Published: 27 April, 2012
by ANDREW JOHNSON
THERE is St Ives of course, where Barbara Hepworth famously set up her studio, and medieval Florence, but who would have thought that Islington would also be a thriving hub of painterly endeavour?
But it seems that people of all ages in the borough – professional and amateur – are picking up their brushes in more and more numbers judging by the amount of home-produced work on public display.
The Islington Art Society says it has had its most successful exhibition yet.
Founded in 1941, the society is thriving like never before, according to chairwoman Virginia Jackson.
“I believe it’s our best exhibition ever,” she says of the society’s 72nd spring show which finishes tomorrow (Saturday) after a month. “It’s displaying 256 works including paintings, original prints, collages, ceramics, enamels, glass, photography and sculptures in wood, stone and metal by 93 members who are a mixture of both amateur and professional artists and their ages range from 20 to 90,” she adds.
The exhibition is at The Gallery, Stoke Newington, due to the high cost of space in Islington. But the society hasn’t given up the search.
“Gallery space in Islington is very expensive,” she explains, “and some come with all sorts of rules, such as not being allowed to bang a nail into the wall. The Gallery is on the ground floor and you can hammer a nail into the wall.”
Meanwhile, over at The Old Fire Station in Holloway, artist Caroline Jones is holding an exhibition of her paintings and sculptures of the area. “The Lost in Holloway Exhibition explores what is just around the corner, taking the time to look. Holloway is a place where people come and go,” she says. “It is a bustle and a business and not many linger. It is what it is, but looking at what is can yield some surprises.”
Among her works is a piece called “Dear Selby”, which was an installation in a corner of the gallery but she is now talking about displaying it in the department store: “I live in Holloway and started sketching the odd corner. I became interested in the history of the area and began to ask why I lived here, what would I want it to be?”
Meanwhile, organisers at the Islington Arts Factory in Parkhurst Road are preparing an auction of work by professional and amateur artists in order to raise funds for the centre, which has been “providing low-cost access to the arts for the local community for over 30 years”.
All the work has been donated, and the auction will take place on May 18.
• Islington Art Society’s 72nd Spring Exhibition is at The Gallery, Edwards Lane (off Stoke Newington Church Street), N16. 1pm-6pm today (Friday) and tomorrow from 11am-5pm.
• Lost in Holloway is at The Old Fire Station, 84 Mayton Street, N7, until May 27
• Islington Arts Factory, 2 Parkhurst Road, N7, 020 7607 0561