Plymouth is a place continuing to flourish with creativity, with an ever-growing artistic community. This cultural momentum can be witnessed in the events happening across the city, such as the Pop-Up exhibitions taking place at Ocean Studios across April. Each Week, a collective of artists independently take over the gallery, transforming the space with a different show. Currently on the last week, the final Pop-Up exhibition – Here and Now – showcases graduates from Plymouth University: Carly Seller, Fi Smart, Paige Barnard, Joe Allen and Kieran Walsh. All based at Ocean Studios, the artists are coming to the end of a year-long awarded residencies and have brought together their work created within the studios.
Although brought together as graduate tenants, their work complements each other collectively. They share a quiet colour palette, which works harmoniously with the exposed walls and stone riddled floor of the gallery space. At the same time, however, the work is quite diverse and ranges from ceramics and photography to painting. Joe Allen and Kieran Walksh both lend themselves to a playful and instinctive style. Allen turns every-day encounters in to heavily textured paintings, formed through repeatedly building up and scraping back layers of paint. He shares a studio with Walsh, whose drawings and ink paintings distill perceived landscapes into minimal and abstract forms. Carly Seller is a photographer whose experimental processes create enigmatic and haze-dream images, inspired by the circular symbol of the sun. The abstract outcomes contrast with the ceramic and print-work of Fi Smart, an artist who creates detailed stories through her work. Smart’s bowl in the exhibition teems with musicians and colourful characters, inspired by Port Eliot Festival. Somewhat similar to Grayson Perry, her work unfolds beautiful narratives that entice the viewer to look closer. Also working with ceramics is Paige Bernard, an artist who is interested in socially engaging her audience as participators. Her ceramics, each unique with a handmade glaze, invite the viewer to touch, hold and even take.
Such a range of work by local artists affirms the cultural momentum that is making Plymouth glow. It makes the exhibition’s title all the more apt: these are artists creating now in the city here. Be sure to visit ‘Here and Now’ during Ocean Studios’ opening hours, 12-5pm each day until Sunday.
Photo Credit Eva Szwarc