cambridge contemporary art

Meet the artist

Meet & Greet

Meet the artist, exhibitionscambridge contemporary artComment

from left: John Duffin, Gail Brodholt, Jane Hollidge, Maree Allitt

On Saturday 15th September we had a pleasure of hosting a Meet&Greet with painters and printmakers Gail Brodholt and John Duffin and ceramicists Maree Allitt and Jane Hollidge. We really enjoyed finding out more about the artists, about their practice and inspirations. Thank you all for coming!


  • Friday 5th October between 6pm-7.30pm - Private View of our upcoming exhibition of paintings by Gael Sellwood and ceramics by Margaret Gardiner and Tiffany Scull. This is a great opportunity to meet the artists and chat about their work, so do join us. The event is free, if you would like to attend we kindly ask you to register here.

  • Sunday 21st October between 2pm-4pm - artist demo with ceramicist Margaret Gardiner. This is a free event, please register here.

  • Saturday 27th October between 1pm-3pm - Demo and book signing by Gael Sellwood. This is a free event, please register here.

gallery september1.jpg

Meet and Greet with our featured artists

Meet the artist, Paintingcambridge contemporary artComment
From left: Helen Millar, Anne-Marie Butlin and Ruth Beloe

From left: Helen Millar, Anne-Marie Butlin and Ruth Beloe

We had a great time hosting our opening event for the exhibition of paintings by Ruth Beloe, Anne-Marie Butlin and Helen Millar. We couldn't ask for a better beginning to the Bank Holiday Weekend. Thank you to all who visited the gallery! 

The exhibition continues till 17th June.

Photography by Zuza Grubecka

Shazia Mahmood in the gallery

Meet the artistcambridge contemporary art1 Comment
Shazia 22.4.184.jpg

On Friday evening we hosted an after hours meet and greet with painter Shazia Mahmood. The event marked the last weekend of the exhibition of paintings by Shazia Mahmood and ceramics by Anthony Theakston. 

Thank you to all who attended! We are always open to feedback, please let us know if you have any suggestions for future events. Please email us on

Photograpy by Zuza Grubecka

Iona Howard in our March Exhibition

exhibitions, Meet the artist, Printmaking, Poetrycambridge contemporary artComment


Iona Howard’s prints explore the notion of time and landscape through a contemplative exploration of surface. The sources of Howard’s prints can come from working in the open air or expressing landscape filtered through memory. The physicality of her approach to the printing process makes the subject spontaneous and vibrant whilst capturing an intimate connection with the landscape.

Howard is captivated by the ancient semi-natural landscapes typical of her native west Cornwall where a blurred line exists between nature and human activity. Recent works of the Fens focus on the meeting point of land, horizon and sky, their flatness altering the perception of distance. Howard’s work has gradually evolved from her monochromatic studies by introducing colour to reflect the Fens’ everchanging mood and light. She draws inspiration from sites which have a particular sense of place; the catalyst for her most significant pieces of work.

Howard’s work has more recently been informed by a year-long collaboration with the Fenland Poet Laureate, Kate Caoimhe Arthur. Howard and Arthur have been working and walking together over the last four seasons in the fen-edge landscape that inspires them both. In repeated journeys around Cottenham and Wicken Fen, and more occasional forays into the deeper Fens, they have shared their practices, and each allowed their work to be in conversation with each other’s work.  The process of articulating, to one another, the methods and rhythms of what at some level is instinctive and very private work, has in itself been valuable.  Arthur’s poetry is displayed in the gallery amongst Howard’s prints, with the hope that visitors will see a conversation between the works, rather than a strict correlation between a single print and a single poem.

Please join them both between 6-7pm on Thursday 15th March for a reading of the work alongside the prints and an opportunity to meet both artist and poet with their reflections on the process of making their art.

This free exhibition runs from 3rd - 25th March 2018. We are open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5.30pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

Meet the artist - Vicky Oldfield

Meet the artist, exhibitions, Printmakingcambridge contemporary artComment
galley jan 201810.jpg

We have started 2018 with a wonderful exhibition of Vicky Oldfield's collagraphs at the front of the gallery.

Her prints are taken from plates which have been collaged with a variety of materials, card, fabric, paper, string, sand and anything else that may come to hand; it's recycling at it's most creative! The plates are then sealed and then inked up and printed in intaglio or relief on damp paper using an etching press. The embossed textural quality of the print is unique to this method.

Thanks to the process itself, she is able to make small editions of the image, the editions are variable due to the process and her desire to experiment, which means each print is unique.

We asked Vicky some questions to find out more about her unique prints.

2012-10-12 11.02.31.jpg

How did you get started with your art career?

