TWO local Downpatrick artists have opened their first major exhibtion in The Grove gallery in the St Patrick Centre (Wednesday 16th February) which will be running until the end of February.
Philip Campbell and Mark Revels both work for Down Community Arts and are themselves a keen and highly talented duo who have produced some stunning works on display. Philip’s 12 acrylic works are under the title of ‘Vista’, while Mark’s 12 bronze and aluminium sculptures are under “Boxes’.
Philip’s large acrylic semi-abstract canvases give a sense of space and light. He said, “I like to work in sets, doing a series of paintings of a landscape in different weather and light conditions. It’s amazing what you can achieve just by looking at the one scene in varying conditions. The St Patrick Centre art gallery, The Grove, is an ideal place to exhibit our work and the staff there have been very supportive.
“Mark and I decided to take the bull by the horns and just go for this exhibition. We spent a bit of time gathering up some of the pieces and we are very pleased with the result. The bronze art works which are about mental health issues and a feeling of being trapped, contrast with the large, bright and airy acrylic canvases.
“My main influences are Turner, Monet and the Russian Jules Olitsky who used an abstract, impressionistic style. I am keen to portray the environment in a way that it should be represented, and certainly my lanscapes are done in a way that tries to look at the subject matter differently from other artists. My technique involves photographing the scene and working in my studio at home.
“Both of us have been involved in community arts for a long time and I personally just love getting people involved in art, making them comfortable with working with paints and other materials, and encouraging them to take an interest in painting as a hobby. It is very fulfulling.
“I am basically self-taught in art, but have been working in community arts for 10 years being involved in many projects.”
Mark Revels, the other half of the artistic duo, explained that his metal-working art is an expression derived from his understanding of the serious issues of mental health and suicide which are so common in our society. He spent an early career studying set design in Wimbledon and then working for the BBC and Channel 4. From there he became involved in building theatre sets for many professional and semi-professional groups and organisations.
He said, “I became involved in a pilot programme working with young people and art was used as a therapy for these people who were excluded from school because of varying conditions, issues, and learning disabilities. It was in these programmes tha I became aware of the reality of mental health issues and suicide, and I understand the disturbing volume sof youngsters who suffer mood swings and get depressed and have to withdraw from the social mainstream. I was just amazed at the enormity of the effects of poor mental health and the effect it has on the people around the sufferer. Often we are surrounded by walls. Our boxes.
“My art reflects my own life struggles in this area and I had a pressing need to depict ‘our state of mind’. The coldness of the metal depicts the coldnes of our walls, our cells, our prisons.”
The exhibition runs until the end of February.
This article has bee posted on to the Down News Facebook page, Down News Twitter and the Photographs of the event are also available to view on the Flickr viewer.