Artist’s Studio, Ruth Miemczyk, photograph David Chalmers, 2016

Saturday 11th November – Sunday 17th December
Fridays – Sundays 11.00am – 4.00pm
and at other time by appointment.
Admission is free.

You are invited to the preview of this exhibition on Friday 10th November at Crescent Arts at 7.00pm – 9.00pm

In Conversation: Ruth Miemczyk and Stuart Cameron
Wednesday 22nd November at 7.00pm
The artist is ‘in conversation’ about her work and the exhibition with Crescent Arts’ Director. All are welcome and admission is free.

The start of a picture can often be quite ambiguous. I can work energetically, conscious of the physicality of movement, the deliberateness of a gesture. Keeping an openness and fluidity in my working process enables me to become responsive to the unintentional or surprise element that might suddenly come into being’. Ruth Miemczyk

Painting is a process of constantly looking, changing, contemplating, and discovering for Ruth Miemczyk. She employs a visual language that is experienced through colour, shape, scale and a sense of space that is arrived at through the visible process and gestural act of painting. Her paintings take shape as a distillation of this visual language by adding, eliminating, changing the balance, weight and dynamics until she is close to being satisfied with the resulting work.

Over the period of time that Ruth has been working in her studio at Crescent Arts she has been increasingly interested in pairings or groupings of paintings. This is reflected in her method of working with several closely related paintings simultaneously which allows her a more expansive development of the visual language. The pairing of works is particularly fascinating, since it raises interesting questions about the uniqueness of any specific action, gesture or decision. The impossibility and futility of attempting replication, exact or otherwise, is quickly apparent. The diptych form raises formal challenges concerning (a)symmetry as an inherent characteristic, which cannot easily be disregarded, and whereby similarity serves to accentuate differences.

While Ruth talks about her paintings purely in terms of their abstract qualities of gesture, shape and colour, the viewer may be drawn to look for associative elements and it’s certainly possible to see how the paintings relate to landscape or architectural structures or spaces. That’s not to say that the paintings are ‘about’ landscape or architecture, or even a specific place or event. While Ruth will occasionally give a title to a painting that heightens an atmospheric reading of the work it can equally refers to the archetypal geometry and colour within the painting. Like many of the best artists, she manages to create a sense of clarity without destroying the delicate balance which must allow for ambiguity and expansiveness – without which the work would lack poetic spark.

While she may not be certain of how a painting begins, or where it will lead her, she can recognise when it ‘works’ and should be left alone. That she might have ‘finished with’ any single painting is perhaps misleading, as we can retrospectively trace similar configurations across works spanning a considerable period of time. The recurrence of certain shapes and gestures; notably the geometric shapes of diamonds, circles, squares and triangles is clearly apparent. It’s as if she has to look again and revisit a proposition or idea, but the resulting paintings emerge as persistent, elusive and wayward as memory.

Untitled Diptych, oil on canvas, Ruth Miemczyk, photograph David Chalmers, 2016

Saturday 18th Nov
Monotype Printing
Artist-tutor: Ruth Miemczyk

Monotype printing is an approach that lies between printmaking and painting. The process results in a ‘one-of-kind’ image produced by working a design with oils, inks and similar materials on a surface such as glass slab, metal plate or stone. The image is then transferred to paper. Ruth will guide you through this exciting and versatile process, with plenty of opportunity to experiment with ideas and materials.

Ruth Miemczyk lives and works in Scarborough. She studied Fine Art at Barnsley School of Arts and Crafts and then at Central School of Arts and Design and Goldsmiths College, London. She has exhibited widely across the UK including the current touring exhibition, Sketch Open 2017. Ruth has renewed her connections more recently in Poland, where she has participated in several residencies and group shows as well as presenting major solo exhibitions in Lodz in 2006 and Gorlice in 2003 and 2017. This exhibition is her second solo showing at Crescent Arts.


New work by Janet White

Flow, cyanotype, detail, 2017

Saturday 30th September – Sunday 29th October
Fridays – Sundays, 11.00am – 4.00pm and at other times by appointment.
Admission is free.

You are invited to the opening of this exhibition on Friday 29th September at Crescent Arts between 6.30pm – 9.30pm.