I went to art college back in the eighties and studied design, I got my first job as a wallpaper designer for crown wallpapers and then worked for a design studio in Paris creating patterns for wallpapers, fabrics and ceramics.  After a return to the UK I freelanced as a designer working on  a variety of design projects from textiles, wallpaper and illustration to creating makes for  craft magazines.  During this time I began printmaking for pleasure, within a few years the printmaking became my main profession.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration everywhere, it's mainly from daily moments, I try to find time to slow down and really look. I start with a drawing and as soon as I am working I find the ideas flow, it's the starting that can sometimes be a problem, if I am stuck, I get in my studio look through my piles of ideas and sketches, try not to think too much and just start and then the ideas flow.

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How do you go about making a new piece?

After starting with drawing and getting lots of ideas and sketches together, the final composition is put together in the same way that I used to design wallpaper, it's all about the textures, pattern, colours and space.

Vicky Oldfield Portrait CMYK.jpg

What are the qualities you enjoy about the medium you work in?

I love printmaking, it's a very versatile medium, so many opportunities for mark making! and when you have the plate made there are a lot of different ways you can print a picture from the same plate,which makes it fun and exciting.  This does mean however that although my work is printed in editions there are huge variations within the editions, in some ways this is lovely as people get a unique piece, in other ways its complicated as my work is not a print in the traditional sense as an identical reproduction.

Which other artists do you admire?

 I have huge admiration for Mary Fedden, Elizabeth Blackadder, Angie Lewin, John Piper, Barbra Rae, Stephen Chambers,  Just to name a few!

galley jan 20181.jpg

Can you describe a typical working day?

 Getting outside is good for the soul, I start the day with an hour long walk in the countryside with my dog, I live just where London hits the green belt, so after a short walk along the railway track I am in the countryside, I think my walks are my main source of inspiration.  I tend to be working in my studio by 9.30, I will work all day if I am printing, with the process I use it's important to print as many as you can in one day as the prints get richer with each pull, but the actual plates start to change and can disintegrate, leaving me with only a portion of the intended edition printed.

If I am not printing, I am either preparing plates, planning artworks,  painting up the pictures , all this mixed with the admin, gallery deliveries and visits to my framer

galley jan 20180.jpg

How do you see your work evolving in the future? 

Through my artwork, I want to celebrate nature in all it’s beauty, I am planning on my walks to look to see where nature has reclaimed human spaces if only in a small way and to make works related to this. 

Come and visit the gallery to see Vicky's prints on show at cambridge contemporary art, 6 Trinity Street, CB2 1SU from 2nd - 14th January 2018. The gallery is free to enter.

galley jan 20186.jpg

Photos of the gallery by Zuza Grubecka


2017 - a year in photos

Meet the artist, Demonstrations, exhibitionscambridge contemporary artComment
paul smith and flora mclachlan 7.10.1722.jpg

Throughout the year the gallery has changed its skin over a dozen times. Our exhibits have shown the brightest and best from the world of contemporary ceramics, glass, painting and printmaking.  

Martin Bond PV 9.06.1715.jpg

We always strive to mould the gallery's interior to display the artwork in the most complimentary way. Our aim has always been to create an inviting environment, which allows visitors to experience the work in a relaxed and personal space. 

We were very pleased to host a number of engaging workshops and talks by many of our esteemed artists. For both us and gallery visitors, these meetings are a wonderful opportunity to get to know the artists we represent and learn about their practices. 

This year we began to live stream the events on our Instagram profile to an ever increasing audience. 

We have lots more events lined up for 2018.

Subscribe to our newsletter to find out about the latest news from the gallery.


We wish you all the best in the New Year! 


Photography by Zuza Grubecka

Future exhibitions at cambridge contemporary art

2nd - 14th January 2018

Mixed exhibition featuring Vicky Oldfield

20th January - 25th February 2018

Mixed exhibition

3rd - 25th March 2018

Emma Green

30th March to 22nd April 2018

Shazia Mahmood and Anthony Theakston

28th April to 20th May 2018

Paine Proffitt and Helen Martino

26th May to 17th June 2018

Ruth Beloe, Anne-Marie Butlin

8th to 30th September 2018

Gail Brodholt and John Duffin

In the Forest – Paul Smith & Flora McLachlan - 7th-29th October

exhibitions, Demonstrations, Meet the artist, Etching, Sculpture, Printmakingcambridge contemporary artComment


Our autumn show at cambridge contemporary art is a forest-themed exhibition with etchings by Flora McLachlan and sculptures by Paul Smith. Their work shares a magical, dream-like quality and both artists are inspired by fables and fairytales.

