A new exhibition in Staithes celebrates poetic visions of sea and sky, with a historic collection of Braque Lithographs alongside contemporary printmaking and glass.
Sea and Sky, currently on at Staithes Studio Gallery, features prints being exhibited for the first time by “accidental art dealer” Dorrie King.
She inherited a collection of Braque pieces from her mother who was presented them as a surprise exchange from her friend Dudley Snellgrove who was at that time working in the Watercolour an Print collection at the V&A.
With advice from Bonhams and a visit to the library at the Maeght collection, Dorrie has traced the history and identity of each print.
The works being shown are first edition lithographs from the 1950s by George Braque (1882-1963). They were printed in Paris by the renowned printer Mourlot, for Aime Maeght’s beautifully produced publications – Derriere Le Mirroir.
DLM was produced to accompany exhibitions by contemporary artists in Maeght’s gallery – in the case of these prints – for exhibitions in 1952 and 1959 of Braque’s paintings.
Alongside the Braque Lithographs will be work by Dorrie and resident Staithes Studios artists, Ian and Stef Mitchell, the husband and wife team who lead the gallery, which is based at the top of the slipway overlooking the sea in Staithes.
The exhibition features:
Dorrie King – Glass Sculpture
She said: “In drawings of the sea, I wanted to show the passage of waves. In the time it took to start drawing a wave, it had peaked and moved back.
“I tried to do justice to its energy. The dictionary definition of a drawing ‘is a picture … made by making lines on a surface’; it also means ‘to pull’ or ‘to take in a breath’.
“On certain sandy beaches the marks made by the outgoing tide are better drawings than I could achieve. The sea was drawing itself.”
Ian Mitchell – Harbour Series
“My approach to digital printmaking combines an interest in landscape, aesthetics and design resulting in a logo type image of the landscape,” he said. In his Harbour Series Ian has reductively, stripped away the topographical landscape to create a logo type symbol of an actual place.
Conscious of how man intervenes with natural forces, he aims to produce an image that the viewer might read as signifier of place.
Stef Mitchell – Staithes Feather Spheres
“Throughout my practice I work directly with nature,in this case feathers found and collected in Staithes to mark make, document and describe,” said Stef.
“This is pursued through monoprint for immediacy and the range of marks and tonal possibilities it presents.”
In common with Dorrie, Stef is interested in exploring the concept of nature drawing itself. Using feathers and monoprint the marks made produce both outline and tone, used like drawing to record a certain reality of the world, and communicate an idea to the viewer.
Any direct marks made are that of nature presented with the artists voice.
Staithes Studios has an interesting past.
Ian told the Whitby Gazette: “We have been working in Staithes in our studios for many years but last year, opened the gallery after getting change of use permission from the National Parks and Scarborough Council, changing our cottage of 20 years to three floors of gallery retail space.
“We have found out since that in its past life the space has been a sweet shop and butchers.
“We curate the gallery to reflect our passion for the natural, organic and abstract.
“As practising printmakers we have a focus on printmaking but alongside this show a hand-picked range of contemporary paintings, applied and decorative ceramics, sculpture and jewellery. Stef offers printmaking workshops from her studio and we also sell a selection of art materials.
“Alongside our own work, we show work by local, national and international artists.
“In our top floor gallery space we have an exhibition programme.”
Sea and Sky is now open and runs until May 15. The gallery opening hours are Thursday to Sunday from 11am to 5pm.