Guardian Guide, Sat 9 August, 2014
With a limited visual vocabulary of distressed paint and masking-tape precision, Kerri Pratt makes up distinctive cityscapes. There are few topographical features and no glimmers of the picturesque in her utterly deserted vistas. Yet there are dizzying rooftop perspectives, windows opening on to impenetrable darkness, and searchlights traversing an acidic gloom. One might take her images to be geometric semi-abstractions if it were not for the artist painstakingly scraping away at every surface to conjure the wear and tear of real-life experience.
Guardian Guide, Sat 3 May, 2014
Sheffield’s Grade II*-listed Park Hill flats are in the process of being reassessed as a modernist treasure. Yet, as the concrete blocks await gentrification, there is the danger of their brutalist grandeur being aesthetically dissolved. The Sheffield-based artist Mandy Payne recognises this in Between Places And Spaces, a series of unforgiving paintings of the flats. Payne often paints directly with aerosols on to concrete. Her compositions – bold arrangements of blank-faced geometric walls, empty windows and deserted walkways – similarly pull no pictorial punches.
Guardian Guide, Sat 8 March, 2014
Dermot Punnett overlays abstract forms on to recognisable landscapes to turn them into places of obscurity and intrigue. Woodland undergrowth is superimposed with mysterious geometric diagrams as if to point out some inscrutable meaning. He uses oil on canvas to precisely delineate mountainsides and treetops then resorts to what he calls “dragging techniques” to warp the viewer’s perspective. A mass of dots haunts the skyline like a flock of digitised starlings. A jungle is infiltrated by a framework of classical columns. The colours tend towards the aquatic: turquoise, deep blue, acidic green.
Guardian Guide, Saturday 1st June 2013
Tom Pitt stood out in last year’s prestigious Liverpool John Moores Painting Prize exhibition for his modest-sized yet engagingly mysterious image of a flight of steps seemingly suspended in an abstract void. This, his first solo show, should further establish his reputation as a painter of illusionistic intrigues. Working on board, he builds up subtly coloured surfaces in layers that are often sanded and scraped back to evoke the wear and tear of time passing. Pitt sets up perspectives that trick our eyes into believing these are three-dimensional views, although the places he pictures remain virtually abstract in their lack of familiar props. There are unmistakable paths, passages and gate-like structures but the overall atmosphere is of a disorienting dream.”
Galleries Magazine, October 2012
Over the last decade or so Nick Hedderly has become one of the most successful artists working in the East Midlands, winning open art ehibitions in Nottingham and Derby with his atmospherically charged and intensely painterly cityscapes and his solo show at the enterprising Tarpey Gallery in nearby Castle Donington makes it very clear is in no way undeserved. For these are quiet, thoughtful works, full of an understanding of the way buildings and cityscapes become, as he himself puts it, “a repository of so many of our feelings and memories.”
Guardian Guide, Saturday 11 August 2012
The enterprising Tarpey Gallery launches its annual Platform series, conceived to give some deserved exposure to recent graduates, with this show of 3D works that play reflectively on traditions and conventions of sculpture. Krystina Naylor has said that “either the object itself or its situation should feel slightly odd.” She tricks the eye into perceiving solid objects and empty spaces where there are only flat surfaces coated with what she has called “collage skin”. Alongside, the basic engineering paraphernalia of clamps, rulers and spirit levels form the building blocks of Christopher Brooke’s sculptural assemblages – self-portraits of sculptures rather than sculptors.
Tarpey Gallery, to 1 Sep
Guardian Guide, Saturday 30 June 2012
Denise Weston’s oil-painted portraits of “girls”, many apparently now much older, reveal all the psychological disorientations of memory filtered through the family photo album. This is surely not how her subjects remember themselves, nor how they truly felt at the time, and that’s the point; there’s an overriding sense of awkwardness. Their doll eyes are staring and scary, their grins forced, the skin tones shaded towards pallid blues. These are not facades faked for the camera. Rather, they touch a nerve that all family albums are surely meant to gloss over.
Tarpey Gallery, Castle Donington, nr Derby, to 4 Aug; Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham, to 19 Aug
Guardian Guide, Pick of the week, Saturday 28 January 2012
While best Known for his public art commissions, these are late smaller-scale abstract sculptures and drawings that show Mason at his most soulfully resonant.
