A Solo Touring Exhibition by Bradford Museums and Galleries 2010 - 2013supported by The Arts Council of England and Musems Libraries & Archives
|Approach to Gallery II, Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, © Pip Dickens|
You can view the exhibition on You Tube page at : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxA05Tq3Scw
About the ExhibitionRetrospective in format, the common theme presented is the dramatic relationship we have between light and darkness expressed through a diverse range of contexts and methodologies.
Subject matter ranges from cinematic formats (eg. Cinemascope, Todd AO), classical literature and films (King Kong, Great Expectations, Rebecca) to the 'Space Race', chandeliers, fabrics, ribbons and lace.
|'Miss Havisham II', oil on canvas, 152cm x 152 cm, © Pip Dickens|
Their distinctness belies a common exploration through the darkness toward illumination, sometimes physical sometimes metaphysical... in the SPACE RACE drawings silver birch trees yearn for the moon...
|'Crash and Burn I', SPACE RACE series of drawings, charcoal on paper, © Pip Dickens|
...unknown presences hide behind lace veils...
|'Miss Havisham I', oil on canvas, Private Collection © Pip Dickens|
The Wonder of Cliffe Castle
Part of my Residency and commission for the 'Toward the Light' exhibition involved a number of visits to Cartwright Hall Art Gallery's sister museum, Cliffe Castle (note: it is currently closed for refurbishment but due to re-open its doors in 2013), in 2009.
My attention was caught by a most wonderful collection of very ostentatious early 19th Century French chandeliers...
|One of the beautiful chandeliers at Cliffe Castle |
© Pip Dickens
|chandelier at Cliffe Castle |
© Pip Dickens
|Each chandelier is bursting with beads, flowers, orbs, droplets and all manner of crystals. © Pip Dickens|
|Detail shot of chandelier at Cliffe Castle
© Pip Dickens|
All of these chandeliers were sold off in the 1950s but, amazingly, were found, re-purchased and re-installed when the house was taken over by Bradford Museums and Galleries. Quite a story and one which made me curious to know where the chandeliers had gone for all of those years away from their original home...
The chandeliers became the focus of a new series of 'Chandelier' paintings that were incorporated into the 'Toward the Light' touring exhibition.
|Again, quickly rendered sketches in coloured ink and white pen.© Pip Dickens|
Chandelier explorations developed further drawing upon ideas from The Enlightenment (candle power) to Frankenstein (electricity/galvanism) and finally to atomic bombs!
|'Atomic Playboy', Chandelier series of paintings, oil on canvas, © Pip Dickens|
Other Wonders at Cliffe Castle Museum...
|Golden Eagle at Cliffe Castle, the crack in the painted sky scene adds a sense of foreboding © Pip Dickens|
|An atmospheric winter scene of birds at Cliffe Castle © Pip Dickens|
|A kingfisher 'in flight' at Cliffe Castle © Pip Dickens|
|Quick sketch No.1.in situ, of blackbird © Pip Dickens|
|Quick sketch No.2.in situ, of blackbird © Pip Dickens|
|Quick sketch No.3.in situ, of blackbird © Pip Dickens|
|Quick sketch No.4.in situ, of blackbird © Pip Dickens|
|Quick sketch No.5.in situ, of blackbird © Pip Dickens|
Natural Bling...The Mineral Collection
The Mineral collection at Cliffe Castle combines the Ellison and Hinchliffe Collection - over 1,000 specimens in total...not to be sniffed at...and probably one of the finest collections outside of The Natural History Museum, London.
|Samples of Chatoyancy in Cliffe' Castle's mineral room © Pip Dickens|
|Labradorite in Syenite in the Mineral Room, Cliffe Castle © Pip Dickens|
|A huge specimen of Rose Quartz at Cliffe Castle © Pip Dickens|
In the glass house next to the museum cafe, there is a good collection of tropical plants which includes a variety of cactus...
|Specimen of Cactus - 1- at Cliffe Castle Museum © Pip Dickens|
|Specimen of Cactus - 2 - at Cliffe Castle Museum
© Pip Dickens|
|Specimen of Cactus - 3 - at Cliffe Castle Museum
and there's more...The nearby town of Silsen was once the epi-centre of clog-making - Cliffe Castle includes an area to honour this craft and also the many thousands of poor souls who tramped to and from the mills and across moorland in them...touching are the minute wooden clogs made for toddlers...even more touching is the fact that these clogs were still being made in Silsden up to the 1950s.
Cliffe Castle also features an adult-sized 19th century cradle – for soothing an unreasonable wife – an item donated by Bradford men's club:
This is an adult-sized wooden rocking cradle, supposedly for soothing nagging wives instead of babies. It had humorous rules and was displayed in galas, but it is not known whether it was used. The club used to meet at the Royal Hotel, Damside, and was started by Henry Hargreaves Thompson, who was landlord in 1861. The pub became the Royal Oak in 1998. source:wikipedia
Wonderful stained glass windows by William Morris, historic costumes, antiquarian toys and much, much more.
A veritable wunderkammer!
My website: pip-dickens.com