Flora The first leaves, etching 24x27cm.jpeg


Paul Smith makes hand-built figurative ceramic sculptures and limited edition sculptures in bronze, iron and marble resin. His work explores the relationship between mankind and the natural world, with a special interest in encounters between humans and animals. Rather than realistic depictions, he is interested in rendering dream-like images, designed to create a feeling of peaceful co-existence between us and nature. Paul is inspired by fairytales and children’s stories, often playfully subverting or reinterpreting them.

Good evening Mr badger_web.jpg


Equally enthralled by the natural world, Flora McLachlan creates beautiful etchings and paintings of enchanted landscapes roamed by mythical creatures, infused with a sense of mystery. She tries to express a sense of lost or hidden magic, a glimpse through trees of the white hart. Etching is the ideal medium for her purpose, with its high contrast deep blacks and glowing whites creating an ethereal atmosphere. Her work is inspired by medieval English literature, myths and legends. We will have a mix of etchings, drawings, paintings and monotypes, including brand new work.


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The exhibition opens on 7th October and runs until 29th October. Both artists are coming to the gallery to hold demonstrations, make sure not to miss these unique opportunities to meet them and see how they create their work. On Saturday 7th October at 11 am Paul Smith will be building his howling wolf sculpture live in the gallery. On Saturday 28th October at 11am, Flora McLachlan will be holding a printmaking demonstration on her miniature mangle press. We hope to see you there! Admission is free but due to limited space in the gallery we kindly ask to register for the Paul Smith event here.

‘In The Window’ - A Celebratory Collection of Ceramics by Helen Martino 8th – 31st July 2017

exhibitions, Demonstrations, ceramics, Meet the artistcambridge contemporary art1 Comment

We are starting off our summer show with a very special exhibition of ceramics by Cambridge-based artist Helen Martino. Helen has exhibited with Cambridge Contemporary Art ever since it first opened in the 1990s. We feel honoured to have been able to work with her for so many years and see her work evolve. This July, Helen is also having her birthday, which is one of those that needs to be celebrated! To mark the occasion, Helen has created a brand new collection of work for our window display.

The idea for Helen’s new collection sprung from the act of looking back at significant moments of change within her ceramic practice, which now spans 50 years. Over the years, Helen’s making went through several stages of development, as she proceeded from creating functional thrown pots on the wheel to her present hand built ceramic sculptures. Helen began by considering these different stages of her working practice and decided to re-present them by playing with scale, materials and different methods of making.

Thinking  - Then

Thinking - Then

Sometimes I Sit and Think  - Now

Sometimes I Sit and Think - Now


Helen’s new pieces have also been strongly inspired by the way her ceramics have become objects in galleries and other people’s homes. Placed on windowsills or in glass cabinets, where they can be seen from two or even three sides, she finds that they take on a new identity and autonomy. It is as if they have become still lifes, or pictures in their different settings. Exploring the themes of windows and picture frames, this new collection, aptly titled ‘In the Window’, plays with the idea of how one sees three dimensional pieces – within or without the frame.

Dancing Bottles  - Then

Dancing Bottles - Then

Dancing Bottle  - Now

Dancing Bottle - Now


Helen has thoroughly enjoyed this chance to look back, review and renew. The result is absolutely not to be missed, so please visit us this month to see Helen’s stunning new pieces! We are open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm and Sunday and Bank Holidays from 11am to 5pm. Helen will also be doing a demonstration at cambridge contemporary art on Friday July 14th, 5:30-7pm.


Photographs by Martin Bond and sculptures by Paul Harvey

Photography, exhibitions, Meet the artistcambridge contemporary artComment

Photographs by Martin Bond

and sculptures by Paul Harvey

10th June - 2nd July

Next up at cambridge contemporary art is an exhibition of photographs by Martin Bond and sculptures by Paul Harvey. Following the success of Martin Bond’s photography show in 2015, we are thrilled that he will be exhibiting his work with us again in June.  


Martin Bond has lived in Cambridge all his life, and runs ‘A Cambridge Diary’, a project where he takes a photograph of Cambridge every day. The project has been running since 2010, and consists of over 2,500 photographs and counting. 

Martin’s photographs show Cambridge as a city of both the ordinary and the extraordinary, often juxtaposing mundane everyday subjects with the remarkable grandeur of Cambridge’s architecture. Frequently playing with light and reflection, Martin’s photographs capture the atmosphere of a moment unique to the place and time that they were taken.

Visit Martin Bond's page on our website for an overview of all photographs in the exhibition. Of each photograph, there are 10 editions available. They can be ordered framed or unframed. Please contact us to find out more.

Martin will be at the gallery on Saturday 10th June to meet visitors. Do pop in for a chat about his lovely work!

Paul Harvey


Exhibiting with Martin is sculptor Paul Harvey. Paul’s focus in on birds – from blackbirds, terns and kingfishers to the more exotic ones like guinea fowls and amazons. He has been sculpting since the age of ten, having been introduced to woodcarving by a primary school teacher.

