Slade Centre open again

IT is great to welcome back exhibitions at the Slade Centre at Gillingham, newly refurbished and with a cafe serving delicious cakes and good coffee. And the first exhibition, Field and Feather, paintings by North Dorset-based Ursula Leach and prints and sculpturs by her close friend, Jayne Ivimey, who lives in Norfolk, is thought-provoking and beautiful.

The gallery has re-opened after the latest lockdown.

The environment, the beauty of the landscape and of birds, and the fragility of the planet are at the heart of the two artists’ work, and are seen to great advantage in the light and airy ground floor gallery at the Wyke end of Gillingham town centre.

The exhibition was curated and expertly hung by gallery owner Anne HItchcock.

Ursula Leach and Jayne Ivimey met at art school in Wimbledon where Ivimey introduced Leach to the devastating impacts of large-scale industrial farming on rural landscapes. In the latter part of the 20th century Norfolk suffered particularly badly as fields became ever larger, soils eroded and wildlife suffered. Leach watched in horror as similar changes occurred in the landscape of the Cranborne Chase.

Field and Feather shows their very different responses to this environmental damage as Leach’s paintings sit alongside Ivimey’s evocative responses – in giclee prints and sculpture – to the RSPB’s Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern.

Pictured: Jayne Ivemey, No Place To Be, giclee print; Ursula Leach, Sparkling Hedge, and Hedge Corridor, both oil on canvas; Ursula Leach, Uneasy Landscape, oil on canvas.