Now you see it …

AND then it’s gone for another month … It was 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.

So it’s closed now, but let’s hope that Lockdown 2 will end on 2nd December and that the gallery can reopen that week for a few more weeks of this important show.

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, curated and, as always, expertly hung by gallery owner Anne HItchcock, was due to run to 21st November, but Anne now hopes to continue it for about a month (maybe more), depending on when the lockdown ends and the restrictions that then apply.

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.