He soon realised that wood is not appropriate for the features of the birds he had in mind and turned to working in bronze and marble. Taking inspiration from Art Deco, Paul simplified his designs and created a unique and bold sculpting style.

Future exhibitions at cambridge contemporary art:

If you would like to be the first to receive information about one of the artists in one of the exhibitions below, contact us and we’ll be in touch when the new work arrives.

5th July - 3rd September 2017:  Summer Show featuring work by Mani ParkesClaire Ireland, Ruth Oinn, Julie Simmonds, Laura Smith, Alice Westcott and more...

 9th September - 1st October 2017: Anita Klein and McNeill Glass

7th October - 29th October 2017: 'In the Forest' Exhibition with Flora McLachlan and Paul Smith

4th - 26th November 2017: Winter Show featuring work by Lindsay McDonagh, Alice Heaton and many more...

April 2018: Shazia Mahmood and Anthony Theakston

September 2018: Gail Brodholt and John Duffin

October 2018: Gael SellwoodMargaret Gardiner and Tiffany Scull

Thank you for all your support 

You’re helping artists to sustain their livelihood and supporting a local independent gallery.

The work you buy will be unique and original - you won’t find it elsewhere in Cambridge.

Everything is handmade by artists working in the UK.

New paintings by Moira Hazel and Dan Bennett - ​​​​​​​6th - 4th June 2017

Painting, Glass, exhibitions, Meet the artistcambridge contemporary art2 Comments

New paintings by Moira Hazel and Dan Bennett 6th-4th June 2017

The new exhibition at cambridge contemporary art  Photo by  Zuza Grubecka

The new exhibition at cambridge contemporary art

Photo by Zuza Grubecka

This May, we are adding a serious splash of colour to our gallery walls with an exhibition of colourful paintings and vibrant glass work by contemporary British artists.

Moira Hazel has a compulsive desire to paint, create, make marks and produce vivid and expressive work. She uses lively surface texture and intense colours. Moira loves to travel at home and abroad for inspiration. She especially enjoys the vibrant colours, light and brightness of the Mediterranean regions and she is fascinated by the fishing villages of the West Country.

On Saturday 4th June between 12pm and 2pm Moira Hazel will be in the gallery for a 'meet and greet' and to chat about her paintings. Please join the event here.


Moira Hazel    Winding road  acrylic on canvas  61x61cm

Moira Hazel

Winding road

acrylic on canvas


Moira Hazel  's work on display in the gallery  Photo by  Zuza Grubecka

Moira Hazel's work on display in the gallery

Photo by Zuza Grubecka

Moira Hazel    Red and green  acrylic on canvas  40x40cm

Moira Hazel

Red and green

acrylic on canvas


Dan Bennett's paintings are inspired by phosphenes, intricate swirling patterns that form before the inner eye, which have intrigued Dan since his childhood. By capturing these fleeting patterns in the form of plants and other organisms, Dan is expressing his belief in the oneness of life, and hinting at a glimpse of an underlying structure he thought he once saw out of the corner of his eye.

Dan Bennett    Ficus 2   acrylic  90x90cm

Dan Bennett

Ficus 2 



Dan Bennett  's work on display in the gallery  Photo by  Zuza Grubecka

Dan Bennett's work on display in the gallery

Photo by Zuza Grubecka

Dan Bennett    Roche Aux Sabots  acrylic  90x90cm

Dan Bennett

Roche Aux Sabots



Alongside the paintings, we have filled the gallery with beautiful colourful glass work by McNeill GlassVerity Pulford, Catriona MacKenzieRuth Shelley and Scott Irvine.

Meet the Artist - Richard Spare

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Richard Spare's wonderful prints are now on show at Cambridge Contemporary Art in an exhibition with printmaker Robert Greenhalf that runs until 5th March. His pared down images, depicting scenes of wildlife, coastal scenes and still life, are inspired by his studio garden, and time spent travelling in America and Japan.

To learn more about the way Richard works we asked him a few questions.

When did you first know you wanted to be an artist? 
I don’t remember as a child making a sudden decision to be an artist, but from an early age I was drawn to making and designing.  It was a natural progression to go to art college and work with other artists. 

What inspires you? 
Nature must be an inspiration to everyone!  The garden at my studio is a constant source of inspiration, as is travel - on arrival in a new part of the world, I am usually weighed down with copper plates! 

