When we chose Metamorphosis as the title of our second show we hadn't fully appreciated how apt it could be, in so many ways...
For, when you think about it, so much of visual art is about transforming one or more substances to turn them into something else - whether it's paint pigments becoming figurative or abstract representations on canvas, or strands of sheep wool being spun, dyed or felted to make stunning vessels.
It's all about imaginative human invention and dexterity: we change, or manipulate, one or more types of media to create visual expressions of life and experience.
Our show has brought together some stunning and immensely varied examples of these transformational skills. We have to start with the wonderful, and slightly sinister, feathered feet and hands, drawn in such detail, by the inimitable Cally Trench - her literal interpretation of human-avian metamorphosis in action.
Then there's the fascinating textile and thread work of Vivienne Beaumont, charting the transition from girlhood to womanhood; a process of maturing, blossoming and dangerous rites of passage. In many of her themes and treatments, we regard her as a textile succesor to the late, and greatly missed, Paula Rego (1935-2022).
Compare these engaging images with the melding of organic and mechanical in the fantastic clay creatures of ceramicist Steve Woodcock. His complex characters are animated by twists of construction in their blending of flesh, fangs and scales with cogs, pins and wheels.
And you'll also be taken with the allure of Grenville Moore's splendid paintings of wild birds and beasts, each with their superatural aura and majestic demeanour, topped off by decorative flourishes.
Add to all these the photographic magic of Jennie Loader's cyanotpyes and Jenny McNulty's conjuring with form, tonal subtlety and shape in her painted still lifes, reminiscent of Giorgio Morandi. In short, every one of our talented artists has transformed and transitioned in some way, in their technique or in their choice of topic, or both.
In fact, of course, all of us metamorphose in our lives - psychologically and physically: personal transitions and turning points, as our identity ages and changes. Many of us choose to express and reflect these stages through art.
We hope this selection of contemporary British regional art, from both established and emerging artists, will fire your imagination too, as you enjoy the wide range of work that our title has inspired.