STAR BREWERY GALLERY
We have reopened the gallery with an impromptu exhibition showcasing selected works by the Star Brewery Gallery director/owner Neeta Pedersen who is an artist in her own right. The Gallery is usually closed in January but this year there was a small but steady flow of visitors who were disappointed to discover bare walls, so we decided to use the space to present a mixture of her old and new work comprising art prints and sculptures as well as scarves and bags. Some of the work explores the subject of feminine emotions and energy. Other works are illustrations for a forthcoming book inspired by a powerful personal experience when her adopted father appeared to have died only to come back to life for a while before passing over again.
The exhibition will be on display until the 6 February
Opening times: Wednesday-Saturday 11am-4pm
Sunday the 6 February 12noon- 3pm
In 2022 we look forward to presenting an equally diverse range of quality shows, exhibiting the latest works by Peter Messer, Andrew Fitchett, Marco Crivello, Sarah Money, Sara Hill, Andrew Whittuck, Mikey Skinner, John D Matin and Jennifer Lipman to name just a few and we hope to have the pleasure of reopening in February with our first show of the year exhibiting the artworks of the student's from East Sussex College in Lewes.
The Human Factor
a group exhibition exploring the human condition
5 - 13 March 2022
11am - 5pm daily 5th - 13th March. Closed Monday
‘Even the Fool must set off, stumbling falling, never stopping…’ * Love and desire, the mundane and the joy of being alive, familial bonds and histories, happy memories and melancholic loss, earthly paradise and the prism of politics, cultural artifice and complex identities… above all, the urge to communicate humanity through art: welcome to The Human Factor.
Sarah O’Kane 2022
*The Baron Gilvan
Exhibiting artists: Mikey Cuddihy, The Baron Gilvan,Caroline Streatfield, Maliheh Zafarnezhad, Julian Bell, Eugene Palmer, Heather McAteer, Charlotte Snook, Fergus Hare, Orna Schneerson Pascal, Jo Lamb, Philippa Paterson, Nick Bodimeade, James William Murray, May Hands, Jane Hansford, Louise Bristow, Dave Stephens
"Many visitors and friends who came to my exhibition, said how glad they were that the gallery had been re-born since Neeta Pedersen took over as owner/manager. Following a period in which it had become a less-accessible space, it is now available to artists again as a proper gallery! My personal thanks go to Neeta for her guidance, communication skills during a difficult time for all, and her friendship. It has been the greatest pleasure to work with her. She is truly the star of the Star Brewery Gallery and long may she remain so."
Tom Walker, Artist, 03/08/2021
"Thank you, Neeta. Working together with my gallerist Sarah O'Kane, we both came away with a warm positive buzz from the experience of putting on a show of my paintings at the Star Gallery this October. Partly, of course, because all the practicalities - of installation, lighting, security, money, etc - proved straightforward and efficient, when working with you. Partly also because the footfall was so healthy! But mostly because of the whole attitude you bring to the gallery. You make it feel a welcoming place and one that's going to lift up the eyes and emotions of anyone who steps in - you make it feel like art ought to feel like. Once again - as in the old days of Pat and Mike Cooper that some of us remember - you are making the Star Gallery the heart of the town."
Julian Bell, 21 November 2021
‘It was a pleasure to show again with the Star Brewery Gallery. I first exhibited with the gallery (then called the Star Gallery) in the early 90s when it was run by Pat and Mike Cooper. They gave me my first shows including a joint exhibition of mine and my late father's paintings. It's so wonderful to see the gallery thriving again. Neeta is great to work with and the last show was one of the most successful I’ve had."
Tom Benjamin, 06/12/2021
"Neeta Pedersen could not have taken on the running of the Star Brewery Gallery at a less opportune time. The fact that she has managed to stage so many excellent exhibitions by well respected artists in the last two years is a tribute to her organisational skills and the esteem in which she is held by the arts community.
Many of us have exhibiting links with the gallery which go back to the pioneering days under Mike and Pat Cooper in the late eighties and it's encouraging that, among the new artists Neeta promotes, she is still very much supported by those with a history at the Star.
My exhibition last December, 'You Drink a Bit and Watch the Ghosts' was, after a difficult year for us all, marvellously supported and turned out to be my most successful show at the Star to date.
Working with Neeta is a pleasure and I'm really looking forward to my next collaboration with her in April 2021."
