Tricia Gillman, Roundelay. Acrylic Photo: John Bodkin Hung by Mick Moon and Ivor Abrahams, this gallery contains a mixture of painting and sculpture by artists who have sent in work through the open submission process and Academicians. Alongside images dealing with animals, birds and plant life, freely painted works by Abrahams celebrate the vitality of dancing female figures. And Tricia Gillman’s impressively orchestrated composition also includes references to dancing women - from Botticelli’s Primavera - as well as a miniaturised tubular figure painting by Fernand Léger.
On the whole, though, the natural world predominates. Bill Henderson’s thicket makes us feel trapped in the burgeoning complexity of growth at its most unbridled. Gerard Hemsworth depicts a snake curling its sinuousway through bulrushes, the forms defined with clarity and simplicity.
Adrian Berg presents strange birds, staring at or even conversing with each other. Even when Peter Arscott’s painting takes us indoors, we find that the focus is on plants. They rise out of glittering vessels, subtly rendered on a dramatic black table-top. But nothing else in the room can beat the full-on theatricality of Nicola Hicks’s big black bear, rearing up and claiming our attention in the most shamelessway imaginable.
Only after a while do we realise the ambiguity of his stance, caught halfway between vulnerability and the hunger of a predator waiting to pounce.