Delamore than you can imagine

Laura White
Laura White

With one hundred and forty artists exhibiting at this year’s show, who should you see first?

Now in its 17th year, you could be forgiven for being slightly overwhelmed with the prospect of Delamore Arts annual exhibition.

The month long show is now in full swing with a hundred and forty artists displayed in the light airy rooms and in the formal garden and grounds on the Eastern edge of Dartmoor. But where to begin? It can feel like sensory overload without some sort of plan, so try seeking out these artists first – five of our favourites.

Helen Thompson who also goes by the name Holy Smoke was inspired by a photograph of an Egyptian mummified dog. She conjures up her sculptures by layering tufty fragments of linen and paper over a wire frame. The wispy quality of the cloth is reminiscent of soft pastels and is well-suited to scruffy mongrels and skinny lurcher types. Of particular note is the success with which she captures the fleeting moments of dogs as they sit, stand or watch. In many hands it would end up as schmaltz but Thompson’s monochromatic, understated medium lands poignant every time.

Keith Stott spent over 30 years living on Dartmoor before he drifted off to Wiltshire. However, a monthly pastel workshop which he holds at Kingsbridge keeps him coming back to satisfy those who want to learn the skill. He is self-taught in the medium but manages to achieve incredible realism in his landscapes of moorland, fields and country lanes. Aside from his technical mastery his work has a warmth which makes it stand out from the crowd.

Delphine Jones studied Graphic Design and Illustration at the Exeter College of Art and Design and specialises in screen prints of the Devon landscape from ploughed fields to beaches. Beginning with a series of sketches, rubbings and photographs, she dismantles her subject into its component parts before rebuilding it into a final print. Her pictures, which are highly textural and slightly abstracted, have a tremendous luminous quality which energises the final image.

Thomas Waugh, who studied traditional carving techniques in India, makes us re-examine our relationship with rubbish.  He takes discarded objects from cigarette butts and crushed soft drink cans to polystyrene packaging then recreates them in stone and marble. There is something disconcerting about the way these useless objects have been immortalised and something of a reality check when one remembers that human rubbish is in itself just as enduring. The strongest pieces are those which have no iconic value.  For example, the squashed cardboard box whose precious contents have already been decanted and which has no redeeming qualities to offer. By rendering it in marble it almost becomes a fossil from our time.

Judith Jones is a Fine Art photographer based in Dorset who has exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.  Her work uses the mysterious transitory time of twilight to explore the boundaries between interiors and outside spaces. Her work typically features buildings illuminated from within and casting light out into the blue semi-darkness. They summon up memories of being scared of the dark and of exclusion, as well as that voyeuristic experience of looking into private spaces from outside.  We have all walked down a dark street and found our gaze drawn to a window whose undrawn curtains reveal a brightly lit room.

The Delamore Arts Annual Exhibition runs throughout this month to 31st May and is open every day of the week from 10.30am to 4.30pm.  Delamore House is located at the Delamore Estate in Cornwood, PL21 9QT. Admission is £8 and dogs are allowed in some parts of the grounds, excluding the formal gardens.

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