Same as last year I’m celebrating my Birthday with an exhibition… A bit short notice but I’ve been MAD busy with Chester Art Festival! It’s been a massive success and now I can concentrate on my own art and not Pablo Picasso:)
The Illusory Temptations of the Subconscious Self-Doubts is an exhibition of my abstract art photography and has NOT been planned. Improvisation in its purest form it will give you a bit of insight into the world of illusions, reflections, shadows and rays of sunlight.
Looking forward to seeing everybody at Chester Art Centre this Saturday, 13 October for a few Birthday drinks and some of my abtracts. Hope you like them!
P.S. The name of the exhibition has no deeper meaning or grandiose message behind it. It’s just me trying to seem clever:)
Neil Kendall has been established on the worldwide Vintage Photography scene since 1990. He currently lives in Chester.
He is known internationally as an award-winning photographer shooting campaigns for such celebrities as Dita Von Teese who called him ‘’a genuine talent ‘’. And underground heroes such as Violet Chachki, a recent winner of RuPauls Drag race in America .
In 2018 He was voted National Vintage Photographer of the Year and Number One Burlesque Figure in the World in the international Burlesque top fifty poll.
His Portraits are inspired by his love of Hollywood and each set is a miniature production. Often working with local Chester Artist Russell Kirk and Painter Mark Bell.
My portraits are as much about placing my sitter in an fantasy, a magical world. I want my sitters to have the old Master treatment as I often find them so Royal and aristocratic to shoot. I want my subject s,who are often other worldly to recline and pose in miniature worlds which match their own inimitable aesthetics and ultimately create vintage inspired but uniquely charming portraits.
The Exhibition will spring to life on August 11th at St Mary’s Centre with a live Cabaret featuring Burlesque and Boylesque from around the World at St Mary’s Centreto coincide with Chester Pride.
A focus of this exhibition is on artists who are part of the international Lesbian, Gay and Trans communities and Neil Kendall is proud to be associated in partnership with Chester Pride on August 11th.
The exhibition will run from 2 August until 15 August.
We look forward to seeing you at the private view on 2 August between 6.30 PM and 9 PM for a couple of glasses of wine and some amazing images!
The Unwrapped Exhibition will feature Gary Sheridan’s two most recent bodies of work from 2017 and 2018 entitled “Cluedo” and the aptly named “Unwrapped” series.
The Cluedo series of images explores the fragility and value of life. Not only how society values life but how we can value our own lives.
Inspired by William Blake’s poem The Fly, this piece flips the characters role in the board game Cluedo on its head, the living (the suspects in the murder of Mr Black in Cluedo) are the dead in this series, “My thoughtless hand has brushed away” William Blake.
The series juxtaposes the beauty of life and the seduction of aesthetics with death scenes, flipping the mind between one and the other in a blink of an eye, just as life can become death.
Thy summer’s play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.
Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?
For I dance
And drink, and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.
If thought is life
And strength and breath
And the want
Of thought is death;
Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.
In the Unwrapped series of images Gary uses similar technique and style to that in the Cluedo series, but even more vibrant, beautiful and provocative images with a vein of humour (awkward) to portray how in the perfect world, life should feel. He draws on fashion styled and cinematic scenarios/stills to ask the spectator to imagine what led to these imaginary moments in time. They tell a story of breakdowns and depression, which is often an awkward subject to discuss, but whilst it has been a subject rarely discussed there has been a steady increase in suicides worldwide over the past 45 years. Till we have got to the point where there are 50% more suicides than there were 45 years ago (reported by the World Health Organisation). We need to discuss what is happening to a world where 50% more people don’t want to live in it.
It was whilst studying photography at the University of Wolverhampton in the UK that Gary found his passion for conceptual photography. His work draws on personal experience and a natural inquisitiveness in human behaviour.
He constructs (often building sets in his studio) a series of work from a concept, such as in his recent work – Cluedo, or he will see images in everyday life that speaks volumes to him, such as the piece Arbitrate. Whichever method of construction he uses, he intends the images to be multi-layered and engage the viewer thoughtfully not just aesthetically. His work is vibrant, beautiful and seductive with a vein of humour that runs through its body, just as life should be, yet life is often not a bed of roses and Gary’s work reveals a troubled society.