Peter Messer, 06/12/2021
Star Brewery Gallery Christmas Show 2021
Hampshire Artists on Tour
3rd - 19th December
Recent coastal paintings of Sussex, Pembrokeshire, Dorset and the Gower Peninsula
by Tom Benjamin
13th - 28th November 2021
Tuesday-Saturday 11am-4pm | Sunday 12noon-4pm
Meet the Artist: Saturday 20 from 11am-12noon / Sunday 21 from 12noon -1pm
Tom Benjamin NEAC was born in Totnes Devon in 1967. He has lived and worked in Lewes for thirty years. His paintings are done in oils outdoors directly in front of the subject. There are a number of repeated themes in his work, including tree portraits, seascapes of Hope Gap in Sussex, Newhaven, Wales, Cornwall and Harris He has regular solo shows in Lewes at the Star Brewery Gallery and shows with The Russell Gallery in London, Alan Kluckow Fine Art in Sunningdale and Browns Gallery in Tain, Scotland. He was elected to be a member of the NEAC (New English Art Club) in 2021. Tom also teaches at the Paddock Art Studios in Lewes and at West Dean College in West Sussex.
A group exhibition celebrating trees in reality and the imagination
30 October - 7 November 2021
Tuesday-Saturday 11am-4pm | Sunday 12noon-4pm
Harry George Brayne
Keith A. Pettit - courtesy of Sarah O’Kane Contemporary Fine Art
This group exhibition celebrates trees in reality and in the imagination. The varied works by Sussex artists highlight the beauty and importance of trees in the Climate Change era.
The exhibition brings together a wide range of mediums, styles and approaches to a subject that has fascinated landscape painters, photographers, illustrators, engravers and sculptors throughout the centuries.
Their huge variety of forms and foliage provide an ever-changing backdrop to the countryside as we move through the seasons. The striking inky skeletons of bare trees acquire buds that unfold into fresh leaves or needles. Frothy blossoms add colour and pollen. This exciting exhibition captures many of these aspects in the work of the talented artists on display.
The show also includes a living "tiny forest" consisting of saplings loaned to us by David and Penny Saunders who run Foxwood Forestry which supplies wood and timber to visual arts and theatre organisers, universities and individual artists.
The Tree Show was conceived by environmental journalist John May working with the Star Brewery Gallery's owner Neeta Pedersen.
Recently our whole understanding of trees has been upturned by the scientific revelation that the roots of trees are intimately linked by the fungal mycelium in the soil forming a connected communication network called the Wood Wide Web. Tree-planting on a massive scale across the world is making a contribution to cutting carbon levels, increasing biodiversity, and cleaning the atmosphere of crowded cities. The new global environmental movement is very focused on rewilding and regenerating damaged nature.
Lewes has active tree groups who are collecting seeds and rearing saplings and looking to involve local people in the important work of community planting.
Natural approaches to flood control using trees and shrubs can make a valuable contribution to the town's environmental protection actions.
Common shapes, familiar souls
15th - 24th October 2021
Jason is a classically trained painter. In 2016 he opened an atelier in Lewes where he works on personal projects and commissions. He regularly paints portrait commissions and his paintings are held in private collections throughout Europe.
His personal work explores traditional themes through a contemporary lense. Large works are painted over multiple sessions employing a limited palette of muted colours and historic painting techniques, oils and mediums. They are typically made from direct observation from nature under natural light, but go past a purely visual representation.
'Emptiness, absence, silence. The unsaid. Memory and the passing of time. My painting reflects the modern dissociative experience. Works explore these ideas through carefully composed arrangements of line, tone and colour.'
These works are particularly poignant, painted whilst grapping with the conflicting emotions of the pandemic and the birth of his first daughter.
2nd - 10th October 2021
Julian Bell’s studio is among the watermeadows south of Lewes. For this set of paintings he has been walking out from it in all seasons, taking an easel and a canvas. He places himself before this or that feature of the plain and paints a portrait-in-landscape: of a tree, a ditch, a field, a barn; of chalk, earth and water, of winds and humans that pass. What these pictures dwell on is simple - what stands and what lies, what stays and what flows.
Julian Bell is a highly-established painter as well as the author of What Is Painting? and Mirror of the World. He teaches at the Royal Drawing School and is editor of Ways of Drawing, a set of artists' reflections on the practice.
Julian was born in 1952 and descends from the Bloomsbury Group: his grandmother is Vanessa Bell, his grand-aunt Virginia Woolf and his father Quentin Bell.
His take on humanity is global. He has travelled around the world for his art, yet he approaches a suburban or London street scene with the same curiosity. ‘I am interested in the things people do on earth, the way they make spaces for themselves, make structures.’
