Thursday, 16 January 2014

Three Peaks of Pendle

Three Peaks of Pendle
Photographs by Lee Johnson
Haiku poems by Sarah Lee
Lee Johnson and Sarah Lee have explored the countryside on and around Pendle’s three significant hills:  Pendle, Boulsworth and Weets.  This new exhibition of photographs and poems includes some of the little known places which lie in their foothills.
Haiku is a 16th century style of Japanese poetry made famous by Basho in his collection The Narrow Road to the Deep North.  Haiku are written in simple language using few words to distil moments in time.  They are inspired by the natural world, capturing changes in the seasons.
Here are Sarah and Lee, further details of the exhibition are below.

Three Peaks, A Pendle Exhibition featuring poetry and photography

Three Peaks


Three Peaks is an exhibition of Poetry and Photography by Sarah Lee and Lee Johnson. The three peaks in question are all in Pendle and are; Pendle Hill, Boulsworth and Weets.


Sarah and Lee work together and have known each other for 7 years.  They are both passionate about the landscape and one day starting talking about putting images and words together.


The inspiration behind three peaks was to explore places less often seen. Pendle Hill as an image is quite iconic and seen a lot, but the places around it less so. In effect it’s an exhibition around hidden Pendle.


Sarah and Lee set off on a series of walks together with the aim of capturing moments. These moments are then expresses in a photograph with an accompanying Haiku. The moments aren’t always simultaneous, sometimes the Haiku expresses the moment before the photograph was taken or the moment after.


Sarah and Lee both have busy lives too, so sometimes Lee would go out alone and take photographs. He would make lots of notes and send these to Sarah and then on some of the images the poem was created simply by looking at the image rather than being there.


Lee tends to work with what is happening around him, he doesn’t necessarily have a plan, but likes to capture the feel of the place as he is there, particularly to show the weather. Some of the images represent beautifully sunny days and others are misty and more brooding. He starts with the big landscape image and then goes down into smaller more detailed views, which are often a landscape in themselves, albeit in miniature.


Sarah takes notes while she is out, but then writes the Haiku later. A Haiku is a short poem designed to capture the moment, a sense of the present. They are often 17 syllables long, but there are no hard and fast rules. Haiku has been around for quite a while, since the poet Basho took a journey and wrote poems on the journey, entitled Narrow Road to Deep North, it was published in the Sixteenth Century. You can read more here

The aim behind the Haiku is to capture the atmosphere.  When writing the Haiku, Sarah will look at her notes, at images, and she is particularly inspired by maps and place names. She says “They are often really atmospheric in themselves”. Some are quite spooky, some witchy. For example:

Above Burnt House

And Wicken Clough

You watch in fading light


Lee thinks both him and Sarah have a dark side!


The project was a new challenge for Lee. He didn’t know Weets at all, although he spends a lot of time on Boulsworth. He also tends to shoot in black and white and these photographs are in colour, and he had to learn more about Haiku to make the project work.


The images were all taken fairly recently with the majority being from November 2013. This brought challenges too; weather and light. But you can’t organise nature.  One plan had been to capture the horses at Castercliff but when our intrepid duo arrived, the horses had been moved.


Another image:  Slaughterstones on the top of Boulsworth, we discussed in more detail.


It was a cold and misty November morning, and our photographer (him with rucksack, 2 cameras and spare lenses) and poet (her with pen and paper) spent two hours walking on Boulsworth. At one point they experienced a standoff with some cows who had been causing trouble with many walkers. As a result the image feels a little like the landscape is pressing in, and the Haiku also has a sense of threat.


So as always, I hope you get the chance to come and see this exhibition in person. The names of the places are all on the labels, so you can go and visit them for yourselves if you want to.


We’ll end with a quote from Sarah, who says “Why not have a at doing this yourself? Take a photograph and write a poem about the moment. It’s fun!”






Monday, 13 January 2014

New Year, New Exhibitions

Our first reception exhibition for 2014 is Nigel Holt.  

Nigel won the popular vote in the Open section for the 2013 Pendle Open Art Exhibition. His prize was a solo exhibition and here it is.


 The winning entry was ‘Breaking all the Rules’…. 


This is a watercolour and is based on a football match, the match between Burnley FC and West Ham in fact, which saw Burnley go up to the premiership.  

West Ham have the nickname of the Hammers, and in this picture are reimagined as hammer sharks, the whole piece is a play on words and names; look out for Chris Eagles as a seagull and the Bob Lord Stand become a Cod Law Stand.

Nigel’s son owns the ‘award winning’ fish and chip shop, Holt’s in Nelson so this also gets a mention. And, for those of you who like a Chippy Tea, there is a print of this work in the shop – which is decorated in Claret and Blue – natch!  


Nigel is a Pendle born and bred man, who currently lives down the road from us in Barrowford. He comes from an artistic family where his grandfather and father were both artists. His Dad came along to help drop the work off and was telling me all about his sculptures. They sound great and hopefully I have convinced him to enter the sculpture category of the Open exhibition this year. But, back to Nigel! He is, by trade a metal polisher, but has always drawn and painted since he was a child.  He first was inspired by album covers, Pink Floyd in particular, and used to copy them and then expand on them and make them his own.

Now his inspirations mostly come from looking  at other artists work, particularly RogerDean  and Rodney Matthews.  

Nigel works in his front room, often with the TV on and music in the background, he doesn’t need peace and quiet – the more distractions the better. He drafts the work first, then turns it into a drawing and then works it up. He tends to work in either airbrush and ink or in watercolour and his works all include lots of detail.
His work is fantastical, but it just comes out of his head, sometimes he has a plan as to what the finished work will look like and sometimes he doesn’t, it can just happen.  He tends to work weekends mostly and one work can take several months.

So here are the other works Nigel is exhibiting… 

Nigel has entered and won Pendle in Paint (the old name for the Pendle Open Art Exhibition pre 2003, I think) a few times in the past. He likes to support the local ness of the exhibition and doesn’t enter any other opens. We’re lucky aren’t we!

He has shown work in libraries before but this is Nigel’s first show in a few years. He had a fairly big gap in painting between 1997 and 2005 when he started concentrating on making music. Nigel has a recording studio at home and writes and plays instrumental rock music on his guitar. He still does this and his next project may involve putting some of these together, showing his artwork and music at the same time.

Hope you enjoy the exhibition.




Tuesday, 7 January 2014

New Year, New Exhibitions

Hello 2014.  

It’s going to be a good one isn’t it! 

We’ve made some changes here at The ACE Centre Gallery. We’re going to be having more exhibitions. As of, well now really, we are going to have our main exhibitions on the First Floor and some smaller exhibitions in Reception. It won’t be like this every month, but we’re going to try it out and see how it goes.  It does mean that we can offer more artists the opportunity to exhibit and that we will be posting more on this blog.

I hope that gets a thumbs up.