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Indepth Arts News:

"Bergmans Dinosaurs"
2001-07-02 until 2001-07-31
Shire Pottery Gallery and Studios
Alnwick, , UK United Kingdom

Stone and bronze sculptures by Alan Lisle and Nick Whitmore, paintings in oil, acrylic and mixed media by Joe Dias, showing with hand-thrown studio porcelain by Ivar Mackay. Exhibition sponsored by the University of Northumbria at Newcastle and Whizz Print, Gateshead.When the famous Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman wrote, Today the individual has become the highest form and the greatest bane of artistic creation, he was sending out a warning about the apparent decline of skills and creative integrity within the Arts.

Classically trained sculptors Alan Lisle and Nick Whitmore, both fans of Bergman's films, together with painter Joe Dias, have chosen the Shire Pottery Gallery in Alnwick, to express, in a stylish exhibition of recent works, their belief that craftsmanship, ego and the aesthetic are not mutually exclusive.

The central theme of stonemason Alan Lisle's work is the relationship between humans and animals and the consequences for both of man's attempt to transcend 'nature.' Lisle uses stone for the silence of its fossilised life, and its association with things 'memorial' or 'historical.' His semi-skeletal forms of animals and particularly birds historically Christian symbols of hope and eternal life reflect the irony of a recklessness that has brought about the threat of extinction for many species of wildlife.

21 years of experience as a stonemason, letter cutter and monumental carver have led to restoration work on many historic buildings including St Paul's & Canterbury Cathedrals, Westminster Abbey and Blenheim Palace. Since his return to full time education, which has resulted in a BA First Class Hons and MA Distinction at Northumbria and Newcastle Universities in 1998 and 2000, Alan Lisle has had a solo exhibition at the Church of St John the Baptist, Newcastle upon Tyne, participated in group shows at Darlington and Newcastle and has had work sited permanently at Raby Castle, Co. Durham and Samsung Electronics, Cleveland. He teaches part-time at the University of Northumbria.

Nick Whitmore studied Fine Art at Winchester before moving to London in 1976, where he developed his skills in bronze casting at the Meridian Foundry in Peckham. In 1977 he took up a post at Newcastle Polytechnic, latterly University of Northumbria, where his students have benefited from his wide and profound knowledge of sculpture techniques. Nick Whitmore was Acting Head of Sculpture at Northumbria in 2000.

Nick Whitmore has exhibited at the Laing Art Gallery in 1980 and 1985, and the Crafts Council Gallery in 1992 and was commissioned to design and build the Burma Campaign War Memorial, Newcastle upon Tyne in 1991. He has a second career as a cartoonist and publishes regularly under the name 'Nicholas' in The Spectator, New Statesman and Private Eye. His drawings have been reproduced in journals, paperbacks and hardback books worldwide. In this exhibition Nick Whitmore presents life size portrait busts and small figurative works in bronze.

Joe Dias paints atmospherically moody Cumbrian landscapes. Working in a variety of media Joe uses unusual perspectives, looking up into the fells or hovering above familiar landmarks, conveying a strange sense of abstraction from the more conventional imagery associated with this region. Living in the midst of the worst affected areas of foot and mouth infection, and witnessing the distressing sight of mass- burnings, it is inevitable that some of his recent paintings have incorporated imagery of fire and smoke lending an interesting historical/political dynamic to these works.

Joe Dias studied at Carlisle College of Art and Design before taking his BA in Fine Art at Newcastle Polytechnic. Between 1995 and 1999 he was Lecturer in Painting at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle upon Tyne. He has had solo exhibitions at the Theatre Royal, Dumfries, Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, Southwaite Park, Penrith and other galleries throughout Cumbria and the North of England. In 1991 Joe Dias featured in the Channel 4 Production Secret Lives and in 1994 BBC Radio Cumbria commissioned a painting from him for the foyer of their new studios in Carlisle.

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