What are the qualities you enjoy about the medium you work in? 
I always draw directly onto the plate from my chosen subject.  I love working straight onto the copper, the act of drawing on the resistant copper dictates the way I draw, and the way the image turns out.  I am not transposing from another medium, so each print is an original interpretation, individually printed by hand, and hand painted.  Each print is thus slightly different. I enjoy the rich velvet blacks of the drypoint line against the pure pigment of the watercolour and find the vibrancy of the pigment against the strength of the black a beautiful combination. 
How long does the process take and what is involved? 
Each single print takes considerable time to produce.  Aside from the time taken drawing the image (which takes many hours and some strength!) - the plate must be re-inked and hand-wiped for each print made.  The plates are printed on my antique etching presses - the technique having changed very little since Rembrandt’s day. 
The press is turned by hand and the damp paper is peeled off the plate to reveal an image which is thus unique - no mass production here!  The print is then dried for eight hours under weights and is hand-coloured, the application of watercolour painting on the printed drypoint line and gives another dimension of uniqueness. Use of precise colour is extremely important; my wife Kay and I spend a lot of time proofing the colours, until the right balance is achieved. 
Do your floral titles come from a knowledge of plants/botany/horticulture
Unfortunately I don’t have green fingers myself, or know many Latin names, but I adore flowers and get a real buzz when something wonderful blooms in the studio garden! 
How do you arrive at your pared-down images? 
By a process of elimination, over the years I’ve tried to express the essence of what I see. I attempt to evoke the fragility of life and my respect for its existence. Each animal, bird or flower has its own character, often engagingly quirky or even humorous, I enjoy bringing these charictoristics out in my work. 

How did your time in America and Japan influence you? 
Whilst in New York I spent a great amount of time in the museums.  It was during one such visit to MOMA that I was struck by Matisse’s sublime simplicity of line and shape.  On return to London I went on to produce Blue Bird, which was, I suppose, the start of my current work. 
Since then I have traveled extensively in Japan which I was fortunate enough to visit annually for eleven years for a series of solo shows. After a five year break, I am excited to be going back this November for 25 shows right across Japan. I adore the rich culture and artistic traditions, the beauty of the landscape, and the people, all of which has an influence on my work.  
Which other artists do you admire? 
Rembrandt, Goya, Van Gogh, Picasso, David Hockney, Hokusai, Utamaro, Hiroshige and many, many more. 
What are your favourite museums and galleries? 
 MOMA, NY,  Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam,  Royal Academy, London, Ukiyo-E Ota Memorial Museum of Art, Tokyo. 
Can you describe a typical working day
I am not a morning person! I usually work at home in the morning, going through the diary, signing prints or discussing ideas or licensing requests with Kay. I arrive at my studio, which is a few miles away, in the late morning and open up the shutters at the back so I can see the garden while I work. I may be printing, or steelfacing my plates (an electroplating process which strengthens the drawn plate, so the image is maintained throughout the punishing pressures on the copper as the edition is printed on the antique etching presses). If I am travelling then of course I am out drawing! 
How do you see your work evolving in the future? 
My work will always be informed by travel and nature and I seek inspiration in these. My interpretations have evolved gradually over the years and I’m sure will continue to do so. The printmaking process is constantly surprising and inspiring in itself, and I like to use found textures and marks in some of my works. 
What are your general interests? 
My work and leisure cannot really be separated, - but my family, travel, film, meeting up with old friends come top of the list. 

Meet Richard Spare in the gallery on 19th February at 2pm. Richard will be at cambridge contemporary art (6 Trinity Street, Cambridge) to chat to visitors about his work.



October Exhibition with Niki Bowers, Carry Akroyd and Simon Griffiths

exhibitions, Printmaking, Sculpture, Meet the artistcambridge contemporary artComment


Niki Bowers, Carry Akroyd and Simon Griffiths Exhibition

1st – 23rd October

Niki Bowers



Simon Griffiths

Hare (close-up)


Carry Akroyd

Hugin & Munin



Be sure not to miss our Autumn exhibition this year, with beautiful nature-inspired work by printmakers Niki Bowers and Carry Akroyd and sculptor Simon Griffiths.


Based in Norfolk, Niki Bowers creates linocut prints inspired by the rural landscape and wildlife surrounding her. Niki makes her prints entirely by hand using linseed oil based inks. If you’ve visited our gallery before, you might have seen one of her popular starling prints gracing our walls.

Painter and printmaker Carry Akroyd has lived most of her life in rural East Northamptonshire. Nature is her favourite subject and her brightly coloured prints depict a wide range of fauna and flora. Carry enjoys experimenting with different media.

Simon Griffiths grew up in rural Durham and this is where he draws his inspiration as well as his great respect for the natural world. He spends a lot of time studying the North Pennine wildlife and countryside before they find their way into his hand built stoneware sculptures.


Simon Griffiths

Tawny Owl

ceramic on wood

Niki Bowers

High Summer



Carry Akroyd

Big Turns and Little Terns



The exhibition runs from 1st until 23rd October. Come to the gallery on Saturday 1st October to celebrate the opening of our new exhibition and meet Carry Akroyd and Niki Bowers from 2 to 4 pm.