Having passed a couple of years in conjuring up scenes of London life - frenetic, anxious, densely populated – for his 2019 solo exhibition When the City is Built, Julian turned to the landscape around this Sussex studio, geographically a plain, and began painting its trees and sparse structures en plain air: ‘I set to work, sploshing through the mud with my radial easel and canvas amidst the cattle. I soon discovered that the simplicity and clarity and modesty were deceptive. A tree, it turns out (no doubt I should have known this), is an unbelievably complex organism, one that proved an altogether greater challenge than painting a human being,’ the artist writes.
Helen Hockin & Marcus Ripley
11th September - 26th September 2021
Monday-Friday 10am-5pm | Saturday-Sunday 11am-4pm
Helen Hockin studied fine art at Bath Academy of Art. She has exhibited widely in Lewes, and also in Brighton, Worthing, Lancaster and Bath; she had a solo show at the Ashdown Forest Centre. Helen has worked collaboratively on projects with other artists including forming Oakleaf Exhibition Space with ceramicist Jo Hall, working in Zu Studios, and creating performance pieces with Marion Deprez and Dirk Campbell for “the Cabinet of Charms”. She also participated in the “Witches 400” project in Lancaster, alongside poet Simon Armitage and writer Jeanette Winterson. Helen's artworks from that project are on permanent display at the Boscastle Museum of Witchcraft in Cornwall.
Helen’s recent works are in mixed media including wax, card, dyes, natural and found objects. Over the last year of seclusion, she has amassed a new body of intimate and enticing artworks which she has described as an exploration into her inner playroom of thoughts and worlds. The works portray moths and fairies, along with cages of nature and her muses, her dolls in their playpen.
Marcus Ripley has exhibited work since the early 90s including being part of the Oakleaf Exhibition Space and at the Star Brewery Gallery, Lewes as part of the Millennium Exhibition. Marcus has also exhibited at various “ArtWave” shows along with joint exhibitions at the University of York, Worthing Museum and Art Gallery and a solo exhibition at Blackheath Halls, London.
The work chosen for this particular exhibition spans 30 years and includes painting, sculpture and collage. It is a distillation of a wide range of subjects, including Religious Imagery, Iconography, Philosophy and Eschatology, Classical Art, Dada and Surrealism.
A Life in Wide Angle
27th August - 5th September 2021
Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 4pm | Sunday 12 noon - 4pm
My diverse career as a London photographer frequently involved creating images of well-known individuals. I originally studied photography at the London College of Printing. Whilst there I documented the Aberfan disaster in South Wales - a truly heart-breaking experience. After exhibiting those pictures, I left college to work as a freelance photojournalist alongside writer Farrukh Dhondy. Together we covered many varied stories through documentary photography and portraiture. One of these focused on the band ‘The Pink Floyd’. I shot them up close in my bedroom/studio using their gig lighting, and subsequently at Abbey Road. In 2017 some of these photographs were shown within the highly regarded Floyd exhibition at the V&A.
A further musically related story involved photographing Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and The Beatles, alongside Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull before they all went up to North Wales for a ‘preach’ in with the Yogi - thus launching ‘Transcendental Meditation’.
For many years I worked as a studio advertising photographer specialising in editorial Food and Still Life for magazines ranging from The Sunday Times, The Observer and The Daily Telegraph to Elle, Good Housekeeping and Woman’s Journal. I worked with many chefs including Keith Floyd, Marco Pierre White, Nigel Slater and Antonio Carluccio. In 1985 I received a Gold Award for my Still Life work by The Association of Photographers.
Outside of Food and Still Life my career frequently drew me to the arts - complementing the famous singers and musicians, I photographed numerous performers in film, stage and radio such as Helen Mirren on set to all the work of performance artist Bobby Baker. Such a network also enabled me to work for London galleries such as White Cube and The Royal Academy in photographing the artworks of other visual artists including Damien Hirst and Sydney Nolan.
Turning to literature, I also had the privilege of shooting many authors, such as Christy Brown, the writer of ‘My Left Foot’.
In recent years I have pursued landscape photography here in the UK and in France. However, I always enjoy revisiting my earlier images, both for the faces, photographic style and the memories evoked.
Pamela M. Earl
6th - 22nd August 2021
Pamela’s work includes place and history. She holds a Dip Int/Env Des from The New England School of Art & Design (at Suffolk University), Boston, Ma. Her major was Art Deco. She holds an MA in Pub and a PG Dip in Cons His Env. In 1989, Pamela briefly returned to her native Houston, finding work as an extra in ‘Robocop II.’
During her first stay in London (1990), she was a draftsman at Renton Howard Wood Levine Partnership. From 1990 – 94 Pamela lived in Dublin, where she worked in film and live television as both an actor (RTE’s ‘Nighthawks’, Anne Enright was Producer) and within production.
