Exhibition celebrates 50 years of talented Tees Valley artists

An exhibition featuring work from world-famous artists that showcases half a century of artistic talent from the Tees Valley has launched in Middlesbrough.

Paintings by established artists, including one of David Bowie’s favourite artists William Tillyer, are displayed alongside emerging painters at ‘Legacy – 50 years of painting in the Tees Valley’, which is at the Auxiliary in Station St, Middlesbrough until December 12.

The exhibition brings together the work of 30 artists to tell a story of painting in the region spanning half a century.

One of the show’s curators, artist Deb Covell said that the event “traces a lineage of painters who have influenced and supported each other in various ways.

“Well-known and emerging practices sit side-by-side to acknowledge the impact and importance of painters who have taught, mentored and championed each other across generations.”

Co-curator and artist Sarah Cooney explained that the exhibition has been organised through Conversations in Painting, an artist-led initiative that promotes Tees Valley painters, connects them to networks and aims to establish the area as a place that supports painting practice.

“We wanted to celebrate the incredible talent that has come out of this area and highlight the connections that have bridged the gap between the generations of artists.

“It is a story that we felt had to be told. By showing work by well-known painters next to emerging, and in some cases overlooked, artists, we are highlighting that is a level playing field where we learn from and teach each other to be able to develop as artists.”

The exhibition was opened by Martin Raby, principal of The Northern School of Art, where many of the artists either studied or taught at the School when it was called Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD).

“We are incredibly proud of the central place that the School has played in the development of the thriving arts community in the Tees Valley.

“Of the artists exhibiting we have a number of prestigious alumni – Basil Beattie, and William Tillyer for example, along with more recent former students such as Rachael Clewlow and Hannah Campion, who are both fine artists with international reputations, not to mention the exhibition’s co-curators Deb and Sarah.

“The legacy of the connections continues right up to the present day, as we have a student John James Perangie showing, we present an annual student award in Joe Cole’s name, Phil Gatenby, Martin Smith, Deb and Tom Wall all taught at CCAD, and Tony Charles still does.”

‘Legacy – 50 years of painting in the Tees Valley’ features work by Basil Beattie, Bobby Benjamin, Emma Bennett, Raymond Bentley, Hannah Campion, Tony Charles,Rachael Clewlow, Joe Cole, Sarah Cooney, Deb Covell,Gordon Dalton, Jeremy Diggle, Richard Forster, Phil Gatenby, Jonny Green, Peter Hicks, Aly Helyer, Kelly Jayne , Brendan Lancaster, Laura Lancaster, Rachel Lancaster,Wendy Okey, John James Perangie, Ben Platt, Theresa Poulton, Narbi Price, Gerda Roper, Martin Smith, William Tillyer and Tom Wall.

It takes place at the Auxiliary in Station Street, Middlesbrough, and the artist-led gallery is open Wednesday-Saturday 12-4pm with free entry.

The show is part of Conversations in Painting: Fiesta MK2, a multi-venue celebration of painting in the Tees Valley.

As part of the event, an exhibition called ‘Supernature’curated by artist group Paint Lounge, is exhibiting a range of works in the Auxiliary’s Side Gallery that focuses on painters who explore the personal and political aspects of the impact of humans on nature.

Over in the Pineapple Black gallery space in the Hill Street Centre, Middlesbrough, ‘Mountain Size’, artist-led organisation Contemporary British Painting has another free exhibition which runs until November 30, featuring works that have a relationship to landscape.

On Thursday, December 5, people with a passion for, or connection with, painting in the Tees Valley are invited to the Collection Gallery space at MIMA, in Centre Square, Middlesbrough from 5.30pm for an informal evening of conversation to map the history of painting in the area.