Carry Akroyd will be in the gallery again to meet visitors on 15th October from 2 to 4 pm and Niki Bowers will be back on 22nd October from 2 to 4 pm. Come along to the gallery and have a chat with these two wonderful print artists!

Carry Akroyd in her studio

Niki Bowers - Winter Starlings - linocut

Meet the artist - Mychael Barratt

Printmaking, Etching, Meet the artist, exhibitions, Paintingcambridge contemporary artComment

For our new exhibition at cambridge contemporary art, Mychael Barratt has filled the walls with his original prints and paintings,  showing an eclectic mix of themes representing all of his major artistic passions. His work is on show from 3rd -23rd September alongside ceramics by Vicky Lindo, Jane Hollidge and Gwen Vaughan. 

To learn more about the way Mychael works we have asked him a few questions.

How did you get started with your art career?
About 25 years ago, I was walking by the Thames when I popped in to the Royal Festival Hall to get out of the rain. There was a printmaking exhibition on in the foyer and I was so impressed that I started an etching course at Central St Martins the following week. I had been working as a painter before but that was when I started printmaking. 

How do you go about making a new piece?
For big pieces the idea is always the starting point. Once I have the inspiration I start on doing the research and usually don't do any drawing until I've virtually planned the whole thing out in my head. The paintings are much more spontaneous. 

What is your preferred medium/colour pallet to use?
I love both painting and printmaking. As I make them in two separate studios and approach them so differently I couldn't say which is a favourite medium. In printmaking, my heart is definitely in etching.

What inspired the range of work that we have in the gallery?
The work in the gallery was inspired by various things. The 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare has had a huge impact on my work, inspiring at least three pieces. A recent visit walking around Cambridge has obviously inspired a couple of the paintings.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

A Map of Shakespeare's London


We are currently showing your dog works, how do you go about selecting the artist that you paying homage to?
The artists are all ones whose work I admire but the most crucial thing is that little eureka moment when I get an idea that makes me laugh. They are sincere homages made with a huge level of care but are also hopefully quite funny. 

Is it challenging emulating all the different styles of your dog works? What is the style that you are most pleased to have achieved?
Emulating the style of the different artists is always a challenge because it forces me to work in unfamiliar manners. The one I am most pleased with is probably the Turner. I am constantly learning by doing these and painting the Hockney's dogs was definitely the most fun and has probably had the biggest impact on how I paint. 

Turner's Dog

Hockney's Dogs

Which other artists do you admire?
I admire so many artists and have a large art library. In printmaking, Rembrandt, Goya, Hogarth, Chris Orr and Grayson Perry. In painting my heart is definitely with Chagall although I think the way I work is more like Hopper. The list would be endless. 

Could you describe a typical working day?
I divide a typical day up between research and practical work and a perfect day would see me doing some printmaking and some painting. I'm happiest when I have a huge stretch of drawing ahead of me.

How do you see your work evolving in the future?
In the future I plan to do at least a couple more huge maps and carry on with the other strands and themes of my work like the artist's dogs and cats. Really I want to just keep getting better! 

Meet Mychael Barratt in the gallery on Saturday 24 September, 1-3pm. Mychael will be at cambridge contemporary art (6 Trinity Street, Cambridge) showing visitors how he produces his work.

Meet the Artist - Marina Bauguil

Meet the artist, ceramicscambridge contemporary art1 Comment

Marina at work in her studio


If you have been to our gallery in the past month, you will have noticed the characterful porcelain creatures that are currently populating our front cabinet. These 'Kami', as they are called, are designed to evoke 'the sacred element or spirit which can be contained in everything, expressed in an awe inspiring way.' They are lovingly and delicately created by Marina Bauguil. Marina has answered some questions for us so we can learn more about her wonderful work.


How do you go about making a new piece?

Red Fox Spirit

I usually go back to my sketchbook to pick up on my last train of thought. Next, I sit in my work space for a while and become present using a meditative approach, then setting an intention for that working day - this can be as simple as "have fun today" - all the while letting my ideas simmer. After that I get the clay out, put music on and start rolling out small coils, which I hollow out and model. Each piece then appears intuitively, a bit like an information download: I let myself be guided by what the piece is telling me.


How did you get started with your art career?

I studied sculpture at Falmouth School of Art and Design for three years and spent a further two studying ceramics in Nottingham. I then worked with a sculptor friend of mine firstly on a community project, then making large sculptures for the artist David Mack. I also worked with a landscape architect making large pieces for gardens and went on to do private commissions for a while, whilst working on my own ceramic pieces in my parents' cellar.

Owl Spirit

What is your preferred medium/colour pallet to use?