Returning to London in 1994, she worked as a props buyer, produced pop promos including ETA’s ‘Casual Sub’ and the film short ‘Upstairs.’ Its premier was held at the ICA. She was production assistant on the award-winning opera film ‘Hell for Leather.’
Pamela’s paintings are mostly oil and mixed media. Her watercolour, acrylic, oil and pen and ink works have hung in London, Boston, Ma, Austin and Arlington, Tx. Since the late Nineties, Pamela has been making found assemblage boxes, including biographical ones.
Between 2014 and 2019 Pamela produced a three-piece tapestry on the life of William the Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke. It was to mark the 800th anniversary of his death. Unveiled at St Anne’s, Lewes, it resides in Pembroke Castle. Tom Walker is the illustrator. She also stitched.
Pamela is a proud native Houstonian and Texan. She has lived in Europe and England since the end of 1989. She and partner Seb moved to Lewes in 2011, where they live with their house bunny Chevy.
Recent pastel works by Tom Walker
23rd July - 1st August 2021
Tom Walker, now 71, left school at 16, started taking art seriously at Brighton Art School evening classes; from 1969-75 lived by his work in Northern Italy. He studied Graphics and Illustration at Brighton Poly 1976-79.
He has been living, working and exhibiting in Lewes and Cooksbridge for 42 years, creating pictures in oils, acrylics and, for the last 30 years, exclusively in pastels. He has pursued themes as far apart as French organ music and snooker in 2 huge projects, shown in St.Paul’s Cathedral in 1990 and Sheffield Wintergarden in 2009 respectively, and he has exhibited in many other parts of the UK, across Europe and in the USA. He has also designed two tapestries: for The Battle of Lewes on show in Lewes Barbican Museum; and the William Marshal tapestry, also stitched in Lewes, now on display in Pembroke Castle.
There have been numerous themes, explorations and obsessions in smaller series in every genre from precise studies to wild abstraction and all stations in between. Nothing is excluded in his onward quest to do better than last time. He taught art at Northease Manor School for 11 years, became self-employed in 1993 and taught private pastel students in his studio in Cooksbridge for 18 years.
Since September 2020 he and his wife, Anita, live in Ashburton, Devon, where he hopes eventually to start pastel classes. He has been a member of the Pastel Society since 2012.
This exhibition at the happily re-born Star Brewery Gallery, will be of his most recent works, collectively entitled Glimpses, with perhaps one or two earlier pieces. As well as original works there will be prints and cards.
Depending on the Covid situation, Tom and/or Anita will be looking after the exhibition and welcoming visitors every day.
This may be the last of Tom’s many exhibitions in Lewes. Farewell and thanks to all who have helped, supported, encouraged and even purchased, at 10 shows in the Star/Hop/now Star Brewery Gallery, 4 at Northease Manor School, 2 at the Friends Meeting House, the Pelham House Hotel, 4 at the much-missed Foundry Gallery, 2 at Bonne Bouche Chocolate Shop and 10 Artwave shows in Cooksbridge.
Journeys from Home
9th - 18th July 2021
Laura is an artist and writer living in Brighton. Her main focus is landscape and she uses oils paint to explore the bones of the earth below, the feeling of the weather above and the way people move through the land. Her work expresses the ideas and colours that emerge whilst travelling through a landscape.
Her inspiration for a painting is often triggered by a word or a particular colour, from walking maps and pathways, and she’s drawn to the simplicity of the lines and shapes of the South Downs.
She studied Geography at Manchester University then worked in marketing before becoming a freelance and creative writer. She shows her work in Sussex and London and is studying painting at the Art Academy in London.
Notes in a Landscape
18th June - 4th July
John Worth, abstract painter and photographer, is inspired by the vibration, rhythms and musicality inherent in nature, places and urban environments. He studied Photography at West Surrey College of Art & Design, 1989-92 (now the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham).
‘Notes in a Landscape’ takes its inspiration from the practice of daily walks in the South Downs John uses to underpin his artistic interrogations. By repeating the same journey to Mount Caburn each day, taking photographs as he goes, he has developed an intimate connection with a particular landscape.
The results are paintings, sketches and photographs that pay homage to the synergies of the rhythms he discovers in the contours of the landscape combined with the abstract qualities of the textures, light and shadow as they change through the seasons.
Both walking and in the studio, music is important to his creative process; abstract paintings blend the sense of musicality he feels in the landscape itself with the landscape of his own heart and mind.