Tarpey Gallery, Castle Donington
Guardian Guide, Saturday 21 January 2012
While Paul Mason is perhaps still best known for his civic commissions, this first show of his work since his untimely death in 2006 will reveal an artist of far wider creative range than could have been imagined. These stone sculptures, set alongside drawings and paintings on paper, embody an utter delight in the natural form. Mason was the real thing: he reminds us that the artifices of creativity can work with the most original impulses of nature. While working in a tradition of organic abstraction that stretched from Hans Arp’s surreal intoxications to Henry Moore’s sobrieties, Mason’s works disarm with more resonance than is typical of this strand of British back-to-nature modernism.
Tarpey Gallery, Castle Donington, to 25 Feb
Galleries Magazine, October 2011
On 5 October the Mall Galleries, we’ll know who won one of this year’s richest art prizes, the Threadneedle Prize for painting and sculpture. Given that she has been named as one of the seven shortlisted artists (4,350 submitted) the Tarpey Gallery in Castle Donington Leicestershire will be hoping that it turns out to be one of ‘their’ artists Sarah R Key, to whom,they are giving a solo show this month. In any event it is a remarkable achievement for such a comparatively new (2009) and, if they will forgive me, non-metropolitan gallery – and for the artist too, of course. Fingers crossed.
Guardian Guide, Saturday 27 August 2011
Marek Tobolewski’s exhibition is titled Sym, with individual paintings and drawings going under names such as 2LC DipSym Neg and 1LC SymM+R. The fact that such designations come across as suggestive of cryptic or downright impenetrable technical formulae to most of us might stress the artist’s apparent reliance on precise systems of procedure, but this in no way distracts from the work’s enduring enigmatic lure. Tobolewski might skirt dangerously close to the kind of spaced-out geometric mannerisms that, in a less sensitive artist, would betray a paperback misreading of the cosmic implications of chaos theory. Yet his is a rare skill in being able to make such references at the same time as imbuing every one of his swirling lines with a highly personal lyrical grace. This is art that comes over all joyous although it has obviously been achieved through sustained reflective struggle.
Tarpey Gallery, to 24 Sep
Galleries Magazine, July 2011
In an area (just south of Derby and Nottingham) not exactly awash with top-class commercial galleries and at a difficult time like the present moment, the opening of the Tarpey Gallery in the small town of Castle Donington in late 2009, has been a cause for some celebration. For this is a large, light and beautifully converted space dedicated to showing top-class uncompromisingly contemporary work. The current show, by David Manley, a distinguished former Dean of Faculty at Derby University, is no exception. Entitled From the Earth Wealth it consists of 45 small abstract images that draw their inspiration from 45 settlements in North-West Leicestershire where he lives. Starting from photographs taken in each of these locations, Manley consistently achieves rich, densely atmospheric works unmistakably imbued with a very personal sense of place – a powerful modern reworking, in effect, of the English romantic idea of genius loci.
Guardian Guide, Saturday 7 May 2011
Simon Withers refers to these oil on canvas paintings as “absent landscapes”. The organic marks of the rural landscape are all there: wisps of wind-blown clouds, azure and stormy black skies, sunny daylight and nocturnal moonlight. Yet such reassuringly tranquil and romantically turbulent background settings are inhabited by a series of maroon and black horizontal daubs that appear to have drifted in from one of Mark Rothko’s abstracts. Withers’s blunt stripes seem to levitate like painterly UFOs; the picturesque scenes drained of all topographical detail and infiltrated by alien geometries. The effect is somehow soothing yet inescapably unsettling.
Tarpey Gallery, to 28 MayRobert Clarke
Guardian Guide, Saturday 30 October 2010
‘s new set of collaged prints, The Eye Of Time Rewrites History, is the second in her ongoing series Portraits Without Pictures, Sound Without Noise. Ainley’s work tends towards the poetic and enigmatic, more obliquely evocative than clearly descriptive. She has a distinct taste for the conjuring of objects that have a unique drawing power but which frustrate any attempt at prosaic interpretation. She goes in for empty frames and blank mirrors, and contraptions that hint at the potential for creative sound rather than producing actual audible music. The raw materials for her collages were sourced from old catalogue illustrations for barbershop supplies, lab equipment and Army & Navy stores. The antiquated engravings excavate the surreal formalities of barely obscured collective memories of railway station clocks, starched collars and cutthroat razors.
Tarpey Gallery, to 4 Dec