Clay is undeniably my preferred medium and over the last two years more specifically paper porcelain. My colour palette changes but I have noticed over the years that I like using turquoise, teal blues and greens.

What inspired the range of work that we have in the gallery?

A long fascination with tribal/ethnographical figurative art traditions such as the Dogū figures of ancient Japan or the Divination figures of Angola. I love the idea that clay holds power, for example, it can be used as a building material for construction or become a recipient for food and water but also a vehicle for the intangible such as emotions,essence or magic. The work in the gallery is partly inspired by this idea, I see my little pieces as contemporary shamanistic objects which hold a power of their own.

Which other artists do you admire?

That's a difficult question as there are so many. I recently discovered the work of Ramesh Nithiyendran which I love, I also admire the work of Claire Curneen, Kristen Brunjes and Grayson Perry.

Wind Spirit


Could you describe a typical working day?

A typical working day starts how I described it in the first question. I usually start around 10am and work until 3.30pm when my children come back from school. I often go back to the studio ( which incidentally is my utility room) for a few hours in the evening.

How do you see your work evolving in the future?

My work is a journey, so in a way I discover it as I go along. However, working on such small pieces is a very intense and concentrated process. I used to make very large pieces when I worked in bronze, so I would definitely like to work on larger pieces in the near future.


Meet the artist - Ikuko Iwamoto

Meet the artist, ceramicscambridge contemporary artComment

Like Ruth MolloyGael Sellwood and Mani Parkes, Ikuko Iwamoto's work is another very recent addition to our gallery. 

Ikuko Iwamoto

Ikuko started making ceramics in 1990 at Tezukayama College in Japan. She then moved to London to do an undergraduate degree in ceramics at the Camberwell College of Arts and she subsequently completed an MA in ceramics and glass at the Royal College of Art. At the RCA she started to make functional pieces using a slip casting technique using plaster moulds. Ikuko is now a successful artist working from her studio in London and she has exhibited extensively both in the UK and Japan.

All of Ikuko's work is entirely handmade. The main body of a piece is usually created using a slip-casting technique. Ikuko makes all the casting moulds herself by hand. Every part of the decoration, including every single spike, is then individually crafted and attached by hand. All of the pieces are made from porcelain.

Nucleolus Pofupfou Teapot and Spiky Milk Jug

Ikuko's work is informed by her own curiosity about invisible things such as sounds, music and the microscopic world - cells, genes and organic forms. The meticuolous level of detail with which she works is spot on for a subject matter that includes the tiniest of sea creatures and the minutest of micro-organisms.

Ikuko has already achieved critical acclaim and in March 2009, she was awarded the Ceramic Review Prize for Innovation at the RCA's Ceramic Art London exhibition. 


Nucleolus Pofu Teapots

How did you get started with your art career?

I went art and craft history BA course in Japan and I started making throwing pots when I was 18 years old.


What is your preferred medium to use?

Clay.  I tried to use metal when I was a student at Camberwell, but very frustrated…

Nucleolus Pofu Teapot Closeup

How do you go about making a new cup or vessel?

I draw the shape on the paper first and then make a model with plaster.  Carving plaster by hand, and then I make mould from the model.


What inspired the range of work that we have in the gallery?

Microscopic patterns


Which other artists do you admire?

Outsider artist especially Henry Darger


Could you describe a typical working day?

I drop off my kids to school and nursery in the morning and then go to studio by bike. I work at my studio in Clerkenwell between 9:45am and 2:45pm and then picking up my son from school.


How do you see your work evolving in the future?

I make framed sculpture too (, so I would like to make a lot of art works as well as tableware.

Ikuko's work on display at cambridge contemporary art

Meet the artist - Gael Sellwood

Meet the artist, Paintingcambridge contemporary artComment

We are pleased to introduce you to Gael Sellwood. Gael has created a series of paintings for our current Spring exhibition.

We discovered Gael's work at the Cambridge Botanic Gardens, Gael is a RHS gold medal winning botanical and natural history artist who creates highly detailed work. She captures the beautiful but often ephemeral natural objects around us. To find out more about Gael and her paintings, we asked her a few questions:


How do you go about starting a new painting?

I am largely colour and texture driven.  By this I mean that the subject – whether a flower, insect, shell or feather - feels right and seems to speak to me until I take it into the studio to start work on it.  I usually have an idea of how a finished piece will look.  I also develop a feel for the layout as I want to recreate a place or a season on the paper simply with the natural objects I find around.

Gael at her desk

Sign of the Times September 

How did you get started with your art career?