We look forward to seeing you for the private view on 12 July between 7 PM and 9 PM.
The exhibition will run until 24 July.
A Trick Of The Light is an exhibition of Chester Photography exhibition by Sid Turner, who specialises in black and white photography and captures those magical moments of life turning them into unforgettable memories.
‘As Lennon sang, “There are places I’ll remember…”
I have been visiting Chester and taking photographs for a long time, consider for a moment the act of taking a photograph, to capture the fleeting moment .
Freezing images from reality is not reality , it is an abstraction that echoes the reality we experience. We see in colour, it is a dominant dimension which can over-ride what lies beneath, no colour is one more level of abstraction allowing us to see with new eyes
B&W photography lends itself to abstract realism—the emphasis on pure form, pure shape, line and contour, then contrast, tone and texture, images can be strong, high contrast and powerful – or they can be so soft, gentle and subtle, it lends a certain timeless quality to the images. Black and white images are paradoxically more evocative than colour, they stimulate a faster onrush of memories because less has been given, more has been left out…you have to fill in the blanks yourself
Where better to practice this art than Chester, the black & white city?’
The exhibition will run between 22 March and 9 April.
Join us for some amazing Chester Photography, a glass of wine and meet the artist on 23 March between 6.30 and 8.30 PM!
Capturing both familiar local landscapes and the people & places of less familiar world, this diverse, thought provoking retrospective, draws upon work previously exhibited in London, New York and Singapore.
In this first of a two part series, Andy W Langton, puts pen to paper and takes us on a visit to Burma’s Rivers & Roads Less Traveled.
I had spent the previous month in the remote hills of Northern Thailand photographing the indigenous tribes, many of whom had fled Burma over the last 30 years to avoid persecution, resettlement and civil war to forge a new life.
Initially, I was hoping to cross the border at Mae Sai into Burma’s Shan State but no such luck. Whilst access to this amazing country is rapidly opening-up, the crossing north of Chiang Rai was still closed to foreigners. Instead of a few miles into Burma I chose to take a 450mile bus ride to Bangkok and a 600mile flight to Mandalay. From Mandalay, we were to be picked up by our contact and driven overnight to Lashio, the largest of the towns in northern Shan State.
For the first week of the trip, I would be taking along Jonas, a 22year old German gap year student from Kiel on Germany’s Baltic coast. He had been working with IMPECT, (Inter Mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand), as a teacher for the previous 9 months and had accompanied me on most of the field trips over my time in the Thai highlands.
I got the distinct feeling that the relationship between China and the Burma’s military junta was beginning to wane. I could see that China’s exploitation was on a huge scale, with little of the benefits filtering down to the general population.
Bordering China, Shan State carried the bulk of the trade between the two countries and if Burma was a lush garden of rich pickings, China’s presence akin to a plague of locust, consuming everything that lay before them.
Bumper to bumper trucks and lorries made their way up the steep mountain pass to reach the Shan plateau, making our progress very slow. Upon reaching the top around 2am, headlights from the hundreds of vehicles created a giant illuminated serpent upon which Burma’s food produce and considerable natural resources would exit the country.
Arriving in Lashio we spent the first night and the following day with our contacts. With no food and little water to drink or wash, their situation was a day-to-day challenge. When staying with them began to attract attention, we decided to stay the second night in a nearby hotel catering for Chinese businessmen to minimize the chance of getting picked up.
Whilst in Lashio, we were to visit nearby villages, a visit to Nam Kyan monastery orphanage was to have the greatest impact on me.
Founded and run by head monk U Sasana, this was one of two centers established to provide education, and in the case of Nam Kyan, a home for Burma’s less fortunate children.
The first thing that struck me was how happy the children were. With no immediate family and few material possessions, the children relied on the monastery for all things. Food would come from alms collected from nearby villages and local women would prepare food in the kitchen attached to the schoolhouse. From private overseas donations, work had already started on a larger, better equipment schoolhouse with the stone for the foundations coming from the nearby quarry.
