Drawn to Life

An Exhibition of a Life Drawing Class – Redwing Gallery, Penzance 29 May – 12 June, 2019

It’s no secret that behind every successful artist there are hours of hidden practice and bins full of frustrations that never see the light of day. I reluctantly climbed the stairs to the Drawn to Life Exhibition at the Redwing Gallery in Penzance thinking I would see what should have been thrown-away. But I was greeted by an unexpectedly professional exhibition of work completed by members of the Penzance Life Drawing Class. Some of the sketches were hopefully priced and many of the titles of the pieces lacked belief and vitality. However, the main value of the exhibition was contained within works where the artist had taken the basic theme of life drawing and moved with it into a more complex narrative.
Lee Stevenson combined his print-making skills with warm shades of ochre to compose ‘Life Studies’. This is an evocative panorama of kneeling naked figures which conjured thoughts of naked worshippers or meditating monks.
Huw Marshall’s acrylic interpretations of the basic theme were original and eye-catching. His longitudinal work, ’Closer’ (£150) demonstrated maturity and a resolve to develop an exclusive style. Small male and a female, naked figures face each other, forced into close proximity by numerous longitudinal lines which sweep down the canvas. His ability to resolve a theme into a more complex work shone through in the apocalyptic landscape of ‘Still Human’ (£600) where naked humans struggle to resist annihilation.
As a digital artist, Diana Forest’s (aka Gazelle) work sits in a worthy category of its own. Her unique style of combining artistic skill with a mastery of digital media presents us with work where normal boundaries are manipulated to create vibrant, contemporary pieces. The surreal world of ‘Ladies Sleeping Through Tea’ (£169: one of a limited edition of 10 on archive paper) can only make us smile at the idea of naked ladies languishing luxuriously over an innocent cup of tea. Diana’s ability to massage reality transports us into a world where conventional rules no longer apply and where we are forced to consider the exciting potential of this emerging art form.

Sheelagh Barton

volume 34 no 1 September – October 2019 pp 27-28

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