STEPHEN Todd’s allotment produce is on show for the first time at Kentmere House Gallery, Scarcroft Hill, York.
“As the gallery is surrounded by allotments, it seems entirely appropriate to mount an exhibition of them,” reasons curator Ann Petherick.
“I have in any case always found that artists are fascinated by them: everyone from Stanley Spencer to Tessa Newcomb. Is it something about the contrast between orderliness and chaos maybe?”
Allotments In Autumn will be on show until December 6, marking the York debut of Todd, a Sheffield artist who has exhibited in London with the New English Art Club, as well as at many regional galleries and internationally too in Brussels, Belgium, and Sofia, Bulgaria. Solo shows have been held at The Ropewalk, Barton-upon-Humber, and Cupola Gallery, Sheffield.
“Stephen’s work combines painting, drawing and occasionally photography, and along with allotments, it encompasses landscapes, seascapes, estuaries and the human form at prices ranging from £300 to £500,” says Ann.
“Painting and drawing are fundamentally about instinctive responses, and my work is based on strong mark making, often incorporating text, whether legible or not,” says Stephen. “Ultimately my work attempts to be strong, visual and aesthetic in quality.
“I paint places where I have an emotional connection, either personal or through ideas and thoughts that interest me. They provide a location where I can explore ideas, from personal history to classical references to the process of painting itself. The Humber Estuary is a major source of inspiration.”
In addition to his exhibitions, Todd has received awards to undertake research projects at places of historic significance, such as classical sites in Greece and Turkey, the Celtic Roman Rig in South Yorkshire and the Neolithic site of Arbor Low in Derbyshire.
“I’m interested in exploring the relationship between meaning and evidence of the past: how it affects what we observe and how we recollect it. How do we determine what we see? How do we ‘construct facts’?” he ponders.
Kentmere House Gallery is open on the first Saturday and Sunday of each month, 11am to 5pm; on Thursday evenings, 6pm to 9pm, and at other times by arrangement on 01904 656507 or 07801 810825 or by taking a chance on ringing the bell. “Please phone in advance if travelling any distance,” advises Ann.