The seventh Alexander Collection, an exhibition of contemporary art, is open for viewing and it is well worth making your way to Preston St and dashing through the grand portico of the Alexander Centre to see the works on display.
There are five renowned artists, all living locally, in the Collection: Simon Ashmore, David Hayward, Estelle Jourd, Jeff Lowe and Gabrielle Nesfield.
Simon Ashmore works with photography. He is interested in achieving expressive and often abstract images using such techniques as digital manipulation, as well as printing processes dating from the 19th century, rather than aiming at representation. He tries to stimulate emotional or intellectual responses to his work. The passage of time, loss, memory and hope are recurring themes in his work.
David Hayward works in encaustic which is oil colour dissolved in molten wax. The opacity and malleability of this medium means that the paintings have an accidental quality to their development. The abstract qualities of colour and surface can be ordered in ways that allude to aspects of the the physical world and to memories of specific places and events.
Estelle Jourd is inspired by our local landscape of sea, sky and flat marshland. She prefers to work from memory over a period of time, layering the paint to create the desired texture and form. A student of the Kent Institute of Art and Design in Canterbury, she has lived in Whitstable for most of her life.
A student of 1960s New Generation of British sculptors, Jeff Lowe moved to The Limeworks near Faversham in 2017 and says that the converted concrete building and workshop inspired his art to move in a new direction. Jeff works with curvilinear sheets of aluminium, incorporating openings, overlapping layers and a dramatic use of colour. The Collection shows a selection of the monoprints inspired by these sculptural works.
Gabrielle Nesfield’s work is represented in private collections around the world. She studied at Canterbury College of Art and the Royal College of Art, and for many years was a sessional lecturer at the Kent Institute of Art and Design.
Fresh from her position as Deputy Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Pim Baxter OBE became the patron of the Alexander Collection in 2018. It has been a slightly bumpy ride with Covid lockdowns sending the Collection online, but the new Collection is launched, very physically, hung in five rooms in the Alexander Centre and Pim is keen to stress that the door is now open and anyone can come in to see these marvellous works completely free of charge.
Pim says: ‘We weren’t sure what was going to happen this year, so we asked alumni of the Collection if they would be willing to lend their work for a two-year stint. It’s very generous of them.’ Pim says they have many ideas how the Collection might develop from this including workshops with artists and involvement with schools.
The Virtual Alexander Collection can be viewed at www.the alexandercollection.org.uk
Text: Posy Gentles. Photographs: Neil Brown and Alexandra Campbell