The Minories Galleries – Colchester Photographic Society | Annual Exhibition Showcasing Wide Range Of Photographic Talent

The Minories Galleries have been chosen this year to show the annual exhibition from Colchester Photographic Society, a local group of photographers ranging from amateurs to professionals.

Colchester Photographic Society at The Minories - Title Image
Artist: Various
Gallery: The Minories, Colchester
Dates: Mon May 13th – Sun Jun 2nd 2019

exhibition content

Colchester Photographic Society’s annual exhibition is featured on the upstairs floor of The Minories, spread over several different rooms. Being a photographic society exhibition there was no real theme to the collection, instead showcasing a whole variety of different pieces chosen by individual members. Among the prints you’ll find portraits, candid shots, landscape, still life, architectural shots and more, each eclectically placed rather than separated into categories.

Colchester Photographic Society at The Minories - First Room

I was immediately impressed by the quality of the pieces… Although a few pieces weren’t massively to my liking I generally enjoyed seeing most examples. It was easy to see that Colchester Photographic Society have real talent within their members, with stunning macro shots of invertebrates to broad, powerful landscape images full of character and mood. Some shots were local and others were from much further afield, such as more than one instance of African-based photography which definitely piqued my interest. There was also a lot of range to the styles in which the photography was presented – triptychs, series, and more edited shots were present within the collection. Some pieces were stunningly realistic, and others looked like oil paintings. It made for a refreshing exploration of art, and it would have been easier to spend quite some time taking each picture in. Most images are also for sale within the gallery, usually for the price of £40.

my favourite pieces

It’s so hard to choose between such a myriad of different images, but some images really drew me in. 21st Century Assassin by Peter Jones struck me first – a haunting image of a hooded man standing in a darkly-lit tunnel. Incredibly detailed nature photography was present in every room, and one in particular that really stood out for me was a series of images featuring kingfishers hunting for food, taken by Robert Bannister.

As mentioned previously I was also blown away by the photography taken in Africa (which I will always appreciate from my experiences in Kenya). Two that really shone for me were Dead Trees And Drinking Wildebeest by Martin Heathcote and Maasai Mara, six black and white animal images from the savannah, by Christine Hart.

For Remembrance there were also two photos I loved that included the much-appreciated Silent Soldiers – The Men Who March Away by Peter Pangbourne and Remembrance by Colin Westgate. Both of these were poignant and spoke powerful words behind the images.

And finally, two local pieces that liked – Mersea Pontoon Before Dawn (featured in title image) again by Peter Pangbourne, a hazy purple scene from Mersea that shows a different perspective of the boating island, and Sunrise On The Stour by Colin Brett, a crisp winter riverscape that makes you feel chilly just looking at it.

my impressions

Colchester Photographic Society at The Minories - Upstairs Space

This sort of exhibition is one I would gladly visit several times as there’s just so much to see, and I imagine each visit would bring fresh imagery and meaning. There was so much to take in, and I felt like I was in an artistic retreat as a good exhibition should feel like. I felt that the layout and location of the exhibition worked really well – the first floor of The Minories is really quiet, with windows overlooking their garden space, and the walls are lined with old uncovered beams, making for a lovely ambience. I really felt like there was something for everyone in the room, and I felt proud being able to see just how much photographic talent we have in Colchester. I’d recommend the exhibition for anyone, whether they have a particular interest in photography or just enjoy a bit of art once in a while.

artist information

Colchester Photographic Society was formed prior to the Second World War to promote and encourage interest in the study and application of photography.
This is achieved by a varied programme of weekly meetings during the club’s season, which is September through to May. It includes visits from a variety of skilled and interesting speakers, practical evenings, competitions, plus discussions and encouragement between members. In addition we usually have some planned outings, especially during the summer, which help to provide continuity and additional opportunities for our members.
From time to time workshops are also provided to help members, particularly those who are new to photography or those wishing to learn a particular skill.
The club takes part in several local and regional competitions with other clubs, with great success over the last few years.
(Taken from Colchester Photographic Society’s website)

Gallery information

The Minories Galleries is a public contemporary art gallery run by Colchester School of Art at Colchester Institute.
A listed Georgian building, The Minories is of local importance within the historic town of Colchester. The Friends of the Minories and Victor Batte-Lay Trust have ensured the building be used to the benefit of the local arts community. This has continued and now ensures the Colchester School of Art provides contemporary art and design in one Colchester’s most distinctive buildings.
The Minories Galleries also include the Shop and a Tiptree Tea Room.
(Taken from The Minories Galleries Facebook page)

If you liked this post then don’t forget to like, pin, and comment! You can check out my other art reviews here:

Lost In Wonderland | A Coven A Grove A Stand | Emotions Go To Work


Lost In Wonderland – The Minories

It was International Women’s Day just the other day and it’s always great to see women empowered and appreciated for what they’ve contributed to the world. There’s quite a lot of female-focused art in Colchester at the moment, and The Minories in Colchester is now showing another great example of the talented female artists we have within our community.

Lost In Wonderland The Minories Colchester title image

Artist: Various
Gallery: The Minories, Colchester
Dates: Sat 9th Mar– Sat 23rd Mar 2019

Lost In Wonderland is a new exhibition that features only women artists and is loosely themed around Alice In Wonderland, but from a feminine perspective. The pieces on show focus on narrative and exploration, among other themes.

Pam Schomberg's pieces from Lost In Wonderland at The Minories in Colchester
A selection of Pam Schomberg’s pottery pieces

Something that struck me about the exhibition was just how dextrous and interactive it is, which is something I always appreciate. The very first room features porcelain and stoneware works from Pam Schomberg, whose designs I felt absolutely captured by. Her pieces have a real Alice In Wonderland feel to them – ornate but quirky tea sets with legs and beautiful colours, and stunning wall pieces that stand out. I would quite happily have displayed the whole collection in my home (sadly the budget does not allow).

