The darkness of pandemic and now light of future through eyes of artists including former council officer Sue

Artist in garden

Former council officer and now artist Sue Coleman (Cheriton) - Credit: Submitted

A group of artists who were drawn together through the 2020 lockdowns are staging a physical showcase of their work to celebrate their collaboration.

Kernow Creative Partnership, consisting of seven South Hams based artists, will exhibit this May at Torbay’s Artizan Gallery showing a collection of work ranging from printmaking to painting to sculpture, that captures both the light and dark of the lockdown experience.

The artists have considered other critical moments of 2020 such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the word's environmental crisis.

The magnitude of the Covid challenges is set against the resilience, positivity and hard work as communities have rallied together to find solutions bringing hope for the future. 

The partnership consists of John Rowe, artist working in wood, Nicholas Palmer, mixed media and abstract painter, Oonagh Glancy and Sue Coleman, printmakers, Peter Davies and Janet Brady, painters, and Gudrun Taresch, glass, silk and mixed media artist.

Painter Janet said: "My latest work came from the hypersensitive state we were all living in. It opened channels of emotions that I had buried. The time and space during lockdown opened a door to the most expressive and sensitive artwork I have made.”

The exhibition, ‘Creating for a New World’, runs from May 18 to May 29, Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 5pm at Artizan Gallery in, Lucius Street, Torquay. For more information on the exhibition visit https://www.art-hub.co.uk/ex/kernow20 or contact juliebrandon@artizangallery.co.uk

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Artizan is an independent, fine art gallery celebrating the work of South Devon artists and championing the contemporary artistic talent and established cultural heritage that marks the English Riviera as a destination for UK arts.

The Sue Coleman (Cheriton) story

In early 2015 I was working for Torbay Council having been at the council since 2002, and the thought of going through yet another restructure and finding more millions in savings in that year, filled me with dread.

I decided something was going to have to change in my life.  I loved my job, don’t get me wrong and felt honoured to serve this community, but I just found I could not face anymore cutting of services and losing good people.

I did not get a golden handshake or any redundancy package, I just decided to leave, so it was a real leap of faith.

Worries about how I could manage without my salary were in the forefront of my mind. However, I decided to jump. I struggled at first but I never looked back. I found a new passion in art and creativity and really enjoyed spending more time with my husband. Sadly, I lost my beloved husband in 2019 so our time together in this new life was limited.

I threw myself into creative activities, adult art courses and working with new art forms. I am now a Printmaker and Painter, teaching printmaking for beginners at regular courses across the south west, and am the current Chair of Drawn to the Valley, a consortium of 160 professional artists from around the Tamar Valley.

When Covid 19 hit a small group of artists based in Cornwall came together to create art around the issues of the times and Kernow Creative Partnership was born. We are excited to be exhibiting in Torquay. For me it feels a bit like coming home.

Art drawing of sorrow

The pandemic brought moments of darkness and sorrow for Sue - Credit: Sue Coleman

In lockdown I have been inspired by the beauty of the nature I was seeing around me. Some of my work in early lockdown period is quite dark for I have also found myself being challenged by the social context of the times, the zoom boxes, the stark focus of issues such as inequality and the impact our human race has had on the environment.

However, with the sun now shining and my ability to travel further afield to be by the sea, I feel renewed and believe this is now showing in my most recent work.

Hope Nose, an acrylic on board, inspired by a photo taken by Catherine Williams, which I will show for the first time at the Artizan Gallery. Hopes Nose is aptly titled as we come out of these dark times into the light.

Sea scene painting

But now there is joy and light with Hopes Nose - Credit: Sue Coleman