Exhibition Review: Art and Soul ‘Expressions’

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Art & Soul group work – Tree of Recovery

This uplifting show, curated by Mark de Novellis and displayed in the Stables Gallery, within the beautiful grounds of Orleans House in Twickenham, runs for 2 more weeks. Art & Soul’s ‘Expressions’ is well worth a visit, showcasing a selection of around 100 artworks by independent artists, with most pieces for sale, some for as little as £20.

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Ann E Donegan – Turquoise Cat

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Jim Fuller – The Creature

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Moira Morrison – Monet’s Garden

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John Bosher – Colourful Flowers

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George Boxley – Recovery One

A number of the works are remarkably accomplished in the traditional sense, others are imbued with a naïf feel which renders them just as desirable, yet more are plucked straight from their creator’s imagination, raw, unadulterated and compelling – all are full of ‘Expressions’. This is creativity unleashed. As Pablo Picasso said “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” Much of the art on display is refreshingly free from the self-consciousness and strictures which tend to weigh down works destined for more formal galleries and art settings. All credit due to the talented individual creators, and also to the Art & Soul coordinators and volunteers as well as Julia Ruppert, an art therapist who facilitates the sessions, offering extra support where required. As Julia said: “By focussing on process rather than product, we look at removing the pressure to “make art”, encouraging the group to re-discover the stress-releasing properties of the creative process and engage in flow.”

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Simon Raymond – Tree of Good and Evil

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Asha Choudhury – Church Painting

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Win Aldous – Fantasy Ferns

This ethos is reflected in one of the empowering quotes on the Art & Soul website: “Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things” – Ray Bradbury.

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Heather Payne – Daffodils

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Chris Wallis – Sunset

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Nick Farey – Arvo Paint

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Alex Gajowniczek – Seascape

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Ray Heath – Flower Show

   Essentially Art & Soul seems to invite members of the group to relax, to have fun, to explore and to feel engaged. Creating something special appears to be the end result, the icing on the cake and the material for this show.

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Stephen J Graham – No

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Imma Maddox – It’s a Whig

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Jane Horscroft – The Road to Understanding

As one of the artists, also a film maker said: “Art & Soul is a great chance to connect to art and lose yourself in that space. It doesn’t matter what that space is specifically – you get to talk about and explore your creativity as well as build on your skills.” Members, who meet once a week, range in age from 20 to 80 and come from all walks of life.

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The Mayor of Richmond, Councillor Meena Bond opening the show

Richmond Mayor Councillor Meena Bond, who officially opened the exhibition in April said: “Art & Soul’s ‘Expressions’ is incredibly inspiring, so much so in fact that I’m going to buy a piece!”

 One of the most interesting narrative pieces, was the Art & Soul group work (shown in full, top), ‘The Tree of Recovery’, not for sale, a powerful graphic collaboration using collage and words.

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Art & Soul group – Tree of Recovery – detail

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Fazia Kahn – Abstract Pattern

The show is wonderfully diverse, with paintings, paper, textile hangings and 3-D objets. This year it has been dedicated to the memory of Nick Farey – a regular Art & Soul member who sadly passed away in 2013. Folk duo Franklin and multi-talented musician and artist Jun entertained guests at the busy opening which was organised and run by volunteers alongside staff from Orleans House Gallery.

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Ian Leeks Sunset in Paris

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Maria Angel Jackson – Through the Window

With many thanks to photographer Roger Hutchins for the pictures. If you’re in the Richmond / Twickenham / Kingston area make sure you pay a visit and perhaps even invest in one of the works. You would make the artist’s day and what’s more, you might be buying a future ‘Picasso’!

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Cara Lees – African Mask

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James Hatfield – Still Life with Blue Jug

Expressions runs until June 29th at the Stables, Orleans House Gallery, Riverside, Twickenham, TW1 3DJ. Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 1:00 – 5:30; Sunday 2:00- 5:30. Admission is free.

Art & Soul is a member-led organisation of artists from the Richmond Borough and south west London area. Over the last 16 years, the group has promoted and celebrated mental and emotional wellbeing through its biennial exhibitions and art workshops. This vital organisation continues to thrive with funding from Richmond Borough’s Orleans House Gallery and, this year, a grant from the Time to Change campaign, run collaboratively by Rethink Mental Illness and Mind. These are both charities that The Fine Line Project has supported in the past – our first fundraiser was in fact for Richmond Mind who are actively involved with Art & Soul and had a group artwork (below) on display in the show.

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Group work: Graffiti by Ben Rise, Chris Garner, Dean Johnstone, David Blanch, John Henry Nemeth, Karl Micholdson, Kevin Archer, Naser Miscony and Nimalisi Fernando

Find out more about Art & Soul from their website and blog.

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Jonathan Gilbert – Why So Serious?

Text © Emma Boden for The Fine Line Project – Photography © Roger Hutchins – you’re welcome to share the content on these pages provided that you name check and link back to The Fine Line Project. Thank you!

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Mental Wealth

We made some great new friends working on the last music fundraiser.

St Pauls Lifestyle inc OVERGROUND SOUND is a free, independent and ethical multi media magazine. They’ve been described as influential, exciting and vital for musicians. They support striving artists. They’re passionate about music and love comedy. And what’s more they have a refreshingly rational view about mental health and creativity. See what they have to say on their blog:

St Pauls Lifestyle: “We’d like 2013 to be the year that Mental Wealth becomes the slogan for mental illness.”

Right up our street so, guess what? We’re meeting up with the St Pauls Lifestyle team to plan a fundraising gig together and what’s more, we’re heading South to do it. Watch this space for more news!

Creation of an Abstract Mural, Glass, by LaurMG, Creative Commons

Creation of an Abstract Mural, Glass, by LaurMG, Creative Commons

Creativity and Mental Health: New Research

The latest research relating to connections between mental health and creativity has just been referenced on the BBC News site. We’d thought we’d republish a link here.

After a quick straw poll around the office and friends we’re all agreed that everyone has some creativity in them and as mentioned in our About section, we all tread a fine line between wellness and dis-ease, whether we consider ourselves creative or not.

Here’s a link to the BBC news story: Creativity ‘closely entwined with mental illness’ by Michelle Roberts

What do you think?

Since writing this piece we came across the following blog post by Howard Robinson on ‘The Unofficial Blog for Brit Writers and Writers Everywhere!’  It refers to the same research as the BBC and adds some interesting comment to the whole question, from a writer’s perspective. With thanks to Brit Writers and Howard Robinson.

Here’s the link: http:  You don’t have to be mad to be a writer, but maybe it helps!  by Howard Robinson