I loved biology and art at school.  I especially loved going on a nature walk and gathering small natural objects, plants and flowers and bringing them back to place on the nature table.  We were encouraged to look at the textures and colours and I always felt a connection with the objects.  After leaving school I did an evening class in botanical drawing at Capel Manor College.  It created similar feelings for me to those evoked by the nature table.  I was hooked. To start with I worked part time as a painter whilst having a full time day job.  Over the past few years painting (and some teaching of the subject) has been my main occupation.


What is your preferred medium to use?

I LOVE watercolour; especially wet into wet.  I love the slightly uncontrolled aspect of watercolour and how you cannot quite predict the result you will get.  I have been using watercolour for years now, having used oils and pastels at school.  Recently I have been using very strongly pigmented paints and also natural mineral paints, just mixed with glycerin and gum arabic.  These contribute to the resulting colours and textures on paper.


What are you currently inspired by?

Colour and texture.  Oh and the seasons.  I love the idea that you can take the viewer to a hedgerow with some primroses and pussy willow, or to a bed in the garden, perhaps tended by a much loved older relative just with a full blown rose on paper.  I am also slightly pre-occupied by the thought of plants that we just cannot manage without.  This is an idea that is just beginning to take shape in my mind.  I will see where it leads but no doubt it will go somewhere.

My Heart Rests in the Garden

Enduring love

My Heart's Beside the Sea

Which other artists do you admire?

I love the clever sparseness of printmaking, especially the work of Angie Lewin and Angela Harding.  My most revered painter is Rory McEwen.  I also admire the work of Albrecht Durer, especially his great piece of turf.  I love the rich colours and patterns of Gustav Klimt


Could you describe a typical working day?

When in my studio I start by lighting the woodburner and tuning in the radio or getting an audio book ready.  I then wander round our 3½ acre conservation garden, wood and paddock for inspiration and ideas.  The weather, the light and what I find all play a part in deciding what to do. I then go back into the studio and start with a light line drawing.  Colour and form come next, usually working wet into wet. While topping up the woodburner and listening to the radio or a book, I become engrossed in my work.  The studio has no computer or telephone so I can work for several hours without interruption.  I usually have lots of short breaks though just to keep the work fresh and to make sure my neck doesn't get too stiff.


How do you see your work evolving in the future?

Even when I am not in the studio I am thinking about painting.  I may be driving and the wayside plants make me think about compositions or other ideas.  Cuttings from magazines might show combined colours that I think will work well on the paper.  I am interested in developing some work that combines contrasting textures, shapes and colours.  At the moment I am luxuriating in thinking about them. The planning work will take shape this Spring, in between exhibiting and running a few workshops.


Meet the artist - Mani Parkes

Meet the artist, Paintingcambridge contemporary artComment

We are delighted to introduce you to Mani Parkes. Mani has created a series of paintings for our current 'Art For The Heart' exhibition.

We first discovered Mani's work after seeing one of her paintings on Facebook, and thought her work would be perfect for our exhibition. Each of her pieces are delicately painted, and give a glimpse into the lives of her characters. To find out more about Mani and her paintings, we asked her a few questions:

How do you go about starting a new painting?

If I'm creating work for a specific gallery I like to find inspiration from the local area. I love looking for quirky buildings, landscapes, distinctive features and characters. I find Pinterest is a great source of inspiration. Once I have an idea, I draw a simple doodle in my sketchbook, jotting down ideas as I go. As soon as I'm happy with the sketch I embark on the actual painting.

Sealed with a Kiss

Be My Valentine

Be My Valentine

Guest of Honour

How did you get started with your art career? 

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be an artist. My mum has often told me that as soon as I could hold a pencil all I ever wanted to do was draw. As a small child I remember receiving a tin of Reeves watercolour paints for Christmas and it felt like the best present in the world, I can still remember the smell of the paint. 

What is your preferred medium to use?

 I love using Acrylics as they dry very quickly and I’m impatient to add all the tiny details to my pictures. I like to use muted colours building up the layers as I go.

A Lovely Cup of Tea

Love is in the Air

What are you currently inspired by?

At the moment I am inspired by the beautiful county of Dorset. I have lots of lovely photographs and memories from our summer holiday. The charming landscape, beautiful thatched cottages and our children playing on the windswept beaches are an endless source of inspiration.

Which other artists do you admire?

I admire so many artists, Elaine Pamphilon, Dee Nickerson, Emma McClure, Mary Newcomb, Mary Fedden, James Newton Adams and Gary Bunt to name but a few.

Could you describe a typical working day? 

After the school run I cycle home and pop the kettle and the radio on, sitting at my living room table, I turn my simple sketchbook doodles into cheerful paintings. My bulldog Florence is never far away, giving me moral support and snoring very loudly! I paint until my family arrives home. I check my emails in the evening and have a peek at all the lovely artists on Facebook.

'Art for The Heart', Exhibition, Cambridge Contemporary Art