A habit of producing daily sketches enables an immediate translation of his visceral experiences; a way of responding to the energies in the landscape; an occasion to witness the rhythmic and chaotic narrative of nature as it changes.
John’s influences include painters such as Cy Twombly, Antoni Tàpies and Paul Klee and his work speaks to the tradition of lyrical abstraction. The paintings have a stillness suggestive of surfaces aged by the passage of time. He builds these surfaces using his own techniques that include layering strips of linen or canvas and overlaying in mixed media, scratching and sanding back multiple times, resulting in a patina that suggests both the action of time and multiple stories interacting.
Some pieces are based on the five lines of a musical stave, suggesting the two experiences of music and land superimposed upon each other, generating unique sets of rhythms and vibrations. A preoccupation with traces, fragments, exposure and erasure all work to pose a question about identity.
As a way of countering the over-saturation of our lives with screen-based images, John is increasingly concerned with the finished painting as a physical and tactile artefact. Many of his pieces invite touch, recalling the visceral inspiration of their beginnings, and some are finished with a wax varnish to enable this type of engagement.
28th May - 13th June 2021
Adele Gibson’s exhibition ‘Elementa’ brings together a collection of work from a three-year period, inspired by the Amazon rainforest, forest fires and volcanic activity, stormy seas and Arctic ice, and the airiness of the South Downs.
Adele has an MA in Fine Art from the University of Brighton where she specialised in painting and research into the Anthropocene. Her work is inspired by the natural world and her paintings reflect her love for spending time in raw, un-tamed and sublime nature. In 2017, Adele was awarded a place as artist-in-residence on the International Arctic Circle Art and Science expedition and spent 3 weeks aboard a masted Barquentine sailing vessel exploring the Svalbard Archipelago. This was a life-changing trip: she witnessed first-hand the profound beauty of the region but also saw the huge changes happening due to the changing climate.
Resulting from this experience, in 2018 Adele was awarded an Arts Council grant to lead a residency for 8 artists together with an exhibition she curated at the University of Brighton entitled ‘Let’s talk about the Anthropocene’.
In 2019, Adele fulfilled a lifetime ambition to visit the Amazon and spent time at the Tambopata Scientific research centre deep in the rainforest. The lushness and magic of the forest was overwhelmingly beautiful but like the Arctic, the area is facing the grave threat of climate crisis.
Adele paints in oils in her studio in Berwick and she aims to evoke an emotional response in the viewer rather than provide a representation of the landscape. She paints largely using her visual memory and hopes to convey something of the awe and wonder she experiences in her life as an artist.
Adele has exhibited in galleries across the county and is currently represented by the Maze gallery in London and Kevis House gallery in Petworth. Her work is collected across the UK, Europe, and the US.
14th - 23rd May 2021
Mark was born in Yorkshire and after completing his photography degree, at Wolverhampton Polytechnic, he moved to London in 1991, He first worked as a photographer’s assistant and worked with many photographers on a wide variety subjects, before starting a career as a freelance photographer, specialising in still life projects. With the arrival of computers and particularly Photoshop he transitioned to a more illustrative style of work. Since then Mark has worked as a digital illustrator for book publishers & magazines around the world, a digital artist for several national newspapers, a children’s illustrator working in 3D and most recently as the Creative Director for an American toy company, where he designed a range of award-winning emotional learning children’s toys.
Mark moved to Sussex in 2001 and it was there that he began to explore the local countryside, and particularly the Ashdown Forest and the South Downs National Park, with his dogs and his camera. It was not until 2017 that he began utilising this large library of photographs to create pieces of art for his first exhibition at a local art fair in Uckfield.
To create his work Mark digitally enhances his photographs with paintings, drawings, textures, and found objects to create the final artwork. Some of the pieces are more literal interpretations of the places he has photographed, while others are more conceptual or graphic in their approach, but all seek to evoke the beauty, drama, and atmosphere of the landscapes around him. He uses the coordinates of where the original photograph was taken as the titles of his work so they may be visited or found on Google Maps. The works are presented as limited edition prints either on sheets of brushed aluminium or archival fine art papers.
Since starting to work full time as an artist Mark has exhibited all across the South East and London. His work is sold in galleries around the UK and as far afield as Panama.
Suzanne Hennegrave & Sarah Money
Whispers of the Wild
30th April - 9th May 2021
Suzanne Hennegrave (BA Hons, MA) is a semi-abstract, contemporary landscape painter and art educator. She recently founded Art Hub Lewes, a new provider of art classes for children and adults. She is inspired by the land, sea and big skies. She paints in oils and mixed-media, from memory and experience, and her work is developed using artistic intuition. Her greatest loves are atmospheric weather and fleeting light and this she tries to capture in her work, through her own emotional response. Much of her inspiration comes from the beauty of her surroundings, living in the South Downs National Park.
