The Old Mayor’s Parlour has recently reopened its 14th century doors with the Gallery@OMP exhibit titled ‘Seeds of Change’ in The Old Mayor’s Parlour. Various artists have come together in personal reflection, creating works inspired by a rapidly changing world, one in which humans and wildlife must co-exist in habitats affected by quickly shifting climates, and the rise of technology affecting industries such as the book industry, that has been markedly affected by the Kindle takeover.
Whether expressed by upcycling old books into beautiful, delicate pieces of art, capturing our diminishing wildlife and plant life in its natural habitat, or reminding us that our local landscapes are in danger of disappearing and documenting them thoughtfully for future generations, the message of this exhibit is provocative.
This exhibit closes April 24th…you have plenty of time for an enlightening appearance
Upon entering the room with its beautiful carved white ceiling reflecting light in such a way that created a natural illuminated canvas for the artists works on display in cohesion with the sunshine streaming through the windows, I was instantly drawn to Vanessa Pomeroy’s moody landscape paintings.
Giving her paintings title’s such as ‘Autumn Light’, ‘Bright Light After Rain’, and various other titles that capture the metamorphosis of atmospheric intervals and reflections of light in the surrounding Herefordshire countryside and Welsh mountainous borders, I suddenly felt a trigger of familiar sensations, as if I had stood in that same very place before soaking up the light and scenery. I have often said, the light in Hereford is what drew me to it, and keeps me here.
My time in the gallery was graciously hosted by ‘artist in residence’, Rob Parkin, whose paintings had a larger then life presence to them, much like himself. Rob builds nature reserves and paints around the inspiration he encounters doing such a noble deed. Many wildlife habitats have been destroyed by man aggressively expanding into their territory, and it is up to conservationists like Rob Parkin, and local wildlife trusts to find these displaced creatures a formidable habitat to thrive in before becoming extinct.
His travels as an artist have led him to British Columbia, a part of the world that has made a huge impact on his art. I was taken aback by a brown grizzly bear coming out of hibernation, painted on a large canvas, looking minuscule against the enormous mountainous surroundings he was rendered into, yet being very much a huge part of the story. This painting titled ‘Almost Time’ is set during the melt when the sun is high in the sky and the winter has come to an end. He includes various styles of art in the exhibit, he is even illustrating a book at the moment. You can also watch him paint live on the premises.
Nicola Jedrzejczak, a recent Hereford College of the Arts graduate, takes old Warne’s The Observer’s Books and carefully crafts them into 3D sanctuary’s of art, often in relation to the subjects selected in the book. These have a Victorian appeal to me, as if one was a collector of butterfly species proudly boasting them in a study, yet Nicola meticulously hand cuts the pages of this series of books, forgotten by time and the digital age, with intricate detail and sculpts beautiful moths, butterflies, ferns and pampus grasses out of each delicate page. That is only naming a few. She has produced a large collection and is constantly inspired and creating beautiful sculptures to exhibit. She is definitely an artist to watch.
Emma Cownie’s paintings have tremendous visual impact and are done in a wet on wet linear style. They are painted on both larger and smaller canvases, and each piece is as vibrant as the next. Her choice of colours represent mother earth in all her glory. She tends to go for more exaggerated hues that make the paintings appear more surreal; it is what makes these paintings memorable. She also did a seasonal series with a viewpoint from Symond’s Yat, a place of natural beauty. The paintings that stood out to me were ‘The Mossy Beach’, ‘Down by Killy Willy’ and ‘Pennard Pill’ on the larger canvases. I pictured her sitting amongst all that beauty painting away in her unique sense of reality. I would be surprised if she didn’t sell one of her pieces at this exhibit. They are quite grand.
On display as well is a beautiful selection of Tony Hall’s earthenware. He used a slip-carved technique in his ‘Ceres Goddess of the Harvest’ collection that could have come to us from an ancient archaeological dig. He also used a wood ash glaze on some of his pieces. Pottery is one of my favourite artistic mediums to collect, and if my finances were better, I would have walked away with the ‘Inomi’ mugs, which I pictured myself drinking green tea or warm sake out of …yes, an abundant amount of sake to be exact.
Lastly, Ken Eastman’s slab stone earthenware took my mind many places. I was trying to work out these blue, gray, and brown moulded sculptures with titles such as ‘The Widths of Years’, ‘Intimate Country’ and ‘Body and Soul’. They felt personal, and really we can only interpret others works how we see them, which is what most artists usually hope for, but I would have loved a chat with Ken to learn more about these mysterious pieces.
I highly recommend you make a special appearance, as you are a special person, and soak in some beautiful art and light. This exhibit closes on April 24th.
Photography by Nicola Jedrzejczak
The Old Mayor’s Parlour, 23 Church Street, Hereford HR1 2LR
Gallery@OMP Exhibit from March 29-April 24
Opening Hours Monday-Saturday 10:00-17:00 Sunday 11:00-16:00
Gallery @Night Thursday until 20:00