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Farsley art gallery explores vessels with three exhibitions

The acclaimed Sunny Bank Mills Art Gallery at Farsley in West Yorkshire is hosting three exhibitions this autumn exploring the nature of vessels.

Vessel runs until October 30 and incorporates two pop-up exhibitions Art House – Home of Dis/Content and Lullabies in Lockdown.

Jane Kay, the Gallery director and curator of the exhibition, explained: “We are incredibly excited and proud about Vessel, which is an imaginative investigation into the form and function of vessels through 2D and 3D visual art and craft, events and discussion.

“We will be unpacking the notions surrounding these containers; showing a collection of multi-media art works alongside two pop-up exhibitions which invite you to consider ‘vessels’ from a more conceptual viewpoint.”

Art House – Home of Dis/Content, curated by Carole Griffiths, explores themes of domesticity within the architectural vessel which is a doll’s house. Carole utilises the interior of a doll’s house to display miniature artworks reflecting domestic life.

Carole commented: “During the global pandemic, there was a smallness and an enclosed feeling of home and I felt compelled to respond to it. The longer I was confined to my home during the pandemic, the more I thought about my interactions with specific kitchen objects that communicate back to me of body, function, and through the act of making, small.

“Art house is not just an empty cabinet but an opening to the past, nostalgia, part objects, part-sculptures and questions the maternal materiality of domesticity through function and experience. The viewer can enter it and observe the new sculptural representations of the kitchen utensils from doorways and openings and viewpoints,” she said.

This pop-exhibition ends this Sunday (September 25).

The main exhibition Vessel, which runs until October 30, features work by Yorkshire artist; Alice Fox; Carol Douglas Frances Lee; Joe Andrew Helaina Sharpley Loretta Braganza and  Sarah du Feu alongside  ceramic artistst Zoe Preece and Jeremy Nichols and  Spoon artist Ann Povey 

Alice Fox, who works from her studio in nearby Saltaire, explained that sustainability was at the heart of her practice.

“The desire to take an ethical approach has driven a shift within my work from using conventional art and textile materials into exploring found objects, gathered materials and natural processes.

“A hollow container that might have function, but also can contain, enclose and protect other items, has a universal appeal. Even an empty vessel holds space and frames it, suggesting potential. The vessels shown here are made from a variety of gathered, grown and re-purposed materials.”

All of Alice Fox’s work shown in the exhibition also features in her new book Wild Textiles, which was launched at the gallery earlier this month.      

Meanwhile Carol Douglas, who also features prominently in Vessel, is a York based artist. Her life-long affection for art led her to enrol on York College’s Art Foundation Course in her mid-60s, kicking off her career as a painter.

She commented: “My final project at art college was named Domestic Objectivity and this theme has continued throughout my practice. I use acrylic on canvas and paint with small rollers which create the flat surfaces I require.”

Carol won the Art and Design Lifelong Student of the Year Award 2018. Now aged seventy, she has work in galleries in York, online galleries in London and is collected by interior designers and collectors.

Lullabies in Lockdown, curated by Beth Duggleby, uncovers the experience of new parenthood during the pandemic through illustrated stories surrounding the babies who had to stay at home. The pop-up exhibition starts on October 1 and runs throughout the month.


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