Sarah Money (BA Hons)
I’m an artist working with texture, colour and movement.
I approach my sculpting and my painting essentially in the same way, in that, I look, feel and then express what I receive from my subject in that moment, whether I am working with a model or working alone. My work process is loose and free, both in application and in the finished piece. I experience the combined qualities of movement, texture and colour as I work, allowing feelings and emotions to play their part. It is simply the essence of my subject, in that moment, that I am trying to capture.
Between the water and the clouds will be the fourth exhibition by father and son Marco and Jacob Crivello, who work from the continuum studio in the heart of Lewes.
The show will be a rich mixture of micro landscapes, paintings, installations and collaborations, exploring themes of interconnection between the material and natural world.
The wall installation and the Sussex Stack in the exhibition is a joint work with Martha Crivello.
For over twenty years improvisation has been my North star, finding expression in land and seascapes that emerged from a range of processes, that sought to replicate the actions of nature. That same love of improvisation and natural processes, continues to remain at the heart of my work, as it has evolved to explore more directly themes of transience, materiality and transformation.
In my new work, I have been exploring our precarious relationship with the natural world. From poetic memories and romantic encounters, to the dire threat of climate change; my microworlds invite the viewer to reflect on our place within the natural order.
You Drink a Bit and Watch the Ghosts
4th December - 18th December 2020
Peter Messer’s paintings are mostly on a domestic scale, resolutely figurative and, by implication, narrative. He uses the historic medium of egg tempera which he prepares in the studio using egg yolk and raw pigment. The resulting paintings tend to be intense and meticulous, with a compellingly flat, arrested quality. Most of these paintings are set around and within his home town of Lewes.
Born in 1954, Peter Messer studied Fine Art at the University of Brighton. His work is frequently exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and he has been a finalist in the Hunting, Garrick Milne, Lyn Painter-Stainers and Singer and Friedlander Prize exhibitions. In 1998 he won the Sotheby's-sponsored Chichester Art Prize and in 2000 was commissioned to provide twelve paintings for the Sussex Book of Revelations, an Arts Council Millennium Project which toured Sussex libraries. In 2004 he completed a commission for the House of Lords.
He lives and works in Lewes, Sussex and has paintings in collections in Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Spain, Sweden and the US, as well as the UK. In 2007 he published “On the Way to Work. The Lewes Paintings of Peter Messer”.
24th October - 4th November 2020
As a contemporary landscape painter I respond to the natural environment as both activist and celebrant. Sometimes this will take the form of conveying, via the canvas, my personal sense of awe and deep nourishment found in natural places, or reflecting how the weather dramatically influences the emotional quality of a landscape. At other times I am motivated to address environmental issues such as pollution and climate change.
I am especially interested in the fleeting transitions between day and night and the visual, experiential effects these have upon the senses. I am drawn to elemental interaction within a landscape, earth and wood reflections in water, rain in the air, the multi-varied effects of natural light. Wild spaces are my muses and I see nature's endless possibilities offering themselves as subjects to be captured in paint.
I trained in Fine Art Painting at Chelsea College of Art, London Institute, during the 1990's, graduating with both installation and painting work. Since then I have publicly exhibited installation work internationally, including the Airspace Gallery, Sydney, Australia, and at Limehouse Studios in London. More recently I have shown paintings in a range of spaces including the Art wave festival Sussex, and I have been shortlisted for the Holly Bush Emerging Woman Artist Award 2020.
There has been a big gap for me in the years between postgraduate art practice and returning to painting. During this time I trained to teach and taught Art, raised a family, wrote and published books on birth and motherhood. So becoming a professional artist has been a truly exciting U-turn in my career so far. For me it’s like a love affair with painting that’s been reignited.
Finding the Thread
2nd October - 18th October 2020
The story behind these artworks is one of chance encounters. It's about the discovery of a hidden name: Iplicjian, the unravelling of its significance through psychoanalysis and the transformation of association with loss into something new.
Within my English upbringing a cloud of secrecy had blocked all knowledge of my Armenian family identity. It was completely unknown to me until at 18, just as I was leaving for the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, my grandfather slipped me the phone number of his sister Araxie who lived there.
