Cumbria Crack

Green Door at the Merz

From left clockwise: Ann Marie Foster – Hood-E, Mike Healey and Cally Lawson

[M]embers of Green Door, the region’s leading artists’ collective, faced up to a new challenge for their latest exhibition.

The group were invited to visit the iconic Cylinders Estate in the Langdale Valley, home of Kurt Schwitters’ Merz barn, to create new work inspired by the work of Schwitters or by the barn and its surroundings. The results of the project can be seen in an exhibition at the Elterwater site from 24 September to 12 October and includes paintings, prints, collages, diorama, sculptures and ceramics.

In her art work titled, ‘Hood E’, Ann Marie Foster references the papery territory of Schwitters and his use of the discarded debris of the every day.

“I took faded paper patterns used in dressmaking and collaged them to create another layer of meaning,” explained Ann Marie. “These opaque, ghostly papers refer to previous identities of the wearer. The garments carefully constructed from the paper patterns have been shed along with the previous selves that inhabited them. In my use of collage materials I’ve contrasted the mechanical nature of the lines imprinted on the paper patterns compared with the fluid, intuitive contours of the figures.”

Cally Lawson has created a large collage, inspired by Kurt Schwitters’ collages and his use of found objects. ‘Beyond the Lines’ incorporates a reclaimed frame and an old stag skull and antlers. Emulating the colour palette, use of found objects and abstract style of Schwitter’s famous collages, this artwork evolved from the intricate natural lines in the skull’s structure.

Mike Healey has created a complex three-dimensional diorama that is an expression of Schwitters’ celebrated claim that perspective is a ‘swindle’.

“I have inverted normal perspective, so that images close to the viewer are small whereas objects further away are large, thereby ‘destroying’ classical Renaissance perspective,” said Mike. “Within this framework there are smaller, equally dramatic narratives going on in which visual expectations and perspective are constantly usurped.”

“Our members have relished the opportunity to create new work in such an inspirational setting,” says Green Door administrator Janice Benson. “Some of them were already familiar with Kurt Schwitters and the Merz barn project but others have made their first visit to the Merz barn and have been stimulated by the beauty of the site and the legacy of Schwitters’ work.”

The Merz barn building still stands much as Schwitters left it in 1948. Located in a remote woodland in the heart of the Langdale valley, it serves as a symbolic connection and poignant memorial to the spirit and tenacity of the artist who worked there.

Exhibiting artists include: Gordon Baddeley, Roger Bell, Averyl Bradbrook, Barbra Cropper, John Davenport, Ann Marie Foster, Janet Graves, Lynda Gray, Mike Healey, Marion Kuit, Cally Lawson, Karen Lester, Richard Light, Anne MacKinnon, Marjorie Park, Ana Sequeira, Elizabeth Shorrock, Keith Shorrock, Steve Trevillion, Geraldine Walkington, Andy Wild, Frances Winder.

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