In Conversation: Wednesday 4th October at 7.00pm
Janet White will discuss her work with Crescent Arts Director
All are welcome and admission is free.

‘The present – in the form of my activity, interventions and documentation – collides with the past (recent or otherwise) as embodied in fallen or unearthed fragments I retrieve…’ Janet White

Janet White has, for some time, been exploring the agricultural and architectural as sources for her material and as sites to plot and map pathways, tracing the experience of her environment. Evidence of her encounters includes recorded data, sound, collected fragments, photographs, prints, frottage and drawings. Her artistic practice has evolved through a process of methodical ‘research’ – probing, investigating, gathering, measuring, evaluating – that simultaneously feeds an instinctive response on her part, giving rise to a more visual-poetic interpretation of her ‘findings’.

The artist is an inveterate collector of physical fragments, but these are not just random found objects. She has, for example, amassed a vast assemblage of small pieces of pottery uncovered and systematically gathered from a single field as it has been ploughed at various times and over several seasons. This requires forward planning, working around farming schedules and accommodating unpredictable weather conditions. The collected fragments are recorded meticulously by date and time of collection and indexed according to weight and size. This seemingly ‘dry’ taxonomical methodology serves mainly to draw greater attention to the fact that each fragment is imbued with a unique history, distinguishable through appearance and characteristics that are not so easily classified.

The visible or physical fragment, which is all that remains of an object, takes on its own shape and identity. It acts as a form of synecdoche of a narrative, memory, place or person about which we can merely speculate. Chunks of masonry, salvaged from demolition sites, perform a similar function to that of the assembled pottery shards. A piece of architrave, a broken baluster, or even a single brick can stand in for a building, a style of architecture, an historical event, or even an entire civilisation. A rubbing taken from a flagstone suggests the scale and dimensions of a more extensive floor or pavement. Their materiality contains the accidents of history and provides evidence of usage, misusage and disusage, even extending to their current context as part of a contemporary artwork. The artist encourages specific associations on the part of the viewer through combining various forms of re-presentation that includes prints, drawings, frottage and formal arrangements of found elements or materials in order to embody abstractions; ‘field’, ‘floor’, ‘façade’, ‘footprint’.

We unwittingly leave traces of our presence and evidence of our actions, however slight or subtle, wherever we go. Janet White’s work makes us a little more aware of our passage through time and space and our relationship with our environment.

Field Fragments, digital image, detail, 2017

Janet White lives in Scarborough and was awarded a studio residency at Crescent Arts in 2015. She originally trained as a graphic designer before completing a BA (Hons) in Fine Art at Yorkshire Coast College (now Scarborough School of Arts) in 2013. Janet exhibited in a solo capacity at Studio Gallery in Scarborough (2013) and participated in Hoard, Leeds (2014). Her work extends to performance and she contributed to The Art Party Conference (2013) in Scarborough, and to Anthony Gormley’s One and Other, 4th plinth, Trafalgar Square (2009) and subsequent publication. While Janet has taken part in group exhibitions at Crescent Arts; Soundings (2012), Print! (2015), Footnotes 3 (2017), Flow is her first solo exhibition here.

Hand Made This

New work by Justin DL


Saturday 12th August – Sunday 17th September 2017
Fridays – Sundays 11.00am – 4.00pm
and by appointment. Admission is free

You are invited to the preview of this exhibition on Friday 11th August
between 6.30pm – 9.30pm

This installation, prepared and achieved through mixed-media experimentation, explores traditional and non-traditional processes and their influence on the conceptual progression of a body of work. Justin DL

Justin DL describes his work primarily in terms of ‘process’ and, in this installation, he presents a configuration of abstracted physical images of hands recreated in various styles and which encompass a range of media and production processes in the evolution of the work.

The artist frequently uses photographic images as source material. On the surface this might appear to explore a semi-autobiographical strand, referencing photographs from family albums for example. However these photographs usually show situations at which the artist was not present and therefore he remains on the outside. The implied sense of intimacy combined with actual distance gives rise to further speculation about the material, which the artist explores largely through visual means and a tension between hand and technology ‘and their influence on the conceptual progression of a body of work.’