I found I had an extensive family which had enjoyed considerable prosperity internationally in the cotton trade. There had been branches all over the world until it had all dwindled away in the hands of my grandfather’s generation, leaving many of the dependents penniless. The cotton trade had shifted to India , but I wonder about the impact of the Armenian genocide in 1915 (which remains unrecognised). Strangely in England the family name of Iplicjian was erased and replaced. Only a year after my discovery of these vital bits and pieces my father in turn lost everything and I left Paris.
Decades later, following my own financial collapse and near death, I was rescued by another Armenian aunt who miraculously reappeared out of the blue after a 35 year absence. She gave me the chance to escape from this destiny. Her words “ If you have so little time left you had better spend it doing what you want to do!!” started that process.
I underwent a long psychoanalysis (Lacanian), the last four years back in Paris. The unconscious effects of this Armenian family history began to make sense.
I had produced occasional artworks but, following the analysis and moving to Lewes, I suddenly started using cotton as medium in a completely new way that resulted in something like bas relief, looking lively, tactile and accessible The process was immediately enjoyable and I couldn’t stop compulsively making piece after piece, signing them with the name Iplicjian, still without consciously recognising the significance.
A revelation came via a Turkish speaker who happened to see them and I realised that the name had been mistranslated from Armenian to French on the family tree. The correct translation into English of Iplic is “thread” or “cotton”. Once more the unexpected had led to new significance.
Start Of / End Of
11th September - 27th September 2020
Martin Gayford works with painting, drawing and collage, as well as words and music. An ongoing conversation exists between these mediums, one responding to another. Martin employs elements that frequently disrupt our reading of the picture surface, treading a line between representation and abstraction and affording glimpses of places, interiors and
even people, only to contradict what we are looking at. They are worked instinctively, in response to ‘found’ images or work he has already made, taking him (and us) down unexpected avenues, whether they be pleasing, eerie, ncomfortable, comedic or otherwise.
Martin lives and works in Lewes and London and has had solo and group shows in London, Berlin and Lewes since graduating from Winchester School of Art in 1993. His recent mixed exhibitions include shows at Tate Modern and Terrace Gallery, London. He has also curated group shows, including ‘Six Days In December’ at Thames-Side Gallery in 2019.
Peter Messer | Andrew Fitchett | Tom Benjamin
17th July - 9th August 2020
East Sussex College Lewes
The work of the students in this show represent two things: firstly, the way young people think today, caught in the isolation of lockdown. Secondly, it shows us the expressive visual language of the point each has reached in their journey into a career in Art and Design.
Today, we all know that art makes a difference to how we see the world. We look at art to understand how we live as people. We might go to the National Gallery to understand how society once shaped the world. We look at a show like this one to see how young people explain what is new and different in the world to them now.
At Lewes, students are given the opportunity to learn technical and traditional skills and then challenged to apply those skills to their own work in an original fashion.
On every course in the department, the emphasis is firmly placed on uncovering the individual student's original voice, rather than bringing them to some predetermined and pre-confirmed and confining format: there is no 'house style'.
The college wants its students to learn, explore and to grow by producing highly realised and ambitious work. The Lewes art teaching team wants its students to make work which is the product of the student's own identity. Again, it should be emphasised, there is no house style, there is no single preferred way of approaching a creative problem.
Students are given tools, skills and frameworks that they can use to solve problems, but they must find those solutions for themselves. Students are always supported to be true to themselves and their own creative potential. Skills and techniques are taught, originality is prized.
Giving students opportunities as the work in this exhibition shows, allows those students, much as it does the other visitors to the exhibition, to really get to grips with, and understand the quality of the work produced en route to an excellent course grade.
Getting an A grade in a subject is obviously important, however, producing original and exciting work to a very high level is also vital as a preparation for the future and for students to make sense of the present in order to help them realise their sense of self.
Andrew Williamson, Head of Creative Learning at Lewes College. Lewes College is part of the East Sussex College Group.
Read the Sussex Express feature HERE
This delightful visual arts exhibition space, first established as the Star Gallery in the late 1980s and later known as the Hop Gallery, has a history of hosting exhibitions by local, regional, national and international artists and of showcasing both established artists and up-and-coming talented artists, photographers and makers.
This multifunctional space is ideal for displaying not only traditional and contemporary art and sculpture but also installations and craftwork of various kinds. We aim to stage an exciting diverse programme of exhibitions.
Situated in the centre of Lewes, the vibrant county town of East Sussex, the gallery is housed in the renovated 18th century Star Brewery building with its ancient brickwork and massive beams that is occupied by artists, framers, potters, filmmakers and many others.
The gallery is also a short walking distance from a wide range of Lewes’ other attractions which include the Norman castle and an interesting array of atmospheric coffee shops, pubs and restaurants as well as bookshops, antique markets and unique independent shops.
