Although many of you probably feel well travelled in terms of the infamous Otley Road, the Bowery’s coffee shop and art gallery may, up until now, have slipped under your radar. However, for those individuals who want to experience what Otley has to offer – other than the alcohol fuelled armies of fancy dress – I’d recommend it as a good place to start.
To the passing pedestrian, the Bowery may look like an ordinary coffee shop, but walk inside and you soon find why it is the self proclaimed ‘home of creativity’. On the ground floor the place is decorated with beautiful home made gifts and artist prints available to purchase with your coffee, but go upstairs and you’ll soon discover it’s (free) main attraction: the art gallery.
The Bowery’s current exhibition, ‘MASQUERADE’, is the 5th in a series of annual exhibitions presented by The Girls That Draw. The group is made up of 12 emerging and established illustrators who collaborate each year to produce a limited edition postcard book. The touring exhibition was created in order to compliment and promote the book release.
Not suited to those who are impressed by huge canvases, ‘MASQUERADE’ exhibition is slightly on the minimalist side. Most of the pieces are small prints and collages featuring both animals and people dressed in an array of masks and costumes. A personal favourite is a trio of digital prints by Sandra Dieckmann featuring a lion, a cat and fox all wearing masks of their prey. Still succeeding in the bold colours that can be seen universally across all 12 artists’ work, the detail in her illustrations makes Dieckmann’s prints particularly impressive and easy to appreciate.
In contrast, Beth Morrison’s collection has a far more ‘marmite’ flavour to it. Available to purchase for £65, her drawing, pencil & wallpaper collages mirror what you probably imagine in many primary school classrooms today. Whats more, to the traditional viewer, the untidy finish and scribbled lines probably lack a certain professionalism you expect to find in an art exhibition. However, once over this mental obstacle, admittedly I couldn’t help but warm to them. There is something quite raw and endearing about a children’s drawings and be it her intention or not, Morrison’s collages definitely succeed in projecting this honesty.
If you are interested in taking a look at the work of Sandra Dieckmann, Beth Morrison or any of the other 10 illustrators in The Girls That Draw for yourself, ‘MASQUERADE’ is free admission and running from 14th September – 14th November at the Bowery. More information about the Bowery and its other upcoming events can be found at www.thebowery.org. The ‘MASQUERADE’ book features 24 litho printed postcards and is available to purchase for £8.