A chance to explore two Hartlepool artists

Published Thursday, 7th June 2018

Two groundbreaking exhibitions by Hartlepool artists are set to give people pause for thought when they open in the town later this month.

“Amusements’ and ‘Note To Self’ are at Hartlepool Art Gallery in Church Square from Saturday 16 June to Tuesday 4 September and entry is free.

‘Amusements’ is a series of installations and artworks by Stuart Langley which seek to re-imagine the traditional gallery as a magnetically immersive space of colour, light neon and waste.

From a modern interpretation of the illusive rainbow to a pulsing sculptural homage to VHS, Stuart’s work centres on audience experience in offering fantastical combinations of material to create moments of the extraordinary.

Stuart Langley

Stuart comments: “The traditional gallery is often a sober and tense space which can feel intimidating to a lot of people.

“The works shown as part of this exhibition feature a stream of humour, colour and interactivity which aims to break down the idea of art being elite and hands the focus over to the audience, their interpretation and experience.

“I’m excited to be working with a number of local schools and their pupils to develop panels describing each of the works which will add more interest and authenticity to the way the show is presented.

“Building on a personal obsession with theme parks, 80s fantasy films, light and the potential to be found in waste, ‘Amusements’ is the culmination of an intensive artistic career which I’m proud to stage in the place I call home, Hartlepool.”

Meanwhile, ‘Note To Self’ profiles the work of Rachel Laycock, who specialises in kiln-formed glass, creating sculptures.

Rachel views her work as an emotional journey and attempts to define an aspect of self-presence in her pieces. Text is used as decoration, to both disguise and articulate the glass forms, allowing the work to speak of issues beyond the purely aesthetic.

Rachel Langley

‘Note To Self’ – which has been funded by Arts Council England Lottery funding - is a meta-perspective of Rachel’s experience with postnatal depression.

She comments: “I am interested in the ways that we can make and remake ourselves by creating objects out of our lived experience.

“In my work I use writing to heal, turning scribbles and negative thoughts into pieces of sculpture, all as a way of escaping and taking control of the moment, trying to define the intangible.

“I suffered with PND with all three of my children. It’s something you can’t control. I now feel I have finally stepped outside of the fog, looking at it rather than being consumed by it.

“The process of writing and creating sculptures really helped – creating glass pieces is very therapeutic, releasing thoughts that I could never talk about. I completely believe my work helped get me through.

“I hope this exhibition can raise awareness of PND, anxiety and depression, make people aware they are not alone, signpost people to professional help or even inspire a new process to manage thoughts.”

Hartlepool Art Gallery is open Tuesdays to Saturdays 10am to 5pm. For more details call 01429 869706.