Stewart J Dalby | Sandra Banks | Andy Banks | Edward Mawby
'The Star Brewery Gallery has been at the centre of the art life of Lewes since its inception as the Star Gallery in the late 1980s. Over the ensuing years, under changing management and name, it has shown a huge range of artists and craftspeople including Paula Rego, Sir Hugh Casson, Christopher Le Brun and John Skelton to name just a few. I have consistently exhibited at the Star since its earliest days and have never found it to be less than an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Neeta Pedersen worked there for five years as assistant to Gallery Owner, Curator and Director Angie Osborne under its spell as the Hop Gallery. I feel she really understood the Gallery’s ambitious attitude to the arts without losing sight of its place at the heart of the extensive local arts community. I, and many others, were very heartened to hear that she was taking over after a short period when, under other management, it had diverged from this and had become lost to view for many of us. I feel she has all the right capacities to make the gallery a great success. In addition to her five years practical experience in the space, she is a respected and successful artist in her own right and a well known and popular member of the community.
Due to the current unprecedented health emergency, the timing of Neeta’s takeover could not have been worse but she is attracting enormous goodwill from artists and supporters. The general feeling is that if anyone has the character, resilience and will to bring the Gallery successfully back to the centre of Lewes cultural life, it is Neeta.'
'We were very disappointed when only a week away from the opening night, we realised the coronavirus crisis meant we would have to postpone the launch exhibition of The Star Brewery Gallery. To our amazement, Neeta refused to give in and within days, pulled together a very presentable online Star Brewery Gallery, worked out a social media campaign and launched the whole thing online and on time. The online Star Brewery Gallery has given me great publicity and healthy sales beyond my expectations. Neeta really has taken very good care of us and I feel very lucky to be represented by such a dynamic gallery.'
I was approached by Neeta last year to see if I would be interested in exhibiting in the opening exhibition of the Star Brewery Gallery along with Andrew Fitchett and Peter Messer. It wasn’t a difficult decision. Although we haven't exhibited together for some time we have had a series of shows together in the past and I admire their work and I thought it would interesting to do it again. I also have a long history with the gallery and had some of my first solo shows when Pat and Mike Cooper ran it. I have always liked the character of the space, its beautifully lit and you can get surprisingly large amount of work on the walls. I also had a joint show of mine and my late father's paintings, which was a special occasion for me as we never had the chance to exhibit together in his lifetime and it attracted a lot of interest.
It’s been a pleasure working with Neeta, we have had to be light on our feet as we've tried to keep pace with the rapidly changing restrictions imposed by the crisis. Neeta quickly thought of making the show an online event and we've combined in depth interviews, short films and images of the work to give people as rich an experience as possible. The response to the show has been tremendous and we are all committed to putting on a physical show in the gallery when we are on the other side of this challenging time.
Gallery Director, Neeta Pedersen
Neeta, who is an artist in her own right, has a special relationship to this artistic space having worked there for almost five years as gallery assistant to the then Gallery Owner, Curator and Director Angie Osborne when is was known as Hop Gallery.
Neeta is a multimedia artist with a distinctive style that comes from her unusual heritage, her extensive travels and her rich visual imagination. She has expressed herself in paintings, sculptures, digital art, illustration and animation. Her work, which ranges from the highly decorative and romantic to the stark and explicit, has gained her an international reputation.
Born in Mumbai to unknown parents, she was adopted at the age of six months by a Danish couple from Aarhus. After her primary and secondary schooling in Denmark, she left home at 17 to travel to Israel and then subsequently travelled to India and Nepal for six months to absorb and observe the culture she came from. She has also visited France, Germany, Central Europe and Scandinavia.
In 1997, she moved to Lewes to study at Brighton College of Technology, where she gained a BTEC National Diploma in Multimedia. In 1999, she moved to the US to enrol in the Total Immersion Intensive Workshop at the New York Film Academy and, in 2005, gained a BA (Hons) in Animation from the University of Westminster in London.
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ADDRESS: Star Brewery Gallery, Star Brewery, Castle Ditch Lane, (off Fisher Street) Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1YJ
PHONE: 07932 500 952
All submission or gallery hire inquiries must be done by email.
There is a direct train from London Victoria to Lewes and bus services from Brighton to Lewes. Catch the bus No 28 or 29 which takes you to Lewes High Street. Get off at the Lewes Crown Court and walk down Fisher Street where you will see the Star Brewery building on your left. There are two different entrances to the gallery.
The Star Brewery Gallery does not have designated parking. There are car parking facilities within the town which allows all-day parking, payment by the meter.