As its contribution to the International Festival Of Expressionism, Castlefield Gallery is showing the work of three contemporary artists, each demonstrates the heightened humanism, which defines expressionism.
John Bellamy was born in Port Seton, Scotland, in 1942. His distinct sense of place and lurid imagery exemplify the expressionist tradition: in his painting seabirds, Fishing boats and fish heads may mingle with skeletons, ravens and Munch-like spectres. The sometimes tragic circumstances of his life are transformed into a self-mythologizing art.
Amanda Faulkner’s pastel works on paper are likewise concerned with states of physical and emotional vulnerability. They confront with a jumble of limbs and faces; women’s faces, registering primal emotions, be it rage or love; sharp-pointed breasts that parody notions of conventional female beauty; hands cradling hearts or caressing shrunken penises. Never far away from the urge to nurture is a corresponding impulse to wreak bloody violence. These works face down the sources of happiness and disquiet with direct honesty, and the painful truth telling which is the mark of Expressionism.
The paintings of Lucy Jones share Faulkner’s candour yet have a very particular identity. They come in two types: the self-portraits are disarming in their depth of self-knowledge. Physical awkwardness is unflinchingly depicted and, by virtue of total emotional conviction, transfigured. The cityscapes, invariably of London, are unpopulated but never deserted, for Jones’ own responses fill the scenes with a human consciousness. Lucy Jones’ work is an impressive demonstration that expressive art can also be affirmative and life enhancing.