A new and vibrant art exhibition, titled ‘The value of art’, is open from 20th April until 16th May. It is exhibiting art from people with past and/or present mental health issues.
The exhibition is Katie Renouf‘s idea. Katie asked Pat Robson if it was possible to host an exhibition in the Harbour Gallery.
Katie explained that as an artist, she makes (and sells) cards, and enjoys painting on recycled and used materials. She likes to encourage and support others to do art and in the past has helped people to do this at The Diner – a centre for people with enduring mental health issues.
Marguerite Radiguet, Community Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, picked up the story and explained that art is a popular therapeutic tool for anyone, including people with mental health challenges. When she spoke to her Care Coordinator colleagues, there was great support to encourage people to exhibit their work.
“We didn’t know who would turn-up, but when they brought their art work here on Sunday, it was wonderful – there was more than we anticipated.”
David Laurent, who will be 87 years old in a few weeks, paints every day. He has exhibited several pieces of work in this exhibition (the main picture at the top of this article is by David).
David’s paintings are done from his photographic memory. He was in the Merchant Navy for nine years, lived in Australia and New Zealand and has travelled extensively in the States and Japan. The memories of his travels clearly influence his work.
David’s work has so impressed Pat Robson, that the Harbour Gallery will be hosting an exhibition in the Summer featuring David’s work.
Christian Robertson, has been painting for six years and tends to paint on larger canvases. He started by painting the images and faces that he saw. Christian said he was experiencing Stendhal syndrome (also known as Florence syndrome), which according to The medical dictionary is a ‘psychosomatic response’ that can cause rapid heartbeat, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when the person is exposed to particularly beautiful art, or is overwhelmed by breath-taking natural beauty’
Christian explained that this is different to Pareidolia, which is when we can look at a piece of art or perhaps the clouds in the sky, and see ‘something in them’, such as shapes.
Christian said: “My paintings are where I am at that point in time. I often start off with a plan for the painting and then paint what I can see in the image. Painting really helps me. I have entered some of my work to the CCA competition which is being judged by Vic Reeves.
“I know that some of my work is dark, so I lift it by using colour and fluorescent inks”.
As a result of this exhibition, Christian has been invited to exhibit some of his paintings in the Harbour Gallery’s Summer Exhibition.
There is a real variety of artistry in this exhibition. Whilst Christian’s painting may be big and bold, Bex Luce‘s is delicate and thoughtful. Her watercolour flowers almost look as if they have been pressed between pages.
Bex’s watercolour painting of cacti was one of the first pictures she did. It is a watercolour with black ink (see the bottom of this article).
Bex told us that she only started painting about nine months ago when she was in hospital and was encouraged by her nurse.
Dionne Moon explained that it was the opportunity of this exhibition that ‘spurred her on’ to get back into painting, something that she hadn’t done since leaving school. The detail in her (smiley) self-portrait really needs to be seen.
Dionne said: “It took me about 16 hours painting on the canvas”.
The exhibition, titled ‘The value of art’, is open from 20th April until 16th May. It is in the space next to the café and deli, in the Harbour Gallery, St Aubin.
The Harbour Gallery, which is part of the Art in the Frame Foundation is not charging to host the exhibition and the funds from any sales will all go to the artists.