Redcar Palace Open – Act 1

For the first exhibition of slots of 2023 Redcar Palace decided to run its first open exhibition call on the 3rd of February 2023. We invited proposals from artists for either individual or small group exhibitions that could sit within our gallery spaces. We envisaged two artists being presented in February and a further two in March. We were delighted with the diversity, quality and imagination in the responses that we received. As a result we decided to offer four artists the opportunity to show with us in February. These artists were: Jo Jenner, Lizzie Lovejoy, Owen Roper and Ross Lombardi.

The artists presented in this, Act 1 of our Open Call are at different stages of their career, some still studying whilst others have a regular exhibition and performance practice. One element that unites the four artists selected is an intense interest in what it is to live and work in the North East of England and in particular the idea of working class coastal communities. We are hugely grateful to all the artists who applied to show with us and we are looking at our future exhibition programme here at the Redcar Palace to see how we can support as many as possible in the future.

The Redcar Palace Open – Act 1 will be exhibiting until the 6th March 2023.

About the Artists

Jo Jenner

Jo is an artist in the second year of her studies at The Northern School of Art who works across the medium of photography and painting. Having moved to Redcar from Sussex two years ago her work expresses her fascination with the landscape. For this exhibition Jo has exhibited a new body of work that captivates with a scene we will all recognise from our times at the seaside. By documenting the seemingly simple subject of dropped ice-creams Jo has created images that have a beautiful abstract quality. At the same time these images perhaps conjure up the moment of personal tragedy when a perfect day on the beach is ruined as your ice-cream becomes food for the seagulls.

Lizzie Lovejoy

Lizzie Lovejoy is an illustrator and performance poet who studied at the Northern School of Art between 2016-2019. Since then they have used their illustrative practice to explore the histories and folklore of our area. They have also been commissioned to develop new performance pieces for Northern Girls (Pilot Theatre); The Whale (Eden Arts) and People’s Podium (Festival of Thrift). Lizzie was also appointed as “Artist for Change” at The Arc, Stockton in 2021. For the Redcar Palace exhibition, Lizzie is using a series of illustrations depicting local scenes and traditions as a starting point for a process of gathering new stories that will evolve over the course of the month, including creating new drawings for our window. If you would like to meet and talk with Lizzie they will be in the Redcar Palace on the following dates: 4th, 9th, 15th, 21st & 24th February

Owen Roper

We are delighted to present the work of Owen Roper in his first gallery exhibition. The team at Redcar Palace were impressed with the way that Owen has taken his interest in the work of the street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and made that visual language his own, using it to explore ideas that are important to him. Owen’s own personal statement is reproduced below:

“I’m from Sunderland, and I’m a 16 year old fine art student at Newcastle College.

I would love to someday work as a professional artist or maybe teach art at a college or university. I’ll never stop painting as a hobby.

The way I paint is erratic, impulsive, scruffy, or some people say, “aggressive”. My favourite time to paint is during the night. I use mixed media but mainly acrylic paint or spray paint. Most of my canvases are repainted old prints that I pick up from Charity shops or skips.

I like to highlight social issues such as corruption, consumerism, capitalist greed, anarchism, even my pro-drugs stance. I enjoy delving into conspiracy theories and urban legends. I started off painting portraits, but was introduced to the work of

Jean-Michel Basquiat, in college. Originally I was just trying to copy his style, but quickly neo-expressionism became my favourite art movement. I also love the works of Henry Moore and Lucian Freud.”

Ross Lombardi

Ross Lombardi is an artist based in Redcar who has been involved in our exhibition programme in different ways since we opened in 2021. Usually working in oil pastel or acrylic, Ross typically presents a very personal take on contemporary politics, his hometown and the world around him. These events are filtered through his own sense of humour and an artistic style which draws upon precedents including elements of British surrealism and the traditions of the graphic novel. For this exhibition Ross has re-imagined a group of work made over the past two years to create a sense of a single installation which represents a mini retrospective of his ideas and interests during that period. This extends to the way Ross has chosen to hang many of the work in what he thinks of as a “punk” style, saying that he tried to imagine how Sid Vicious would install an exhibition of paintings. We are grateful to a number of collectors who have loaned work back for this exhibition from their private collections.