Last week I headed to a new art gallery in town – well a new gallery to me anyway, because actually Croydon Art Space has been just a short walk from East Croydon Station, on Lower Addiscombe Road, since Summer 2021.
Curator of the gallery and Croydon resident, Paul Hall, owned the empty shop unit on Lower Addiscombe Road and wanted to refurbish it during lockdown. His original thought was to convert the shop into artist studios, but later he decided to create an art gallery. He came up with the idea through his work as a lecturer for Media and Internal Verifier for a Further Education College. Whilst he was assessing student coursework he realised that there was a lot of great art being produced, that the public didn’t get the chance to see. Hence he created his own gallery to showcase art to the public for free.
The current exhibition, on modern portraiture, is a group show in a variety of media, which includes many local artists, from South-Norwood-based Jonny Kemp to Thornton-Heath-based sisters Rakel Wienberg and Sarah Wienberg.
When I arrived at the gallery I was greeted by a welcoming Paul who gave me a personal tour around the three rooms. Once you pass through the electric blue shop front, you enter a cosy first room, containing portraits by Jonny Kemp, Rakel Weinberg and Thornton-Heath-based Elizabeth Knapp. The portraits are complemented by ceramics by East Croydon artist Martin Cade. Moving into the second room is a surprise as it is about three times the size of the first, and feels airy and light – led by the art of Peter Clossick, works by Audrey Beharie-McGee, Natasha Dovey and Galina Gumbarova hang on the walls too. Again this is interspersed by ceramics pieces – this time by Selhurst-based artist Patricia Moses (be sure to check out the donut vases). The third and final room is dedicated to the work of Sarah Weinberg, which mix media as well as lettering into the otherworldly dreamlike portraits.
One of the things I loved about this exhibition was that I was introduced to some artists I didn’t know. I was particularly drawn to Rakel Weinberg’s fine art photographic portraits which explore themes of disorientation, memory and emotive imagination, as well as the graphic and vibrant portraits of Audrey Beharie-McGee and colourful paintings of Natasha Dovey. Art is very subjective though, so there will be a style for everyone – it’s like a mini RA Summer Exhibition hidden behind a shop front in the back streets of East Croydon. Get yourselves down there.
Croydon Art Space is located at 41 Lower Addiscombe Road, Croydon CR0 6PQ. The gallery is open Tuesdays 10am to 2pm, Thursdays 4pm to 7pm and Saturdays 10am to 2pm. Book a free ticket on Eventbrite in advance here. The current exhibition is on until 5 August 2023.
All images courtesy of the gallery, except the interior photos (by the Croydonist).
Posted by Julia