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Visual Art 22/1/10

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Indian Majesty is just one of the striking images produced by Marilyn Stranford

Indian Majesty is just one of the striking images produced by Marilyn Stranford

Indian Majesty is just one of the striking images produced by Marilyn Stranford

When I went to Ards Arts Centre in the Town Hall to see an exhibition of work by Marilyn Stanford I was surprised to read that she is the founder of Artbreak, described as, “a ground breaking educational art programme for primary schools”.

Marilyn has travelled extensively and has a wealth of experience in the field of cross-curricular arts activities, as well as a passion for the promotion of cultural diversity. It is perhaps not surprising then that she has been commissioned by the BBC to make educational programmes.

This exhibition, entitled Interpretation, has clearly been inspired by her travels throughout Asia, which were in turn prompted by a lifelong fascination with these magical places. She says herself that “its landscape, culture, people and art have spilled into my everyday life and have become the inspiration for my work”.

Marilyn has focused particularly on various details, perhaps carved, perhaps architectural, that caught her eye and has drawn them together into complex, imaginative and decorative works.

Using acrylic paint she lays down backgrounds “the colour of luxurious silks” upon which, in pen and metallic inks, she creates a web of intricate patterns, exotic birds and mythological animals, all of which she hopes “conjure up the essence of the Orient”.

One or two of the images, like Strangford Drumlins or Sheep, are fairly straightforward, but most are stylised and exotic with a familiar, complex, Eastern imagery.

There are elephants, Buddhas, godheads and dragons, all intertwined with exotic flowers, vines and butterflies then overlayed with grid patterns which “represent the blocks of stone from which the buildings were constructed”.

Great art they are not, but they are interesting and different and the themed colourways mean that one might just be perfect for that bright green room!

For further information contact Ards Arts Centre on 028 9181 0803.

And if you do make it along to Newtownards Town Hall be sure to pick up the Ards Arts Guide. There are plenty of good things coming up and there will be lots going on in their Community Arts Programme, including the opportunity of a residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre to practitioners in all art forms who are resident in the Ards Borough.

Belfast Telegraph