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From: AB
Category: Art
Date: 23 November 2005



The AFAS organisation (Art for Art’s Sake) was set up about two years ago by Stephen Langtree, Vice-Chairman of The Chester Civic Trust and Spencer John Derry, local artist. The main aim of the group is to set up a centre to house workshops and exhibit artwork as Chester has a distinct lack of arts facilities for the wealth of artists and crafts people that populate it. During AFAS’ quest for an arts centre the group has organised two exhibitions, ‘Give Chester Art a Chance’ at Bishop Lloyd’s Palace in March 2005 and their latest show ‘Young at Art’, housed at St.Mary’s Centre on St. Mary’s Hill, Chester.

On entering St. Mary’s, a former church, the eye is drawn to the 8 by 4 foot whitewashed boards that zig-zag through the main aisle, displaying works by local amateur and professional artists which utilize the space superbly and blend in with the ornate setting. A mixture of traditional and contemporary art is on show. Painted folk art scenes by Jill Pears and local old buildings by Michael Hayes are juxtaposed with abstracted colour landscapes by Caroline Dangerfield. Personal portraits by young artist, Dan Wilkinson, gaze out onto the show, airbrushed to perfection. Jo Jenkins has an established reputation in Cheshire art galleries and her atmospheric undulating ‘landscapes’ loom over the art works. Sculptures such as Sally Starborg’s ‘Cruel Sister’ punctuate the show and there is also a screen in the cloister showing still and moving images, orchestrated by Oliver Perry. The diverse show even included a book signing table ‘Heal your Spirit, Heal yourself’ based on Tibetan Buddhist healing from Terence Moore and Lynette Howells.

Boards exhibiting works from the schools’ Queens Park and Upton High frame the outskirts of the show. Queens Park incorporated fun paper mache figures, colourful sculptures and textural flowers. Upton included charcoal ‘Mondrian’ compositions by Andy Mcfadden and Matissesque paintings with colourful shapes. A rather charming ink sketch revealed ‘Elephant’ by Lauren Hogarth. The Ridings infant school had a space displaying two effective works based on Lowry and German artist Hundertwasser.

The show has been organised by key AFAS members including Diane Burrows, Christine Robinson, David Heke, Caroline Flint, Isabel Challinor and Philip & Denise Harrison. Other artists participating in the show were Sarah Peterson, Suzanne Hodgson, Pam Mould, Clare Warren, Mike Penney, Linda Shuttleworth, Heather Lannin, Dafydd Humphreys, Richard Hoddinott, Richard Hore, Itet Radcliffe, John Hopkins, Micheal Gunning and Lesley Barker. ‘Young at Art’ has been supported by The Chester Civic Trust and sponsored by Queens Park High and Snappy Snaps. AFAS will be expressing more artistic dynamism in a soon to be arranged art show next year.

Reviewed by AB

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