We are kicking off 2021 at Fronteer Gallery with a solo how from the wonderful Gary Crowder, who is presenting a selection of semi-abstract paintings that reflect life, experiences and a sense of place. Here are some insights into Crower's work from the man himself:
"Eighteen months ago I moved from Leeds where I had lived for thirty five years to South Hiendley near Barnsley. I was born in Keighley, and lived there for twenty one years.
This move was significant as it marked the end of a chapter in my life following the death of my mum, dad, Auntie Annie (mums sister), and my cousin June, all within a few years.
As a painter, I had been painting landscapes in a semi abstract style and on a fairly small scale. Since moving to South Hiendley I have found that my art has mirrored my life in that I have forced a lot of changes to what and how I paint. I began by making lots of sketches of old industrial units, old shops and traditional terraced houses around the South Hiendley area. I found comfort in the familiarity of these places which so reminded me of the area in which I grew up in Keighley.
Garage South Hiendley. Oil on board
I began to paint on far bigger canvases, which took a while to master, and took a lot more physical effort to create.
As I was making the paintings, I had to hand a lot of my families effects which influenced aspects of the paintings, in particular my dads ID card on which he had written HOME 262776. Dad had dementia and went wandering, usually to one of the places he used to work, Norman Hargreaves Engineering, and would then forget where he lived. Fortunately one of the workers would use the card to ring mum and then take him home.
One of the paintings is a portrait which I don’t usually do. It is of my mums sister Annie, who lived all her life with my Nan and grandad and never married. Her neckbrace was part of her dress and personality, she never went out without it.
Annie Waiting for Day Centre Transport (Oil on board)
My grandfather is referenced in the South Hiendley garage painting. He rented a garage which I loved going to. Inside were engines and parts for repairing his Robin Reliant.
As I look at these paintings I am struck by the absence of people, however their presence is strongly implied, which is a theme that runs through my work.
Garage South Hiendley (Oil on board)
As I look back on these paintings, I see how strongly a place can shape the sense of self and personality."
You can catch Gary Crowder's solo show from 6th - 9th January at Fronteer Gallery. It will be open 10-3 on Wednesday-Friday and 1-6 on Saturday. Our Address is Fronteer Gallery, 18 Exchange Street, Sheffield S2 5TS.