Harry Pye an artist and writer, who supplied canvases to fifty male and fifty female artists, created the exhibition. Harry asked them to use the canvas to make an image based on their mother.
Artists who responded include: Hugh Mendes, Jamie Dyson, Katie Jones, Jessica Voorsanger, Flo Perry, Anj Smith, Gavin Toye, Kes Richardson, Daisy De Villeneuve, Geraldine Swayne, Guy Allot, Dinos Chapman, Chantal Joffe, Vic Reeves, Grayson Perry, Adam Dant, George Shaw, John Strutton, Richard Wathen, Beverley Daniels, David Shrigley, Peter Harris, Bob & Roberta Smith, Nicola Hicks, Sean O’Connor, Billy Childish, Olivia Plender, Chris Tosic, Lucy Pawlak, Marcus Cope, Michelle Sarah England, Sarah Sparkes, Chris Coombes, Kyle Hawkins, Phil Jones, Neil Innes, Sandra Turnbull, Adrian R. Shaw, Catrin Huber, Helen Barff, Mari Sunna, Martin Dukes, Alex Hamilton, August Kunapu, Lee Maelzer, Eva Bensasson, Josie McCoy, Kay Harwood, Edith Flowers, Cian Quayle, Julian Wakeling, Ed Ward, Mat Humphrey, Jasper Joffe, Frances Scott, Francesca Sharkey, Isaac Quaye, Rowland Smith, Caroline List, Matthew Stradling, Sam Hallows, Mimei Thompson, Dan Kennedy-Martin, Gordon Beswick.
Mat Humphrey on his artwork: “For me, the notion of painting my mother was very difficult, and also extremely rewarding. It forced me to sit down and think harder and more specifically about her than at any other time in my life. It also made me look harder at her face than perhaps I had before. I photographed her many different times, with the portrait in mind, and spent time watching her different expressions. I saw how the years had affected her skin and the way it creased and folded as different emotions took shape in the muscles around her eyes and mouth. I waited until I felt like I had captured some of the glint in her eyes that betrayed her impish humour.
The colours I used were emotionally triggered. I used browns for her skin tones, as it felt right. Earthy and permanent. I gave her eyes a turquoise that belied the power, not the true colour of her gaze, and I gave her iconic gold radiations, as she is my creator, not god. I found it hard to end the painting. I didn’t want an end. It takes no psychologist to work out why. She was moved when she saw the result, and I was relieved at that. It felt like an honest and emotional thing to do, and I believe that everyone, whether they consider themselves to be an artist or not, should paint a picture of their mother.”
Chester based artist Jo Thorne, a student of Fine Art at the University of Chester, curated the presentation of the show in collaboration with the director of CASC and Head of Department of Art and Design Professor Neil Grant.
Contemporary Art Space Chester (CASC) is based in a new gallery development at the Kingsway site of the University of Chester. The site contains the Art and Design Department where students study Fine Art, Photography and Graphic Design. Professor Grant says “Chester has not had a contemporary art space and I hope this development will bring challenging contemporary art to the attention of the Chester public and inspire the students and staff working in the department. Throughout the academic year the gallery will display the latest work from students and staff and host at least two major shows from invited artists.”