FESTIVAL OF CHICHESTER: Festival Artists are major addition to the line-up

Festival Artists are one of the great innovations at this year’s Festival of Chichester.

Catherine Barnes
Catherine Barnes

Remaining very much individuals within the group, the Festival Artists are offering the chance to enjoy professional art – at times designed to tie in with festival-goers then going on to other festival events.

Catherine Barnes, a key member of the group, stresses it is not an art trail. The showings aren’t necessarily in the artists’ studios, but all the participants are working professionals.

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“When you go on a trail, you visit the studio, you learn about their premises and their colours and how they do it. The emphasis is all about the artists. But professional artists are not like that usually. Their work is more important. They want it to be about the work they produce and about the viewer. They want the viewer to interrogate the work, not the artist.”

Catherine Barnes

As she says, in thinking it all up, Catherine came up with a number of rules; another was that the artists all had to be within an easy radius of the Cathedral, again to match up with other festival events: “The location was a priority – and so too was the quality of the work. There are no beads and bunnies here! We want the Festival of Chichester to grow, and the standards must be high. We would love to come back next year. We will have to see how it goes, but there is no reason why we shouldn’t do it all again. The standard will be high, but obviously we will have to see about availability.”

As for Catherine’s own contribution to the festival, she is showing at her Juno Studio, 107 Cedar Drive, Parklands, Chichester, PO19 3EL, on the five Sundays of the festival, from 11am-6pm, each time focusing on a different aspect of her work.

“When work is very diverse, it can be very confusing for people,” Catherine says. “It is not confusing for real artists. They can do life drawing one week, a record cover the next, a mural the week after. But when you are exhibiting, it is better to have a certain consistency visually. An artist should be able to do everything, but when you are showing, it is the viewer, the receiver who is the important person.”

Five Festival Sundays starts on June 14 with a focus on abstract landscapes. The importance of music in Catherine’s is reflected in the second Sunday (June 21) when she offers music-inspired artwork. Catherine has worked with a number of composers – either painting in response to a new composition or asking the composers to write new works inspired by a particular painting. Believing drawing is an essential element in successful artwork, and exploring the creative possibilities of printmaking, for week three (June 28) Catherine will show life and landscape drawings and a range of prints produced by drypoint, etching or monoprint.

A selection of paintings, prints and drawings featuring the human figure hang on Sunday, July 5. Having studied classical Greek sculpture at first hand for many years, she has re-interpreted and incorporated these timeless creations into a selection of paintings, as well as using her own models for contemporary paintings of figures in an environment.

The series concludes on July 12 with a show of her seascapes, the sea being the other major influence on Catherine’s life and work. Catherine trained at two of London’s major art schools, first at Camberwell School of Art, then subsequently at Goldsmiths’ College. Her professional work has been exhibited since 1988 in London, Paris, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Florence. Her paintings are in many private collections, most recently from her solo exhibition in Chichester in March 2014.

More details on www.catherinebarnes.com. For full details of the dates for all nine Festival Artists taking part in this year’s Festival of Chichester, see www.festivalofchichester.co.uk.

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