New skills with old materials

Progressive art using traditional materials - Warehouse Artists Studios @ Norwich Playhouse

Progressive art using traditional materials by the Warehouse Artists Studios @ Norwich Playhouse

By Richard Inman

Warehouse Artists Studios is an artist-run co-operative in the centre of Norwich offering studio facilities, exhibitions, job opportunities, even help with marketing. This exciting group of artists strives to maintain an autonomy, seeking funding while maintaining a creative control. Warehouse Artists themselves fund the core costs, and cross-subsidise work in the wider community through workshops, installations and exhibitions.

This show at the Norwich Playhouse gathers a bohemian atmosphere amidst the incongruous furnishing of the Playroom and the lime-mortared bricks of the Upper Gallery.

For 150 years this building was a riverside maltings, eventually the Crown public house, the Norwich Mercury head office, builders' merchants, motorcycle dealership, Greek restaurant and a book shop.

The bar now has the splendid intimacy of down-town New York.

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A wall-size painting by Emma Jarvis pours a fusion of textural colour behind a settee. Expansions of cadmium yellow, ultramarine blue divided by liquid runs of green – vibrant performance painting. Malca Chotten's Martha as a Cat anoints a huge charcoal masked nude with eraser slashings to evoke form, a woman mysteriously acquiescent.

The mighty embracing limbs of Tina O'Hare's Desire blend Kokoschka's heaviness with a hybrid of fauvism (colour that is violently changed from a natural appearance, founded Paris 1905).

Looking Head is more lively than Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe (1962).

In Patchwork a chalk pastel by Chekka Barnom, flowers and vase at point-blank range, are integrated, innovatively with decorative sections of a room.

For a group who have access to Apple Mac computer programs to retain a dynamic involvement with traditional materials is refreshing.

The exhibition runs until April 23.