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Artists launch diverse exhibition at Brampton Museum

A dynamic group of successful female artists with a close connection to Newcastle-under-Lyme are preparing to launch their latest eye-catching exhibition.

The multi-talented members of #7 – who became friends while teaching art and design at Newcastle College – are combining their individual specialisms to unveil the first group show in the new gallery at the Brampton Museum: an eclectic mix of new work created in response to the theme of juncture.

They are showcasing their different interpretations of the theme, which can mean a particular point in events or time or a place where things join, in a wide variety of media including ceramics, 3D, paint, textiles, photography, poetry and animation.

The seven women came together in 2016 as a way of extending their friendship and continuing their shared passion for creativity. They have exhibited locally and nationally, both individually and collectively, with some having shown their work internationally.

Joyce Iwaszko specialises in producing contemporary works using unconventional materials such as ceramic pigments and cement. She’s the founder and director of local visual arts organisation DUST Rising and its Every Other Seat pop-up exhibition which featured a display of seat designs in Hanley and Newcastle to highlight the crucial role that creative people play in the well-being of a town, particularly after Covid. Her work for the exhibition is inspired by celebrated Stoke-on-Trent ceramic artist and designer Clarice Cliff.

Meanwhile, artwork produced by Heather Hancock has been shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize – the largest and longest running annual open exhibition for drawing in the UK – and was exhibited in various galleries around the country. Joining #7 as a guest is Olivia Rowland, a practice-based PhD student at the Manchester School of Art, whose print-based and animated works have featured in numerous exhibitions with highlights including the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair, The Brick Lane Gallery, Alchemy Film and Arts Festival, Clifford Chance’s Postgraduate Printmaking in London, the neo:art prize, Masters: Screen and Stone at Bankside Gallery and The Red Mansion Art Prize. Olivia’s mum, fellow member Ruth Rowland, taught Joyce who in turn taught Olivia.

Pictured, left to right, with their new exhibition at the Brampton Museum are: Joyce Iwaszko, Sharon Porteous, Hazel Higham, Sara Penny, Ruth Rowland and Olivia Rowland.

Joyce, who lives in Newcastle-under-Lyme, said: “We’re really looking forward to hosting the first group show in The Jim Wain Courtyard Gallery. This is a highly visual exhibition, with something for everyone. We planned it almost three years ago, before the pandemic started, so we’re happy that it’s finally opening. It’s been worth the wait as the new art gallery is really modern and bright.

“We want to shine a light on the creativity happening in Newcastle-under-Lyme. I’d like to think that residents are becoming more used to seeing more challenging artwork thanks to Appetite’s ongoing programme. Art can be anything you want it to be but there are things that hopefully people will see. There is so much happening in the world at the moment so I hope this helps to provide a welcome distraction. It’s a great opportunity for anyone to come and be inspired. It’s definitely something a bit different.”

“Juncture by #7” runs at the Brampton Museum from Saturday, 19 March to Sunday, 8 May. It’s open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and on Sundays from 1.30pm to 5pm.

Admission is free and a limited amount of free parking is available. Members of #7 officially open the exhibition on 19 March, between 2pm and 4pm, when there will be a pop-up café provided by The Little Vintage Tea Room.

Cllr. Jill Waring, Cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage, added: “We’re very pleased to host ‘Juncture by #7’ in the museum’s new art gallery following the hugely successful Arthur Berry season. It’s great that this exhibition celebrates the talents of local female artists. Visual art is very powerful – we want to help raise its profile and the role it plays in making the town a forward thinking, culturally diverse and inclusive place.”

Visitors can enhance their experience by taking part in workshops, with details to be announced.

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