Rabley Drawing Centre is renowned for high quality exhibitions throughout the year, but I wonder how many people are aware of the thriving workshop sessions which are going on in the surrounding studios.
This year’s summer exhibition of fine art prints features 17 artists, some like Arran Miles, Penny Furbisher and Suzy Miles have been working with Rabley since the early days in 2004, while others are new or occasional participants. It is an excellent show where every piece is visually strong and all are showing great skill and technique.
If you are not familiar with the variety of printmaking techniques this is an excellent show to visit. You won’t find any explanations, but look at the work where it is clear to see the diversity of the discipline.
Compare the etched and inked lines of Beetroot by Serena Nickson to the block colour in the relief prints of Penny Furbisher or the delicacy of the chine colle used by Alison Grant against the bravado of a Jean Stibbon monotype. These verbal descriptions don’t do justice to the contrasts which every artist in this exhibition is able to show within each piece of work.
Two of the artists have been selected for this year’s Royal Academy summer exhibition. Amy Jane Blackwell is an accomplished printmaker who works as a technician to some of the UK’s top artists. At Rabley she shows two small pictures, curious and compelling to look at and much more than they might at first appear.
Suzy Miles’ ‘Burning Bush’ captures the vibrant colour of the willow tree in her garden, seeming so ridiculously flamboyant, you know she has been looking at and absorbing its reality.
The detailed work of Amanda Cornish uses photopolymer gravure where photography and printing collide – in this case to create a stark close up of natural forms like dark recently discovered black and white stills from a lost folio.
Two monoprints by Susie Whimster are light and full of air and atmosphere. These beguiling pieces appear to drop off the gallery wall in their weightless quality.
Rabley Drawing Centre is much more than just a gallery where you visit to stare at the wall. Director Meryl Ainslie has created a friendly community where anyone can go and work with her excellent collection of tutors – however inexperienced an artist you might be.
The beauty of this exhibition is that it shows in the right atmosphere high quality work can be achieved. It is on for a short time but I recommend you go and look, marvel at the work and even buy something.
The exhibition is open from Thursday, June 30 to Sunday, July 3 from 110.00am to 4.pm.
Rabley Drawing Centre, Rabley Barn, Mildenhall, Marlborough, SN8 2LW (01672 511999.) Further details on the Centre’s website.
And there are more examples of the works in the Exhibition here.