Wizadry with metal makes for a magical sculpture exhibition by Beatrice Phillpotts

A flurry of red dots greeted the opening of the popular annual AppArt exhibition, which has taken over much of Prior’s Field School, Godalming until Saturday 16th April.

First mounted 20 years ago by Gwyn and Evelyn Phillips, who live near Haslemere, it gets more ambitious each year. This year, the Surrey Sculpture Trail organised in association with Surrey Sculpture Society features more than 100 exhibits in the school grounds, while the indoor exhibition has more than 470 artworks.

Professional and up-and-coming amateur artists from across the South east are represented and award winning artist Jamel Akib sold many of his paintings at the private view last Friday before the show opened to the public. Akib’s ‘Red Dress against Cerulean’, a figurative oil painting of a striking brunette dancer caught mid-motion, pulsates with the energy and shock colour contrasts characteristic of his work. The same grasp of anatomy and focussed composition also shine through.

Another master of composition and figure is Victor Ambrus, whose paster and conte portrait of Maria ‘The girl from La Manche’, is another dark haired beauty. Captured in profile, she is resplendent in delicately flowers and black lace. The artist’s equally talented wife Glenys Ambrus is represented by a splendid pastel still life of a glass vase full of garden flowers and tea on a lace cloth with a Turkish rug beneath, which dances with colour, light and pattern. The air of whimsicality that runs through her still life studies comes to the fore in ‘Spring in Sheep Street, Buford’, a chocolate-box English village inhabited by stout ladies with dogs on leashes.

A similarly dotty joie de vivre pervades Janet Crook’s cheery wall mounted porcelain sculpture ‘ Learning to Fly’, of a Jester-like mother and child taking off with arms outstretched.

Mary Hainline’s mixed media painting ‘Hare in the Autumn Garden’, is not just a hare but a flamboyant profusion of garden birds, seed heads and autumnal flowers, also dynamic is Pattie Tuema’s oil study of red hot pokers, Ellie Wright’s panoramic view painted in acrylic of undulating sunlit hills rolling into the distance.

A wizard with metal Carlos Dare’s gleaming aluminium unicorn commands the school entrance while further fantastic creatures lurk in the lawns beyond.

Fellow master of the surreal, sculptor Gilbert Wyman has fun with tin hat tortoises but also displays his figurative talents with a sinuous standing nude in bronze resin.

Macomb West is represented by a beautifully observed bronze resin nymph merging into a tree in a mirror reflection, besides a flock of grazing stoneware sheep by Jon Barrett-Danes and assorted pecking chicken-wire hens by Geoffrey Stinton.

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