Superb exhibition opens town’s new art gallery

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One of the recurring aspects of Mike McCartney’s opening exhibition at the Artworks 1830 Gallery, Shaw Lodge, Halifax is the vigour and vitality of mark making.

Mike McCartney, a retired engineer graduated as a mature student from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2008, since then he has produced a credible body of work which demonstrates a brave engagement with scale, line and a select palette of colour.

The six works which are the exhibition’s title are grand in scale and are a symbolic representation of the artist’s response to the battle of Stalingrad which was fought on the Russian front in 1942. The texture of the work is rough and bold and the overwhelming white and black in these abstract works suggests the stark and terrible conditions in which men fought and died. On the other hand his works inspired by the Calderdale Pennine Hills reference places and landscapes and are small, bright and cheerful. I particularly liked the ‘Old School’, a study in white and red, for its presence and simplicity of design.

If figure studies interest you then you might be drawn to the aptly titled group studies. These sizable charcoal and acrylic drawings on paper, are lively, spiky and bold displaying vitality and movement in line even to the point of an aggressive engagement with the act of drawing. The scale and number of the works comfortably fill this airy and delightful modern gallery space. Part of an old converted mill, this gallery and exhibition would not look out of place in London, Paris or New York. Both the gallery and the exhibition are a must see. The exhibition is on until June 28. Details on opening from www.theartworks.org.uk

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