Fulcrum Group

8 FEBRUARY –  1 APRIL 2016
PRIVATE VIEW 5 FEBRUARY 2016, 6.00 – 8.00 PM

‘Fulcrum’ presents the work of three painters from Cambridge. Their work ranges from the abstract to the figurative, from the gesture to the construct. Together they balance on the tipping point between representation and abstraction. Here we find more or less painterly ways of working, experiments in pictorial possibility that test the image against the abstract potential of the material and history of paint. In bringing the work together in one show we hope to provide an opportunity for viewers to explore this territory with us.


Mella Shaw – Force Majeure

15 January – 1 April 2016, ARB atrium
Private View 5 February 2016, 6.00 – 8.00 pm

Force Majeure, French for a superior or irresistible power, is a term used in the writing of legal contracts, to free both parties from obligation in the face of extraordinary natural events or disasters, from war to hurricanes or earthquakes.

The ceramic work Mella Shaw is showing in this exhibition is concerned with moments of transition, tipping points, thresholds and edges. All the work is painstakingly hand-built from small component parts of colourfully stained porcelain. Shaw exploits porcelain’s material quality of pyroplasticity, where the clay body sags, warps or bends in the kiln when fired at high temperature. She is particularly interested in the moment when clay vitrifies into ceramics, where an object loses its order and momentarily gives way to chaos and chance, in the dark behind the closed doors of a kiln. The resulting forms are reminiscent of otherworldly ruins, caught on the verge of collapse.

Mella is Exhibitions Manager at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, a role she combines with her own practice as an artist/maker, and with teaching and writing about ceramics. In 2013 she graduated with Distinction from the MA Ceramics and Glass, Royal College of Art, London, and was profiled in Crafts magazine, Ceramic Review and Axisweb. Residencies include three months at Konstfack in Stockholm, Sweden, and a year as artist-in-residence and tutor at University of the Creative Arts, Farnham. Recent exhibitions include a solo exhibition at Kaolin Gallery, Stockholm, showing at both London and Milan Design Weeks and by Sarah Myerscough Gallery at STRARTA Art Fair, Saatchi Gallery, London. Mella exhibited at the British Ceramics Biennial 2015 as one of 11 artists selected to represent the best of contemporary British ceramics in their centrepiece AWARD show. She has recently been featured in Wallpaper* magazine and on BBC news as well as being selected by Culture24 as one of “10 artists you should be collecting now”.

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New exhibition by Jenny Langley

Threads of Life

Exploring and celebrating the structural diversity of proteins through embroidery and printing

5 October to 23 December 2015, exhibition opening Thursday 8 October from 6-8pm

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Jenny Langley has a degree in Chemistry and gained a diploma in embroidery in 2005. Using textiles as a creative medium, her scientific past surfaces in her textile art. She has had solo exhibitions around the country and worked with seven museums to create bespoke tactile story mats as an educational resource, the latest one being for the Polar Museum in Cambridge.

This exhibition has developed from the artist’s interest in chemistry, in particular proteins. It is a celebration of their structural diversity and the crucial roles they play in building our bodies and enabling the chemical reactions that keep us all alive. The exhibition has developed slowly over time and contains pieces using different textile techniques including taking collograph prints directly from embroideries. Many of the pieces are made from silk and wool; proteins themselves. On show for the first time are felted vessels exploring the hidden, protected and precious nature of the active sites of enzymes.

Jenny will give a guided tour of her exhibition for the Festival of Ideas on Tuesday 20 October 2015 at 6pm.

Enzyme Activity

Jenny Langley: Active SiteJenny Langley: Active Site - blue II

New exhibition by James Faure Walker

6 JULY – 27 SEPTEMBER 2015


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Born in 1948, James Faure Walker studied at St Martins (1966-70) and the Royal College of Art (1970 to 1972). He had already exhibited widely in the seventies (the Hayward Annual 1979) and eighties (a solo exhibition at Manchester’s Whitworth in 1985), and was one of the founders of Artscribe magazine in 1976, which he edited for eight years. He has exhibited eight times at SIGGRAPH in the USA, won the ‘Golden Plotter’ prize at Computerkunst, Gladbeck, Germany in 1998, and featured in ‘Digital Pioneers’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2009. His book, ‘Painting the Digital River: How an Artist Learned to Love the Computer’, was published by Prentice Hall (USA) in 2006, and awarded a New England Book Show Award. He was one of the five English artists commissioned to produce a print for the 2010 South African World Cup. Till 2014 he was Reader in Painting and the Computer at Chelsea, University of the Arts. In 2013 he won the Royal Watercolour Society Award.

Critics have commented on the lyricism and exuberant colour of Walker’s paintings, surprising given that since the eighties computer graphics has been central to his work, alongside oil paint and watercolour. They have also mentioned his independent stand, using photos of pedestrians, birds, shops, at the same time as having developed an ‘abstract’ language. As Stuart Morgan wrote in 1985, “His doubt may lead to one of those careers which bridges older and newer practice, and which opens more doors than it closes”.


Lapwings, © James Faure Walker
Train ticket to Milan
Train ticket to Milan, © James Faure Walker