Justin DL experiments with ‘process’ and his approach is open-ended with no easily identifiable start and end points. The ‘found’ family photograph, which serves as source material, already has an independent history and significance but can also be seen as a generic form, with the potential for transposition through abstraction. Some elements of the creative process are completely mechanical or digital using current technology in combination with traditional technologies such as the printing press. Other actions rely upon the direct intervention of the hand of the artist, usually wielding an implement of some kind – pencil, crayon, brush or jig saw.

‘Hand Made This’ suggests the reliance on the artists own ability to craft and manipulate all the material available but also the acceptance and/or role of the hand in art-making processes even if some of the material is appropriated. Justin DL

Justin DL graduated in Fine Art from University of Newcastle in 2012. He was offered a studio residency at Crescent Arts in 2015. Justin has taken part in exhibitions at Crescent Arts including Footnotes 3 in 2017. He has shown work at Bad Behaviour, London, 2016, and more recently at Kunsthuis in North Yorkshire. This is his first solo exhibition. Justin currently teaches art and design at Scarborough School of Arts.


Art Party Conference, Photograph Tony Bartholomew 2013

Art Party Conference, Photograph Tony Bartholomew 2013

An exhibition of design proposals from Leeds Beckett University: Project Office Architecture created specially for Crescent Arts, to develop a brand new beach-side visual arts, creative and education resource for Scarborough.

Saturday 8th July – Sunday 30th July 2017
Fridays – Sundays 11.00am – 4.00pm
And by appointment
Admission is free

You are invited to the opening of CHANGING ROOMS on Saturday 8th July between 2.00pm – 4.00pm. Craig Stott from Leeds Beckett University’s School of Architecture and Co-Director of Project Office will discuss the design proposals in the exhibition.


Leeds Beckett University’s School of Architecture: Project Office
Saturday 8th July: 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Craig Stott, Senior Lecturer and Co-Director of Project Office, with a select group of architecture students from Leeds Beckett University, will present design proposals for a new visual arts and creativity centre by the beach that will also provide a spectacular new home for Crescent Arts. All are welcome to the exhibition opening and informal drop-in session.

Changing Rooms, Photograph Crescent Arts 2017

Changing Rooms, Photograph Crescent Arts 2017

Friday 28th July & Saturday 29th July: 12.30pm – 2.00pm

Crescent Arts’ Director, Stuart Cameron, presents an overview of the project and our ideas for a brand new beach-side visual arts, creative and education resource that we hope to develop as an inspiring new home for Crescent Arts. Join in the conversation and tell us what you think. All are welcome.

Crescent Arts, supported by Scarborough Borough Council, is working on plans to transform the area known as ‘Children’s Corner’ on Scarborough’s South Bay near The Spa Complex. The sunbathing building next to the Cliff Lift has been sadly neglected since closing about 25 years ago and we want to restore the building and, better still, develop it as a beach-side arts and creative activity centre. A new resource for residents and visitors alike offering creative activities by the beach for all ages and abilities – exhibitions, workshops, film screenings, performances, talks, social events. Creative rock poolers, beach combers, sand sculptors, silver surfers – discover hidden talents and be inspired by resident artists working in the coastal environment.

Leeds Beckett University’s School of Architecture: Project Office have taken a positive look at Scarborough, what it offers and its extraordinary potential. We gave Project Office and their students a free hand to research and come up with a range of exciting and imaginative design proposals. The exhibition CHANGING ROOMS at Crescent Arts presents the best of these ideas, spanning a refreshingly broad range of architectural approaches and inspiring concepts. The proposals look at the relationships between site, building and surrounding landscape, future potential, access from all parts of the town, environmental sustainability, sympathetic (yet imaginative) use of building materials and not forgetting practical considerations – such as the weather!

Who will benefit? We want to support the next ‘creative generation’ to energise the town and promote further regeneration and wellbeing. Artists and makers living and working in the Borough will have access to facilities, expertise and a new outlet for their work. Wider communities and residents can take advantage of new creative, leisure and educational facilities with inspiring beach-side activities led by the best artistic talent from the region. We aspire to be a major cultural destination for visitors to Scarborough, contributing to its creative economy and further prosperity.

Scarborough’s South Bay has long attracted residents and visitors alike, dating as far back as the 17th century, making Scarborough the first seaside resort in Britain. The Victorian landscaped gardens of South Cliff are a superb heritage and conservation asset of which we can be justly proud. It’s a major attraction for visitors who can enjoy the traditions that Britain’s oldest resort combines with its distinctive creative flair and more than a dash of contemporary seaside style. The architecture of South Bay has evolved over the years, with the construction of the cliff bridge in 1827 and the cliff lift in 1875, while the unique sunbathing building at ‘Children’s Corner’ was added in the early 20th century.

Crescent Arts invites you to view the design proposals in the exhibition CHANGING ROOMS and tell us what you think. We’ll be on hand at the exhibition to discuss our ideas with you and hear your views. We hope you’ll share our enthusiasm and aspirations to build an inspiring new visual arts, creative and education centre by the beach as a great resource for Scarborough.


Footnotes 3: Studio & Synergy

New and recent work by artists at Crescent Arts


Charlotte Salt, Grip-Gold, ceramic

Our latest exhibition FOOTNOTES 3 – Studio & Synergy showcases a range of new work by artists currently working from studios at Crescent Arts. The exhibition encompasses a rich diversity of practice and media from print to papercuts, digital media to painting, ceramics to moving image.

Saturday 22nd April – Sunday 11th June 2017
Fridays – Sundays 11.00am – 4.00pm and by appointment
Admission is free

Justin DL, Ruth Miemczyk, Serena Partridge, Steven Malorie Potter, Charlotte Salt, Janet White, Webb-Ellis

Footnotes 3 – Studio & Synergy showcases current work by eight artists who are based at our studios at Crescent Arts. Whilst there is no central theme, the exhibition explores the synergy between artists and associations between their work, hinting at common concerns. Their work spans a range of media and approaches including painting, sculpture, ceramics, mixed-media, moving image and the (re)appropriation of collected or found objects, material, footage and images.

Janet White, Drawing, ink on paper, 2017

Janet White, Drawing, ink on paper, 2017

Ruth Miemczyk presents new paintings produced since taking up her studio here in 2015. Ruth’s current work continues her practice to explore an abstract visual language of colour, geometric shape, scale and gesture. She seeks to create a strong sense of space in each work arrived at through an intuitive, though highly rigorous, process of painting.

Justin DL is working with processes whereby abstracted, sometimes pixelated, visual material is manipulated through an interchange between the physical and the digital. Scanned print outs are transposed by the ‘hand of the artist’ and then re-scanned, giving a sense of mutability and placing in question the notion of a ‘finished state’ of the work.

Charlotte Salt works with found materials, images and objects collected from a range of sources – the internet, junk shops, markets, scrap yards. She assembles and manipulates material to heighten associative qualities, drawing upon tensions between quick gesture and labour intensive processes such as a use of ceramics or textiles. Her work explores contexts and concerns relating to expression, feminism, labour, narrative and memory.

Janet White also incorporates found objects and materials in her work. She has, for some time, been exploring landscape and architectural sites as the source of her material and as a means to plan and map pathways through her experience of the environment and its history. Evidence of this activity includes photographs, drawings, frottage and collected architectural and natural fragments.

Ruth Miemczyk, untitled, oil on canvas, 2017, photograph David Chalmers

Ruth Miemczyk, untitled, oil on canvas, 2017, photograph David Chalmers

Webb-Ellis are becoming widely know for their large-scale moving image installations. Many Moons is a more intimate online project which incorporates short videos of between 10-30 seconds duration aligned by the artists to stages of the lunar cycle. The video material, which is accessed online, takes on the character of a ‘visual diary’.

Steven Malorie Potter works predominantly with the traditional medium of paper cuts. The content of his work, however, defies expectations through irreverence and humour. It could be said that his work trades upon apparent contradictions between highly skilled craftsmanship, a slow and painstaking process of artistic production, and contemporary forms of technology, communication and social media.

Serena Partridge is also well-known for the high level of skill in crafting the work she produces, as a clear strategy to position her work seamlessly within specific contexts such as museum collections. Serena will reference recent work including miniature shoes and embroidered items such as those seen at Brönte Parsonage as part of ‘Charlotte Great and Small’ in 2016.

