After artist/educator Bryan Eccleshall had curated a successful group exhibition of paintings at the Gage Gallery in Sheffield featuring around 15 artists, he invited me to work jointly with him on touring the exhibition to Shrewsbury. I was happy to accept and set about securing a venue and inviting Shrewsbury and West Midlands based artists to respond to the theme for the second showing.
The show at the Gateway Gallery in Jan/Feb 2023 was entitled A Charm of Goldfinches and comprised 27 versions of Carel Fabritius’ Goldfinch, which is held in the Mauritshuis in The Hague. Motivation for the exhibition related to the trauma of the pandemic, and with the pleasure and nourishment many people gained from returning to domestic-sized painting and drawing, as well as the joy of watching nature.
The Goldfinch is the most famous of the three surviving paintings by Fabritius, who died along with his student Mattias Spoors in a huge explosion in 1654 that devastated a quarter of Delft including his studio and many paintings. It was a pleasure to include a new poem by Kate Innes in the exhibition. This poignant poem describes the artist regarding his painting in the hours before the Delft Thunderclap.
The exhibition featured work by Amanda Hillier, Andrew Howe, Andy Cropper, Bryan Eccleshall, Carol Bowsher, Cyd Whelan, Christine Gallagher, David McGuire, Georgia Peskett, Hayley Lock, Helen Nodding, Hondartza Fraga, Jamila Walker, Jancis Vaughan, Jennifer Wallace, Jereme Crow, Katya Robin, Linda Edwards, Lucy Farrington, Matt Sewell, Maria Champion-Forster, Paola Alessandri-Gray, Paul Evans, Sean Williams, Sharon Kivland and Stephen Lowen
The exhibition inspired other artists to make their own versions including a group of artists learning in a class at the Gateway Arts and Education Centre.