‘Appeals procedure’ - There’s surely something to tickle your fancy at the Cupola Gallery as part of their 20th anniversary celebrations. Ian Soutar reports.

Garry Jones with his Five Baaa Gate from Something to Tickle Our Fancy at the Cupola Gallery
Garry Jones with his Five Baaa Gate from Something to Tickle Our Fancy at the Cupola Gallery

SILVER chip forks, sensual wall ceramics, oversized Russian Dolls, handbags with attitude...

...crazy bunnies, tiny books, test tubes, temporary graffiti walls (sort of), sculptures of people with animals on their heads, ceramic dogs, sheep, chickens, cats, mixed media mermaids and fish, giant ice creams, stitched paper spoons, photographs, paintings, glass vessels (cast from a woman’s breast) and beautiful silverware, (kaleidoscopes, tea strainers, jewellery) and fancy Art Cakes.

There’s surely something to tickle your fancy there. That is the thinking behind Something to Tickle Our Fancy, one of two exhibitions at the Cupola Gallery, along with Matroyshka by Kate Sully which contain their 20th anniversary celebrations.

Something to Tickle Our Fancy is an exhibition that brings together a diverse array of work which simply ‘appeals’ to Cupola. Artwork has been selected that has the ability to bring a wry smile or ‘a belly laugh’ or that just expresses a spirit of optimism (sometimes a little ‘darkly’).

“This was just such a fun show to select. The biggest problem was knowing when to stop and it is going to be enormously difficult to bring it all together, but hey, I like a challenge, said Cupola managing director Karen Sherwood.

Artists exhibiting include Jane Adams, Mari Ruth Oda, Garry Jones, Sarah Sunders, Rachel Boddington, Becky Gee, Jane Platts, Paul Schatzberger, Alix Swann, Victoria Kershaw, Adele Taylor, Nigel Senior, Derek McQueen, Tair Rafiq, Helen Scouller, Fabric Lenny, Gavin Marshall, Emma Syz, Jonathan Stead, Emma Rowley and Lotus de Wit.

Meanwhile upstairs in the long gallery at the Cupola is Matroyshka by Kate Sully whose Russian dolls, large ice creams, richly decorated and coloured fabrics and sweets create an instant impact and sense of fun but there is often an undercurrent of something slightly sinister and a serious message.

“The new work explores the families of Russian dolls or Matroyshka as a vehicle to look at contemporary issues as well as enjoying the decorative richness inherent in them,” says the artist. “They are both appealing and familiar to us and the idea of the family can be used as a metaphor to tell new stories about the world both positive and negative.

“The set of dolls begins with the largest one representing our desire to over indulge and so whilst being rich and colourful , the carefully chosen decoration suggests a more sinister side. The rest of the dolls decrease in size, describing the human condition - some hopeful and others more disturbing - using digital printed textiles, mixed media and found objects.

“Other artworks again are on the surface colourful and playful but on closer inspection reveal another layer to the work.” Kate Sully.

All work in the Cupola is available for sale at prices ranging from £1.50 to £1,000. There is an opening night for Something to Tickle Our Fancy and Matroyshka on Friday at the Cupola Gallery, Middlewood Road, Hillsborough, and the shows continue until Sunday July 3.