Solo show successes at two Beer galleries

PUBLISHED: 15:40 11 November 2010

Amanda Popham with some of her acclaimed ceramics

Amanda Popham with some of her acclaimed ceramics

Archant

Queues mark launch of Amanda Popham’s ceramic exhibition

Artist Charlie O'Sullivan at the launch of her solo show at Marine House at Beer on Saturday

TWO new exhibitions opened simultaneously at Beer’s two art galleries on Saturday.

At Marine House at Beer, Charlie O’Sullivan, who has lived in Devon for 14 years, launched Drawing on Words at her first solo show with owner Mike Lambert.

It was one of Mike’s other regular exhibitors, Michael Morgan, who spotted Charlie’s vibrant, abstract work and introduced her to the gallery.

“After six months he sold out of everything and it snowballed from there,” said the effervescent artist, who uses acrylic paint, sometimes collage, and layers of varnish to achieve the startling bright colours and shapes.

Charlie, a former book illustrator, usually paints on wood because she prefers its rigidity.

“I can engrave into it, burn it, it is more flexible,” she said. “All my work comes from narrative, even in my landscapes.”

There are two distinct styles of Charlie’s work on show at the gallery until Friday, November 19.

One is a loose, abstract technique for land and seascapes, the other is more quirky, filling the board with layer upon layer of shapes and colours, often divided by brilliant white shapes to set off shapes of trees, people, ships and animals.

“All the paintings have layers of stories in them. My inspiration? It can be from a conversation, a Radio 4 programme, sitting on the beach listening to people.”

Like a sculptor, Charlie can see “through the paint” how her picture will evolve. She uses drills, sandpaper, kitchen towel and sponges to give them textural effects.

Her intuitive process has attracted many followers. Of the 40 paintings exhibited in Beer, a third were pre-sold through catalogues and the Internet.

At the Lambert’s Steam Gallery, highly collected potter Amanda Popham from East Devon, launched her solo show, with 40 of her unique ceramics, again inspired through stories.

“There was a queue outside when we opened,” said Rosemary Lambert, who explained 30 of the 40 items had been pre-sold and fans of Amanda’s work were keen to have first choice of remaining pieces.

It is Amanda’s fourth solo show at the gallery and she will be producing Christmas specials inspired by the Italian La Commedia dell’Arte.

“It is an incredible compliment that people have the confidence to buy my work without seeing it,” said Amanda, who somehow finds time to teach adults potting techniques.

“I am making more non vessel pieces and they are going really well. I make what I want and people are prepared to go with it.”

Her show also finishes on November 19.


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