An hour’s journey away and we had arrived at U Sasana’s second project, a newly constructed timber built schoolhouse that provided education to children from the surrounding villages. Under the shade of a Banyan tree in the school yard, U Sasana sat and reluctantly agreed to have his photograph taken before I joined a group of young Monks in the field at the back of the monastery.
From Lashio we were to take the early bus, which left a few hours before dawn, heading to the higher hills and more remote villages and monasteries. The steep and twisting mountain roads left little margin for error, eventually reaching Namshan and its single guesthouse as a thick mist of low cloud descended to accompany the torrential rain.
Reminding me of the Himalayan town of Darjeeling, the narrow single high street of timber houses ran for about ¼ mile until it abruptly stopped. A devastating fire the year before had destroyed a large section of the upper high street as strong winds fanned the flames that tore through the tinder dry houses. An appeal had been made throughout Shan state and enough money collected from other villages to rebuild, this time in brick and concrete. Towards the highest section of the town, Namshan monastery appeared out of the mist as we made our way up the hill.
As a reminder that we were in country in the grip of civil war, an open truck loaded with Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) soldiers drove past belching diesel fumes. As the truck mounted machine gun was swung in my direction it sent a clear message that they were in control of this particular place and taking a photograph wasn’t the best decision. There’s a time and a place for pointing a camera, this wasn’t one. To the North in Kachin State, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) where in the midst of savage fighting with government troops. Rarely if ever reported to the outside world a chance meeting with a British conflict photographer a few days earlier had given me an insight into what was going on. His beaten up Nikon and the look you get when you’ve been in a war zone for a year said as much as his grim accounts.
Towards the highest section of the town, Namshan monastery appeared out of the mist. Probably due to the rain, which was now bouncing off the ground, the monastery appeared to be deserted. Eventually we located the Abbot and asked if we could take a look around, Jonas stayed and joined the Abbot for tea whilst I continued to have a look around. A large dormitory was located at the far end of the courtyard, I knocked on the door and waited.
As the double doors opened, a group of novice monks came to see who the stranger was. Inside, single beds lined the long narrow dormitory and all eyes were immediately on me, the whole place then irrupted in excitement. Taking a packet of boiled sweets out of my bag brought from Singapore there was soon a mad scramble.
In the doorway, umbrellas stood in a large earthenware pot. By now the monsoon rain was so heavy that torrents poured off the roofs and through the gaps between the buildings. Gesturing for them to come outside they eventually ventured out and the courtyard became a waterpark in the torrential rain.
With the boys heading back inside to change into dry robes I joined Jonas and the Abbot for some tea. As with monk U Sasana, the Abbots English was flawless and we chatted about everything from Premier league football to Aung San Suu Kyi.
We had been told that further up the valley, beyond some truly enormous Banyan tree’s, stood Zetonhone monastery. Our arrival would correspond with the new moon on the 16th and herald the start of Kason Nyaung Ye Thun, Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and passing to Nirvana.
Arriving unannounced, we were immediately greeted as special guests and made to feel at home whilst daily life continued as normal. The monks continued with building improvements, novice monks had their lessons with meditation and prayers throughout the day. During recreational time, novice monks played football and Chin Lone (kick volleyball), whilst the older monks walked around the hillside tea gardens that surrounded the monastery on all sides. After the communal dinner we climbed the hill overlooking the monastery and watched a fiery red sun go down, silhouetting the Stupas to make a perfect sunset.
Our return journey to Lashio, although downhill all the way, was a much more uncomfortable experience. The bus we had paid for never arrived which meant a 7hr journey in a cattle truck with 50 others which was the more common mode of transport.
With no perceptible suspension and poor brakes, the journey did have its moments of excitement. After about 4 hours we eventually stopped for a welcome break. By this time, I was having difficulty in bending my back and as we walked around the front of the truck Jonas dropped his wallet. Bending down to pick it up, I used the open cab of the truck as a support as a gust of wind slammed the door on the back of my hand. Thrusting the wallet at Jonas, I continued walking telling him I was going to the roadside bathroom, a few steps later I passed out.
