14 June 2015

Colour and a bit of monochrome on the E17 Art Trail

The last day of the E17 Art Trail - I still have seven must-see circles on my now much scrawled-upon map, more than enough to fit into one day. Here are some of the more colourful highlights from the shows I've managed to catch so far.

A last chance today to see Hassan Vawda's paintings, displayed on a garden wall right on the edge of Epping Forest. Hassan claims to have no formal art training and not to take the business of being an artist too seriously, but his paintings although primitive-looking are far from naive. He often portrays himself, sometimes as a hairy uncouth figure confronted by art world sophisticates, sometimes as a figure symbolically linked to his cultural roots. Catch this while you can - no. 105 on the Art Trail map.

In a completely different vein, the garden studio at Thorpe Crescent is an inspiration in itself. This years show is Improper Art (no. 28). Work by Jennie Caminada, Anna Courcha and Sean Urquhart is mixed in with the colourful clutter of books, quilts and fabric samples, and at least three sewing machines. Even the tea-making corner is colourful. I was not really encouraged by the 'Cheeky Handmades' tag but the fabric-based artworks had a lot more of an edge than I expected. Entry is upstairs to the first floor flat and then down a metal staircase into the garden - from the top of the stairs you get a great view of an exuberant ramshackle back-garden landscape of the sheds and informal overgrown gardens of this artistic enclave. Too late to catch that this time around, the show closed yesterday, but look out for it next time.

As featured on our Facebook page, an installation by Della Rees at the Vestry House (below). Dozens of ribbons tied to the branches, the text written on each one records thousands of trees felled somewhere in the world - it's both thoughtful and beautiful.

Also by Della Rees, although starkly monochrome in contrast, is her Paper Mandala at Gnome House, a huge sheet of paper with several hundred precise semicircular cuts, that changes subtly as your viewpoint shifts.