Open Art 24

June 28, 2024


Tameside's much-anticipated annual Open Art exhibition returned to Astley Cheetham Art Gallery in Stalybridge. Officially opened by the Mayor on 22 June, this year's exhibition showcases over 90 remarkable artworks created by local residents. From vibrant paintings and intricate drawings, to striking prints and evocative photographs, the exhibition offers a wide variety of artistic expression. It also features beautifully crafted embroidery, ceramics, and wood carvings, highlighting the diverse talents of the Tameside community. Many of the artworks are for sale, offering visitors the chance to acquire a piece for their own walls while supporting the local art scene. The exhibition runs until 28 September.

This year's collection is particularly impressive, with contributions from artists of all ages and backgrounds, and visitors can expect to see a wide variety of styles and mediums. Here are a select few who describe their artworks in their own words.

Koi Symphony by Wing Yi Cheung

First-time exhibitor Wing Yi Cheung’s painting, titled Koi Symphony, is a deeply personal image reflecting the artist’s life and work: “As a newcomer to the UK from Hong Kong and a biomedical scientist, I find inspiration in the koi fish, revered in Asian cultures for their ability to thrive in diverse environments.” He adds, “The swirling water and vibrant colours reflect my journey of adapting to a new country and profession, navigating challenges, and connecting with local communities.” 

Enimatic View by Martin Palmer

Martin Palmer has been a regular contributor to the Open Art exhibition for many years. He usually produces paintings of local scenes but this year has experimented with different styles. He says that his painting titled Enigmatic View is a geometric exercise in the manner of the Italian surrealist artist Giorgio De Chirico. “I played around with the perspective, the lighting, the textures and the illusional aspect, in order to create a faintly unusual, vaguely surrealist atmosphere”.

Breton Women at a Pardon by Martin Palmer

His second painting is entirely different - a copy of Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret’s 1887 painting Breton Women at a Pardon. “This is a copy of a painting I saw in London around 45 years ago,” he says. “From time to time, I attempt to do straightforward and painstaking copies of great paintings. I do this in order to study the work more intensely and find out as much as I can about how the artists made their work and achieved certain effects, by intense scrutiny of the image.”

The Mended Vase by Eva Thomas

Eva Thomas’ embroidery titled ‘The Mended Vase’ explores the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery known as Kintsugi. It’s the process of mending cracks with metallic lacquer but, as Eva explains, “it’s not hiding the cracks, but the repair celebrates the history and continued usage of the vessel. It’s an old form of upcycling. Similarly, I enjoy upcycling old, vintage fabrics in my art pieces. I treasure the high-quality fabrics I inherited from my mum and grandma who both worked as seamstresses. I hand dye and print on these fabrics to create unique contemporary art.” 

Spalted Beech Hollowed Bowl by Andrew Knowles

Andrew Knowles has submitted a bowl hollowed from spalted beech. As he explains, “spalted timber covers a wide range of characteristics, arising from the fungal attack of the timber during the very early stages of decay. Turning spalted beech is always a joy to work with, as the hidden treasure of the spalted patterns and interesting figuring of the grain are always different in every piece, enabling the wood turning to exhibit the grain and orientations within the tree.”

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