And so to Hastings Art Forum, a welcoming venue located on the St Leonards seafront, for a group exhibition by SoCo Artists, a professional collective whose base in East Sussex is reflected in several of the works on display.
For example, Sally Cole offers ‘Dungeness’ and ‘Cliff Edge’, neither of which would satisfy folk who want photographic representations in their painting but which vibrantly capture the spirit of those locations. This style recurs a lot in an exhibition where feeling and canvases with energy feature far more than obvious representational studies. I particularly liked the pairing of Felicity Montaigu and Colin Robson in the corner of the second room with their emotive, weathered landscapes, and the work shown by Jen Painter, ‘Summer’s End’ in particular, creates a feeling by selecting the essential elements of a landscape and fusing them beautifully.
There is a lot that is worth looking at. My personal favourite being Heather Hookey’s swirling, almost-noir, Tearoom. I lack the vocabulary to say why but I enjoyed the way people and objects merge, its effective use of a particular purply palette of colour and the slight ray of light.
All in all, this is an excellent collection. It’s contemporary and inquisitive without being aloof and excluding. I liked it a lot and intend to keep a lookout for what SoCo are doing next.