Artwork featured within Lost In Wonderland at The Minories in Colchester
Just one corner featuring a beautiful selection of art

Once in the main room of The Minories the viewer is treated to a rather eclectic range of artists and pieces. My eyes were drawn immediately to a set of collages by Olivia Browne, featuring magazines and photography. Like Schomberg’s work they have a magical feel to them and it’s easy to lose a lot of time studying each of the individual images and how they come together. Wall art is shown from several different artists – beautiful book-focused art from Alison Stockmarr, family photography from Carina Ioannou, and a particularly poetic and encapsulating set from Elinor Rowlands including photography of words and a collection of short films that explore her experiences with ADHD and RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy).

In the middle of the room stand two interactive pieces. An ever-evolving piece from Gemma Abbott, inspired by Tacitus, showcases the stories of historical women so often told by men, and invites the viewer to plant a seed within the main piece of the set, These Holes We Dig. The other piece, by Roseanna Chew, is an installation inviting the viewer inside a cosy red tepee of sorts which is filled with photos, with the intention of making them feel safe and reflective of the friendship and warmth that surrounds them.

Installation pieces featured at The Minories in Colchester for Lost In Wonderland
These Holes We Dig installation by Gemma Abbott, with Roseanna Chew’s installation in the background

As well as the artists mentioned several other artists are featured – Dorry Spikes, Jane Frederick, Pauline Medinger, and Emily Godden. There’s so much to be seen in the exhibition that I can’t touch on them all, but each artist brings something a little bit different to the theme, meaning that there will be something there for everyone interested in art, and you’ll most likely have one or two that really stand out to you. I found the exhibition inspiring – not only because we have such a talented collection of women in Colchester and the surrounding areas, but also that they are so diverse, each with their own stories and imagery to convey. Definitely worth a visit to The Minories if you’re in the area, and you might even find yourself inspired to create something within that theme yourself!

If you liked this review please click like and leave a comment! You can also check out my reviews for two other current local exhibitions created by women here:

A Coven A Grove A Stand – Susan Pui San Lok

Emotions Go To Work – Zoe Beloff

Firstsite: A Coven A Grove A Stand – Susan Pui San Lok

The history of witchcraft is more in the spotlight in Britain now due to the recent rise in believers of Paganism, Wicca, and other belief systems and religions that incorporate witchcraft, but for the majority it’s still largely unexplored. Essex and the surrounding counties have a prevalent past when it comes to witchcraft, with the most notable event being the witch trials held in the area. This is the focus of Susan Pui San Lok’s latest exhibition, ‘A Coven A Grove A Stand’ at Firstsite in Colchester, where she explores these trials through sight, sound, and audience participation.

Title image of A Coven A Grove A Stand against photo of Old Knobbley

Artist: Susan Pui San Lok
Gallery: Firstsite, Colchester
Dates: Sat 9th Feb – Mon 22nd Apr 2019

The first part of the exhibition invites you to remember a persecuted witch by writing their name with your own on a large blackboard wall. I chose to remember Margaret Moone of Thorpe-le-Soken, a village local to me. I really love this as an introduction, as it gets the viewer to consider the impact and history of the topic before it’s even really begun. I spent some time reading the wall, and it prepared me to get the most out of what was to follow.

The rest of the exhibition is spread over three different rooms, with a striking recycled cardboard installation as the first thing you see, designed around 3D scans of ‘Old Knobbley’, an oak tree in Mistley (believed to be 800 years old) where witches were thought to have hidden. This tree is featured again in a video in the second room, accompanied by audio providing information of the persecuted – who they were, how they died, and why they were sentenced to death. Beautifully haunting folk music plays in the background of the main room, so encompassing that I had to stop and listen to it on its own. The lyrics of the music are printed on the wall towards the back left, describing the concepts of female sexuality against violence and power.

Large cardboard installation of Old Knobbley against multicoloured glass panes at Firstsite
The striking cardboard installation, centre to the exhibition and set against a rainbow of glass panes

The most powerful part of the exhibition for me is the final room, showcasing embroidery to honour the persecuted, as well as a hundred red ribbons tied from the ceiling to honour those without names – it’s set up in such a way that you’re able to walk through the ribbons to fully experience and digest the concept. I appreciated how Susan Pui San Lok has got the community of Colchester involved with this part, with Colne & Colchester Embroiderers’ Guild, Stitch & Bitch Colchester, and Young Art Kommunity all creating the embroideries and Mohila Shomity assisting with hanging the ribbons – it adds to the personalisation and reminds the viewer that these are the ancestors of our community. This is something from our past that brings us together, and we can all relate to it.

Final Firstsite room - red ribbons hang in front of a wall covered in embroidery hoops
The memorial ribbons with the embroidered hoops behind them

I found the exhibition to be quite emotive as I have a particular interest in the history of witchcraft, especially locally. Much of the emotion comes from within, as Susan Pui San Lok has been quite minimalistic with her artistic choices, using a ‘show not tell’ approach and allowing the viewer to build up the exhibition and its impact from their own feelings. For me, it felt personal and poignant, however for this reason it may not feel that way for someone with little interest in the topic. But for those that appreciate the history, ‘A Coven A Grove A Stand’ at Firstsite is a collection of art that works just as well as a memorial and will get you thinking back to those times and what really went on.

If you liked this review please click like and leave a comment! You can also check my other reviews for Firstsite exhibitions here:

Emotions Go To Work