do the talking. Whether I am making sculpture or vessels, the physicality of the medium is all.” All the work is stoneware, about 60 per cent wood fired in an anagama kiln to around 1300 degrees Celsius, the firing process influencing surface qualities dramatically. The other 40 per cent is fired either in an electric or gas kiln and utilises lots of glazes and oxides to enliven surfaces.

For more information and to see examples of the exhibitors’ work visit

Two examples of the work of Gill Radcliffe are pictured.