Serena Partridge, Care, cyanotype on felt, detail, photograph Jonathan Turner, 2017

Serena Partridge
Luminary II
Saturday 8 September – Sunday 7 October
Fridays – Sundays, 11.00am – 4.00pm
Admission is free

Luminary II presents a series of embroidered installations by Serena Partridge. The artist creates intricately stitched artworks frequently inspired by historical objects, people, places and storytelling. Serena often presents her work as ‘museum artefact’, with detailed labels playing upon our expectations of narrative or context.

The works in Luminary II were inspired by Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth (Miss Rachel) and the textile collection she assembled at her home, Gawthorpe Hall. The work was commissioned in 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary of Miss Rachel’s death. Serena was keen to incorporate Miss Rachel’s ethos of keeping traditional craft skills alive, by including design and stitch elements made with local schools and adult groups across Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Luminary II features four main works:

Set presents formal place settings for a dining table, featuring embroidered drawings inspired by Miss Rachel’s extensive travels collecting textiles from around the world. Serena asked local school children to draw famous landmarks representing countries Miss Rachel visited. She then hand-stitched a selection of the drawings with glow-in-the-dark thread.

Care represents Miss Rachel in her role as caretaker of Gawthorpe Hall and her growing textile collection. Serena worked with fellow artist, Scarborough-based Angela Chalmers, to create soft cyanotype prints onto felt that embody Miss Rachel’s notion of her exquisite collection of whitework as ‘snowflakes’.

Guide is inspired by Miss Rachel’s long involvement with the Girl Guide Movement and a communal sampler, designed by Miss Rachel and embroidered by her guides and brownies. Serena invited local school pupils to create designs and drawings, adapted by an adult group who designed and embroidered individual pennants.

Play is informed by Miss Rachel’s determination not to learn to play the piano, despite her parents’ insistence. The flora and fauna Serena has created for Play are inspired by the stunning crewel work ‘Tree of Life’ bed curtain Miss Rachel designed and stitched, which can be seen at Gawthorpe Hall.

Serena Partridge, Guide, detail, photograph Jonathan Turner, 2017

The exhibition at Crescent Arts reconfigures the works that were originally presented ‘in situ’ at Gawthorpe Hall in 2017. The biographical content remains central, but the exhibition inevitably distances the work from its original context. Our attention is focused on it as a conceptual interpretation of  ‘heritage’, experiencing it as a visual response (to a museum collection), enriched by biographical and narrative strands and enlivened by the engagement of young people and adults in the process of making the work.

Serena Partridge graduated from Hereford College of Arts in 1998, BA (Hons) Design Crafts (1stClass), and has been based at Crescent Arts since 2015. She has exhibited widely in a solo capacity and participated in various group exhibitions. This includes major commissions for Charlotte Great and Small, Brontë 200 at Brontë Parsonage, Haworth (2016) and Luminary at Gawthorpe Hall, Lancashire (2017).

Luminary is a Gawthorpe Textiles Collection commission and part of Meeting Point2 by Arts & Heritage; presenting 10 new artist commissions in museums across the North East, North West and Yorkshire.  Meeting Point2 is funded by Arts Council England Museum Resilience Fund.


An exhibition about collage

Dawn Brooks – Kate Evans – Christine Flinton – Wanda Maciuszko
Ruth Miemczyk – Helen Tomlinson – Jenny Weston – Janet White

Sunday 1st July – Sunday 22nd July 2018
The exhibition is open Fridays – Sundays, 11.00am – 4.00pm
and by appointment. Free admission.

SIZZL presents experiments with the process of collage by a group of artists who participated in a recent workshop at Crescent Arts. The exhibition was produced, assembled and installed by participants, working individually and collaboratively, during a one-day workshop led by Ruth Miemczyk. Artists explored the possibilities of a range of techniques, materials, forms and use of colour, working in two and three dimensions within the boundaries of our exhibition spaces.

Collage (from the French ‘to glue’) describes a process whereby the artwork is made up of disparate elements assembled to create a new whole. The origins of collage can be traced as far back as 10th century calligraphers in Japan and, before that, to paper production in China. Within contemporary visual arts, collage has strong associations with 20th century Modernism, especially cubists Braque and Picasso, who are said to have introduced the process into painting. Matisse also worked extensively with decoupage, a version of collage that involves the ‘cut-out’ to create and assemble an image. The Surrealists used collage to great effect, experimenting with photocollage (often as political comment), subsequently influencing a huge diversity of artists ranging from Lee Krasner to Richard Hamilton to Barbara Kruger to John Stezaker, and also as a staple technique of western agitprop graphics.

The practice of collage is not confined to the visual arts. The concept has also been explored by practitioners of other artforms including literature, music, sound, film and architecture. Contemporary techniques inherent to digital media and software owe much to the groundbreaking work, embedding a language of collage, by artists and designers over the past century.