Footnotes 3 – Studio & Synergy brings together a selection of the artists’ work to explore associations, create visual dialogue and to reveal some common or collective concerns. We hope you will enjoy exploring the exhibition and meeting some of our artists who will be happy to discuss their work with visitors.

Man swimming on his back in the sea

Gary Coyle, from Lovely Water Series, digital archival print, 1999-2016

Saturday 18th February – Friday 31st March

Artists: Sally Barker, Tessa Bunney, Gary Coyle, Lynn Dennison, Peter Matthews, Anna Heinrich & Leon Palmer, Simon Pope, Gayle Chong Kwan, Anna Sikorska, Kit Wise & Tace Kelly, Sea Swim

Scarborough exhibition venues:
Crescent Arts, Woodend Gallery, Farrer’s Bar at The Spa and in the foyer at Stephen Joseph Theatre

Mondays – Fridays 10.00am – 5.00pm
Saturdays 10.00am – 4.00pm
Coastival: Sunday 19th February 10.00am – 5.00pm
Admission is free

Curated by Lara Goodband

We’re delighted to be hosting the exhibition Sea Swim: Head Above Water as it reaches its final showing in Scarborough on a coastal tour. Opening in February as part of Coastival 2017, it’s a multi-venue exhibition with a selection of work exploring sea-related themes. The exhibition includes work in a wide range of media, by artists of international standing.

The transformative effects of sea bathing that inspire artists and writers are captured in the exhibition, exploring its sensations, stories and psychological impact. ‘Head Above Water’ reveals the embodied imagination of the swimmer’s experience through film, photography, sculpture, drawing and poetry at venues around Scarborough.

Anna Sikorska, Buoys,(detail) ceramic, 2016 (clays of different origin)

Anna Sikorska, Buoys,(detail) ceramic, 2016 (clays of different origin)

The way the shoreline and the sea changes both our physical experience and the way we look at the human body, has long been a subject for artists and writers. Whether it be from rocks or a beach, the place where we enter the sea is a point of transition between weight and weightlessness, between our life on land with all its noisy complexities and the silence and strangeness of the sea. Through the development of a range of relatively cheap waterproof technologies the point of view of the swimmer can now be explored by artists more intimately than ever before.

‘Head Above Water’ brings together artworks that are sited in and around the coast, and which explore the transformative effects of this liminal zone. Time and timelessness are recurrent themes. The tide comes in and erases the traces of footprints on the sand and hides the shore; it goes out and reveals the hidden and leaves the beach fresh for us once again. This is paralleled in artistic acts and processes that record making and unmaking, doing and undoing. Swimming becomes an act of drawing, or measuring, in the full knowledge that the line that is taken for a swim will disappear into the sea. Drawn by and through water, this work is haunted by the memory of encounters with its fluid energy in a place where the trade-off between freedom and danger is constantly in negotiation.

Such physical experiences may be at the root of myths, religions and stories connected with the sea. Many of the artists in this exhibition seek to connect these narratives with the physical threat and possibility of taking the plunge. The shore is both a site of longing to set out, and a place of refuge and return. It’s both erotic and dangerous, a place of sublime sensation. When the swimmer enters the sea they’re stripped back to a common body, and when they emerge, they return renewed to the strangeness of their lives.

Tessa Bunney, Porthtowan Pool, Cornwall, Tidal Pool series, inkjet print, 2011

Tessa Bunney, Porthtowan Pool, Cornwall, Tidal Pool series, inkjet print, 2011

The shore and coast can be misread as the edge of the land when in fact it is central to our history as a species, and a place where the linear trajectory of our culture is thrown into sharp relief by the sea’s timelessness. Through participatory art practice, ecological perspectives, rubbish, voices, pleasure-seeking, industry, social interaction and organisation – all are transformed into things rich and strangely human by getting under the sea’s skin and letting it get under ours.

Sea Swim explores, with groups of swimmers in Plymouth, Folkestone and Scarborough, how swimming in the sea changes the way we feel ourselves to be in our bodies.


Funding partners and venues:


Participating and supporting venues in Scarborough: