Caryl Beach-Featured Artist of the Month

Written by Caryl Beach

On September 1, 2017

Seadream. Mixed Media.39.5′ x 20″ Currently exhibited at Wynd Gallery Letchworth.

Caryl Beach is approaching her final year as a Fellow with Digswell Arts at the Forge, Digswell. Working in video and mixed media, inspired by her everyday encounters in the landscape.

1. How would you describe your current practice (e.g. materials, techniques, themes, key questions, approach)?

My most recent mixed media works are inspired by landscape and man made elements, abstracted and juxtaposed to create my own imaginary ‘impossible landscapes’.

Inspired by and in response to panoramic distorted images of the land and sea of the East Coat of England and the West Country. Using collage, found objects, and various natural materials incorporated in to mixed media compositions on canvas, to create abstracted ambiguous works evocative of my experiences. I also make short videos that are often themed around moving through time and place, tracing journeys through the landscape from the past and in the present.

2.What are you working on at the moment? 

I am currently working on new mixed media abstracted landscapes, which have evolved from a recent visit to the east coast. I am preparing for Open Studios in September at The Forge and working through some ideas for a joint exhibition with Fellow Cathy Smale in 2018. I am hoping to have made a new video piece by next year to show at Courtyard Arts. The work I hope to produce will evolve from my experiences in the West Country landscape in the Autumn where I will be taking part in a three day workshop ‘Chance into Abstraction’.

 3.What is the question you get asked about your work and how do you answer it? 

People often resonate with the abstracted landscapes and sometimes identify the locations that inspired the work. I am always delighted when this happens and enjoy sharing experiences with them.

4.What or who inspired you to be an artist and why? 

I would have to say my Art Teacher Miss Miriam Gilby. She encouraged me to apply to Walthamstow School of Art in 1968 and helped me prepare my portfolio. That was a defining time for me and boosted my confidence. Around the same time I visited Paris and remember going to an exhibition of Abstract Art* entitled ‘Peintres Europeens d’aujourd’ hui’. That experience opened my eyes to abstraction and it’s endless possibilities and heightened my desire to become an artist. Interestingly for me I remembered that work by Antoni Tàpies was included in the exhibition. In recent years on returning to study art, my tutor, Kerry Andrews prompted me to follow a pathway of observing the ‘everyday’ and revisiting familiar places to feed into my work. His was the most useful advice and guidance, and something I apply to my practice even now.

5.Which artist do you most admire and why?

Many artists have inspired me in many mediums especially photography, video, sculpture and land art. My shortlist would include Chris Marker, Isaac Julien, Tacita Dean, Wolfgang Tillmans, Vija Celmins, Uta Barth, Richard Long, Hughie O’Donoghue, Antoni Tàpies, and more recently Jeremy Gardiner, whose print work and paintings explores geology of landscape…shaped both by human activity and by the forces of nature”.

So difficult to single out one. I will have to say Antoni Tàpies stands out for me, however, as his work is so political and at the same time earthy, literally. His two and three dimensional works full of symbolic marks and hidden meanings, his contemplative walls. For me an artist to learn from and truly admire.

 6.What are your plans for the coming year and what have you been up to this year so far?

 During May I took part in Open Studios at The Forge which was a great success for us, with a record number of visitors, many of whom were first time attendees.

In June I had a solo exhibition at Art Van Go ‘Impossible Landscapes’ which was a great space to show my larger canvasses and some experimental collage pieces.

I also have some large scale work displayed in Bebo Café Hertford, which is on-going.

On September 8th I will be exhibiting with the newly formed co operative Wynd Gallery Artists at The Wynd Gallery Letchworth. A new and exciting development in my practice.

On September 23-24 I will open my studio and show new work together with other artists during Hertfordshire Open Studios at The Forge Digswell AL6 0BU.

From September I will continue to research and develop new work for the Courtyard Arts exhibition with Digswell fellow,Cathy Smale scheduled for June 2018. As a member of The Wynd Gallery co operative I will be thinking about new work for forthcoming months too.

7.How has your relationship with Digswell Arts Trust strengthened your practice as an artist?

My fellowship at The Forge and for a time as a print member has been most rewarding. The collaboration with fellow artists and friendships formed has had a great impact on my personal and artistic life. I am grateful for this opportunity to be part of, historically, such a great establishment, which celebrates it’s 60th Anniversary this year.

*Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Paris. 27 Septembre-17 Novembre 1968. Sous les auspices de la Mead Corporation.

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