Collage Workshop, Kate Evans and Dawn Brooks, Crescent Arts, June 2018

The Woods will Turn: Sawn 6, Helen Sear, 2018

prospect  refuge  hazard
Saturday 5th May – Sunday 10th June 2018
Exhibitions co-hosted by Dalby Forest, Ryedale Folk Museum and Crescent Arts

We are also delighted to announce the première screening of ‘wahaha biota’ by Helen Sear

A new video and sound work commissioned during a year-long residency at The Forestry Commission England, Dalby Forest as part of Forest Art Works, in partnership with Crescent Arts.

From the planting of trees to their processing in the saw mill Helen Sear has followed and videoed the day to day management of the forest environment, combining the industry of wood production with leisure activities such as paintball where the forest fulfils the function of a backdrop for primal experiences.

‘If the trees in the forest could utter vibrations absorbed over time, they might resemble the sound track for wahaha biota ‘ – Helen Sear

Taking lyrics from the many rock and pop concerts staged in Dalby Forest as a starting point, and producing sheets of words “cut up “ in the tradition of Tristan Tzara and the Dadaists of the 1920’s, the artist led a sound workshop at Dalby Forest with Rob MacKay, Senior Lecturer in Music from The University of Hull. Participants vocalised the cut up lyrics for a dawn chorus recording of human voices set in a forest clearing. Their calls and whispers mingle with birdsong and barking deer across the physical space of the forest. The resulting sound collage is reminiscent of a pre-lingual stage of development, where boundaries are fluid, exploring the pure materiality of existence. The result is a lyrical cycle of intense sound and imagery that explores a visceral human relationship with the forest, referring to both the mythological and the quotidian, rendering both inseparable.

Biota: the animal and plant life of a particular region, habitat, or geological period.

Helen Sear’s practice can be characterised by her exploration of the crossover between photography and fine art, and her focus on the co-existence of the human, animal, and natural worlds. Her practice has developed from a fine art background in performance, film and installation work in the 1980s and she continues to explore ideas of vision, touch and the representation of the nature of experience, combining drawing, lens-based media and digital technologies. Her work challenges accepted notions of photography as a documentary and creative medium. With an exemplary track record for producing high quality, conceptually rigorous work, Helen Sear’s current work moves seamlessly between photography, sculpture, sound and video exploring the potential of the artwork to activate and elicit feeling.

The artist represented Wales for Cymru yn Fenis/Wales in Venice at the 56th International Art Exhibition, The Venice Biennale 2015, reinforcing critical acclaim for her work internationally. A selection of works produced for Venice, commissioned by Arts Council of Wales, will also provide a strong focus of the exhibitions co-hosted by Dalby Forest, Ryedale Folk Museum and Crescent Arts in May 2018. Stuart Cameron, curator of Sear’s first major exhibition at Chapter Arts Cardiff in 1987 and of …the rest is smoke for Cymru yn Fenis/Wales in Venice 2015, has worked closely with Helen Sear, The Forestry Commission England and Forest Art Works over the past year to enable the first artist’s residency and commission at Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire.

The Forestry Commission England has a long history of commissioning and working with artists in the forest environment, extending over the past 50 years, and its programme Forest Art Works is designed to promote arts activity in all its districts across England. We’re delighted to present newly commissioned work by Helen Sear as the first artist-in-residence at Dalby Forest in North Yorkshire with major funding support from Arts Council England.

Helen Sear discussed her work with art critic Jonathan P. Watts during the opening weekend of ‘prospect refuge hazard. Listen here:


For further information, please contact:

Laleh Hobbs, Communications & Marketing Manager
Forestry Commission, Yorkshire Forest District
T: Direct 0300 067 4333 | Mobile 07557 613496

Stuart Cameron, Director of Crescent Arts
T: 01723 351461

Saturday 17th February – Sunday 25th March 2018

Fridays – Sundays 11.00am – 4.00pm
Admission is free

You are invited to attend the preview of this exhibition (if you dare)
on Friday 16th February between 7.00pm – 9.00pm.

Steven Malorie Potter and Crescent Arts Director, Stuart Cameron will be ‘in conversation’ about the exhibition during the preview at about 7.30pm.

“It started with a passport photo, I thought they’d come back for it so I just kept it and they never did. Flash forward 3 years and I’m salivating at the thought that the family sitting opposite the till might forget the monkey bag of used earbuds, so I can add them to my collection”

Fine Artist Steven Malorie Potter has been collecting objects left behind by strangers at public spaces. Turning an archival project into a morose narrative he invites you into his serial killer’s twisted lair. Keep hold of all your personal belongings!

Steven Malorie Potter graduated from Leeds College of Art in 2012 and is currently a resident artist at Crescent Arts. Steven has exhibited widely over the past few years, recently as part of Queeriosity an LGBTQ exhibition at our namesake Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast.