Sarah Pickstone unveils new art at Mercer Gallery

Artist Sarah Pickstone.

Artist Sarah Pickstone.

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By Graham Chalmers

Mercer Art Gallery’s reputation for promoting the work of women artists - among everything else it does - is set to increase further with a new exhibition this weekend.

Launched to the public this Saturday, The Rehearsal by London-based artist Sarah Pickstone features a new series of paintings produced especially for this new Harrogate exhibition.

A former John Moores Painting Prize winner, Pickstone’s latest paintings were inspired by a drawing in the Harrogate collection at Mercer Art Gallery: Dame Laura Knight’s Ready for Rehearsal, a wonderful study of dancers backstage.

For The Rehearsal, Pickstone made studies after visiting a dance rehearsal at the Royal Ballet, as well as drawing from contemporary images of modern-day teenagers.

Sarah said: “My new paintings explore themes of performance, dance and artifice as a metaphor for painting and also play with the transitional stage of adolescence and the feminine image of ballet.

“The title is a nod to Laura Knight’s drawing from the 1930s, which I discovered whilst looking through the huge and wonderful Harrogate Fine Art Collection.”

Curator Jane Sellars said she was delighted by the gallery’s working relationship with Pickstone.

“Thanks to the help of the Contemporary Art Society and the Friends of the Mercer Art Gallery, we have also acquired a group of Sarah Pickstone’s recent paintings for the Harrogate Art Collection which investigate the influence of memory, imagination and the natural landscape on writers Katherine Mansfield and Sylvia Plath which are also on show.”

Mercer Art Gallery is open on Swan Road 10am-5pm, Tuesday to Saturday and 2pm-5pm on Sundays.