Art in the Times of Covid

Amongst the plight of many self-employed people during Covid, one group that has attracted less attention is the visual artist: painters, sculptors, ceramicists and the like.  True, at the best of times their profile is relatively low, except for the few big names. If not in actual garrets, most work from studios, tucked away in former industrial buildings or from home or their back gardens. The prospect for many, however, has been bleak, The Art Fairs that provide their opportunity for selling artwork have been largely cancelled, particularly the indoor ones in the lead up to Christmas. 

The impact has not only been financial, but psychological. In putting together a Christmas exhibition at the Bingley Gallery, David Starley found significant numbers of artists, for whom lockdown had led to a lack of inspiration and an inability to actually come up with fresh work. However, it has not been universal, for some the first, more rigid, or perhaps more rigidly observed, lockdown was the chance to re-connect with the natural environment inproximity to their own homes. David, himself an oil painter, returned to one of his favourite subject;, trees. As he said “they just seemed that bit greener, more beautiful and powerful than before”.

For Bingley-based artist, Jane Fielder, lockdown was an almost magical opportunity to recall the traffic-free years of her childhood. One of her new works, ‘Lockdown – The Night Pollution Slept’, describes the scene: “The stars were as bright as when I was a child, 70 years ago! Wildlife had its moment. The only train was a hedgehog scurrying along the railway track with its babies. The swans, emboldened took up the tow path, babies on back, the ducks huddled close behind them.There wasn’t a movement or a sound. An exquisite eerie silence blanketed Bingley that night. Only an odd sock and a bra, hanging defiantly on the washing line broke the silence, comforting normality, whispering ‘all will be well…..all will be well…slow down..slow down……look after your world.”

Jane Fielder ‘Lockdown – the Night Pollution Slept, Bingley’ Giclee Print

Amy Charlesworth, another painter, who distinctly enjoyed the lack of crowds and chattering of people found such pleasure in recreating the snow-blanketed expanses around the Ribblehead Viaduct, returning time and again to find new angles from which to observe the iconic monument.

Amy Charlesworth AC048 ‘Ribblehead Winter’ oil on canvas

The work of all three artists, together with examples from a number of others feature in a new exhibition at the artist-run Bingley Gallery. Although lockdown prevents visitors entering the gallery at the time of writing, and the website provides a means for artists to showcase their response to our unique current situation and who knows, a sale or too might provide a little retail therapy for artist and buyer alike.

The exhibition will run from 19th November until 24th December 2020.

The gallery is currently closed due to lockdown, but it is hope that normal, pre-Christmas gallery hours will be resumed: Mon to Fri noon to 6pm, Sat and Sun 10am to 6pm

For more information, please contact:

Gallery owner: David Starley (01274 586 272)