Artist Carol Wagstaff is back at the Arundel Gallery Trail

Carol WagstaffCarol Wagstaff
Carol Wagstaff
Steyning artist Carol Wagstaff is delighted to be joining the Arundel Gallery Trail once again after a successful debut last year.

A multi-media artist whose work observes and explores the chaotic and beautiful world that we inhabit, as she says, inevitably, the pandemic has changed her.

“I can’t imagine that your work could not change because of the pandemic, but I would say that the work I will be showing is more visceral, more unfiltered than before. I have come around to becoming more abstracted, even more so than I was before.

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“And I have left the work as it is. I would never try to prettify my work, but this time I have left it in a very raw state. Sometimes I work very quickly; sometimes I work very slowly. But most of the work I have done recently has happened very quickly, and I have looked at it and I have thought ‘What else do I need to do?’ and I have decided, no, I am going to leave it just as it is.”

Born in London, and growing up in Hertfordshire, Carol has lived in rural Sussex for the past 30 years.

After a career in the beauty industry, and with a keen interest in all things creative, she decided as a mature student to embark on a foundation course, followed by a degree in fine art, graduating in 1998.

Her work often addresses the uncomfortable effects on us of environmental changes and global conflicts, and in 2013 and 2015 Carol gained awards for work that depicted the impact of human decisions. Her images are often made in response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis and disenfranchised peoples across the world.

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This year, Carol joins the Arundel Gallery Trail at The Victoria Institute, 10 Tarrant Street, Arundel BN18 9DG, from August 26-29 plus Bank Holiday Monday, August 30.

The pleasure of the art trail is partly in meeting other artists, she says: “I am exhibiting as a solo artist, but there are other elements going on around the building. There are sculptors showing their work, and I think it makes for a much more interesting experience for everyone.

“Not everyone will engage with everyone’s work, but if anybody does with mine, I will be very interested to talk to them.

“A lot of my work involves environmental and humanitarian issues, and sometimes it is not necessarily comfortable or pretty work, but it is emotional work and if someone gets that, then that is the most important thing. I have had people in tears in front of my work, and in a way that is the ultimate accolade.

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“But certainly this last year, with this mad world, I have been exploring colour more and exploring abstraction more… as I say, in this rather more visceral and unfiltered way.”

Another element in Carol’s Arundel Trail contribution will be a photographic study of the Tarrant Street traders: “I thought it would be an interesting project to pull together a series of photographs of the shopkeepers in Tarrant Street, and fortunately many of them were agreeable. I will put it together on a wall, separate images.

“I just thought it would be interesting to have a snapshot of these traders in their environment, in this moment, these people that keep the wheels running, the cogs in the Arundel wheel, the people that bring services and friendship to a vibrant community culture.”