Flat on my back on the mountain road, traffic drove around the star shaped foreigner. Jonas had seen me and assumed I was stretching out my back and went off to get some noodles for breakfast. Sometime later I began to hear birdsong and could see blurred figures looking down at me ‘Sir, truck leaving’. Struggling to my feet I headed back and met Jonas who still hadn’t realised I wasn’t stretching out my back, or taking a roadside nap.
Picking up some of the luggage we had left at the Lashio safe house we boarded the overnight bus to Rangoon, a more comfortable 13hour journey lay ahead. Jonas was to catch his flight back to Bangkok and I was heading off to Sittwe on Burma’s west coast for the next stage of my journey along Burma’s Rivers & Roads Less Traveled’.
Andy’s exhibition will run from 4 May until 15 May – make sure it’s in your diary! 🙂
‘Light & Sound’ will be featuring pieces ranging from those taken at Clonter Opera Theatre ( https://www.clonter.org/ ), such as some of the UK and Europe’s finest emerging opera stars, or of London’s internationally celebrated Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club’s House Band & Friends; to those at Jazz & Blues Festivals; or intimate settings with musicians and friends gathering to share songs, stories, and poems at folk sessions and sing-a-rounds; or those which capture audience members and their very personal dialogue with music and life – the ‘Light & Sound’ exhibition showcases the diversity & richness of Jack’s musical portraiture, in which there is such movement throughout, and at the same time, a beautiful sense of stillness, love, tenderness, light, joy, and above all, humanity within.
Jack Thompson is an emerging, largely self-taught photographer and painter, based in Cheshire.
As a portraitist first and foremost, exploring the space in which interaction, dialogue and exchange takes place; the relation and interplay between, is primarily the inspiration and intentionality behind his work.
Not being able to afford expensive equipment, tools and materials, his practice; the way he makes art has necessarily required simplicity in approach. He responds to, captures and represents something of the essence of an experience; what is seen and felt, with honesty and sincerity.
Late 2016 saw Jack being offered what, for him, was a ‘chance of a lifetime’ opportunity by Clonter Opera Theatre, to take up a Photographer-In-Residence appointment. This has been a wonderfully suited and fitting role in which to further explore the human condition, to hone his skills, and develop his practice situated in the context of music performance and theatre.
In this role he has photographed, or is due to photograph, amongst others, internationally celebrated musicians such as London’s Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club’s House Band & Friends; Colum Sands featuring special guests Brennan and Buchanan; and some of the UK and Europe’s finest emerging opera stars at the outset of their professional careers. He has also had the honour and privilege to photograph far more intimate music events at Clonter Opera Theatre. For example, those at which residents of local care homes, those living with severe health conditions, and carers were invited to enjoy afternoon tea with live music by Flossie Malavialle and Friends.
With Jack’s strong humanitarian, respectful and holistic approach, and passion for nurturing and enabling independence and growth in others, he is thoroughly embracing and enjoying this opportunity at Clonter Opera Theatre, who, both as an organisation and charity, also passionately believes in the development and education of young people, and in enabling them to realise their potential.
The exhibition will run from October 24 until November 14 with the preview night taking place on Thursday the 26th of October at 6.30 PM!
Join us for some amazing photography, meet Jack and many of those amazing people, whose stories Jack tells us with his pictures.
All proceeds from the sales will be donated to the following charities / non-profit charitable organisations:
Clonter Farm Music Trust ( https://www.clonter.org/about-clonter/clonter-opera/ )
Cheshire Arts For Health ( http://cheshireartsforhealth.org.uk/ )
Marie Curie Cance Care ( https://www.mariecurie.org.uk/ )
Pretty much everyone who has ever visited Chester Art Centre will have met me – I am usually the one hosting art exhibitions, organizing stuff, running around and figuring things out. Most of you will have asked me at some point if I did any art myself and I will have answered, “I do a bit of art photography, but I don’t have much time to do my own art because I’m always so busy”.
