Tales of the Real and the Imagined

3rd June 2016 - 20th August 2016

Featuring Paula Rego, Celia Washington, Jean Duncan, Mario Gonzalez and Loretta Braganza

Personal experiences of divergent cultures and traditions combine with nature, fiction, fantasy and folk law; with the familiar and the unfamiliar, in this exciting, multinational exhibition of prints and ceramics featuring Paula Rego with Celia Washington, Jean Duncan and Mario Gonzalez with ceramics by Loretta Braganza.

The exhibition, a unique visual offering designed to evoke a myriad of emotions, will explore the hopes and dreams, the folklorish and fantastical influences, and the personal histories and horrors experienced by this group of accomplished artists with connections across the globe. 

The artists in this exhibition all share a desire to travel and to experience cultures beyond their own. Each has travelled extensively, often having spent significant periods of time living abroad. They also all carry a shared preoccupation with nature and its potential to reveal any number of hidden narratives, whether real or imagined.

Paula Rego’s passion for painting began as a child when she lived in Lisbon. Later, after moving to England, Rego studied at the Slade School of Art in London, reconnecting to her childhood memories of Lisbon and her Portuguese roots through her artwork. Drawing on literature, mythology, fairy tales, cartoons and religious texts, Rego’s works are at times surreal, mysterious and occasionally unnerving. Imbued with a feminist spirit, often depicting women in a state of fear and rage, her works posses a remarkable ability to communicate strong emotions, whilst simulatensouly capturing the essence of a narrative.

Unknown, as yet, within the art world in the UK, Mario Gonzalez holds a greater and highly impressive reputation in his home country. An established member of Havana’s thriving printmaking community, Gonzalez’s work has been exhibited at national and regional exhibitions in Cuba. Specialising in linocut and drypoint, his work is often inspired by the magic of nature and its relationship to us as human beings. It is also inevitably rooted in the culture of Post-Revolutionary Cuba; a culture which exudes a sense of defiance and vibrancy of spirit in all that it does, most notably through the art, music, dance and literary heritage of this most amazing of countries. Currently living in London, Gonzalez is developing his creative practice and experimenting with other media to combine painting, drawing and photography in his prints. 

Artist Celia Washington, has lived and worked in Florence, Paris, Tokyo, Madrid, London and Kathmandu. Her paintings, prints, sculptures and films are inspired by the places that she has lived and travelled to both as a child and growing up. Her works also possess a mystical quality and connections between her own visual language and that of Magic Realist writers has been frequently observed, as well as acknowledged by the artist herself. Here, the ordinary becomes inextricably linked with the extraordinary, resulting in visual narratives which are simultaneously familiar and dreamlike. 

Painter and printmaker Jean Duncan is a member of the Royal Ulster Academy. Having moved from France where she lived for four years, she now lives and works in York. Duncan has also spent time working in Japan and Portugal and has exhibited here as well as a number of other international destinations. Duncan's work is frequently inspired by music, and her portfolio includes many collaborative projects with composers and musicians. Literature and the surroundings in which she finds herself, whether this be the south of France or the coast of Northern Ireland, also offer a rich resource for her mysterious, dreamlike and ambiguous works. Duncan is an enthusiastic and driven artist, having played an important role in developing the cultural scene and reputation in Northern Ireland. Her  work is included in many collections within her home country as well as those in England, Scotland, Europe and beyond. 

Loretta Braganza lives and works in York, having come to the UK as a young child, from the vibrant city of Mumbai. Her work frequently explores the interactions between earth, air, fire and water and relates to a deeply felt sense of place. They embody too, countless narratives, geographies and timeframes – all waiting to be discovered by the onlooker. Talking about her work, Braganza explains that the sculptural forms she uses distil and fuse other art practices that make up part of her journey as a ceramicist. A lifelong passion for Indian dancing manifests itself in the choreography of the ‘groups and related shapes’ which frequently appear. The use of rhythmic surface patterning stems from a background in textile design whilst her Fine Art training reveals itself in the painterly methods that she exploits.

For a full list of the works in this exhibition, or for further information about the artists showcased, please email the Gallery directly.


Featuring artists

  • Paula Rego DBE
  • Celia Washington
  • Jean Duncan RUA
  • Mario Gonzalez
  • Loretta Braganza

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