Well, actually, I have been doing quite a lot of art photography in the past couple of years as it turned out! In between the exhibitions, my 2 businesses and everyday life I have managed to snap away somehow. I have been doing some group shows now and again but not solos. And now this is finally happening! I have decided to celebrate my Birthday in style, with my art exhibition preview, to which you are of course invited! It’s hard to believe that the gallery will be filled with my own pictures next month as I honestly couldn’t imagine that I’d have time to plan everything and to do it properly. As a matter of fact, I don’t… :). But I’m doing my best with the time given…
‘Labyrinth’ is an exhibition showcasing some of my favourite pictures. I tend to dislike a lot of my photography and always think that I could have done better. I will let you know if I ever do – but for now, you are welcome to come and see my crazy world captured through a lens of a camera and printed on the finest quality Giclee printer (which we’ve got right here!) as I see it every day. I hope you will like it or at least find it interesting! My exhibition will run from the 10th until the 19th of October.
A special THANK YOU goes to Bryn Sutcliffe and Mark Edmonds, who have been encouraging me to keep doing art (sometimes even forcing me slightly – Bryn! Naughty!). You most probably have met them too – Bryn is our artist in residence and master framer and Mark exhibits his beautiful art with us, sometimes helps around the gallery and paints our walls from time to time! They have been incredibly supportive and enthusiastic about my pictures and without them two, I probably wouldn’t have had taken that many photos and definitely wouldn’t have been exhibiting now. Love you guys! The rest of Chester Art Centre crew have been fantastic too – cheers everyone for your support and for believing in me! 🙂
So, yes, it is happening. Save the date and join us all at Chester Art Centre for a few Birthday drinks, Italian nibbles and some arty photos on the 14th of October between 5 PM and 9.30 PM! I really look forward to seeing you there.
A path is a good starting point both physically and mentally for anyone.
As a collaboration of artists; Natalie, John and Keith, working in different media we feel that this is also a good starting point for our first joint project.
The subject also allows us to go off on other tangents to explore how we can each portray our own responses.
We feel that this collaboration of emotion, expression and observation is more than the sum of it’s parts and that Fine Art and Photography have influenced and involved us together throughout the project.
Natalie McGahan – Fine Art
I am a lover of Art and the Arts. Painting and generally creating are very important to me and when I’m not creating for long periods of time it gets to me.
My work, whether it be my own work or commissions, is all emotion based. I like to feel what my senses are feeling and put it into my work.
I am a single mother of one – my daughter being my greatest creation to date.
My work is mostly murals and portraits and human interest is always important to me.
I don’t like to talk too much about my work. I like people to make of it what they wish.
John Petch – Fine Art
I began painting in the mid-1960s. Moving from Op Art to Geometrical Abstraction. Trained to teach art in Liverpool working in a number of Merseyside schools until retiring, my work is characterised by boldness of colour and shape, painting in acrylic mainly on canvas. I paint what interests me.
My previous work investigates the relationship between line and space in the urban landscape with a series of hard edge paintings in a minimalist abstracted purist form having recognisable architectural elements. It is the exploration of how light reflects and interacts from the viewer’s perspective.
I was recently commissioned by the band ‘Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’ to produce paintings to be used on the sleeve of their forthcoming studio album ‘Punishment of Luxury’ to be released 1st September 2017 and single releases from the album.
At present I have four paintings being exhibited in the Liverpool Art Fair, on display until 10th September at the Pier Head Village, Liverpool.
To view my portfolio, find out more or contact visit www.johnpetch.com
Keith Wilkinson – Photography
I have always loved photography and use it to express my interpretation of the world around me.
It is fascinating to me that a photograph has content informed by a point of view, but is, in itself, a slice of time, and a managed slice of time at that.
From the aspect of the photograph there is no before, no after, and nothing outside the boundaries of the frame.
My ‘point of view’ in this project was to record within this frame, peoples’ relationship with paths, from their physical presence to the evidence of their prior passage coupled with a feeling of the geometry of the built environment.
The exhibition will run for 3 weeks in total until the 24th of August, do not miss!