An exhibition at Shaftesbury Arts Centre will encourage us to look at the architecture around us. The artist’s work includes design details from our town centre and he’s offering a prize if you can locate the mystery markings featured in his work.
Richard Aaron Ward is putting the finishing touches to his solo show, which runs from 27th February to 5th March. Richard studied painting at Falmouth School of Art and he now works from his studio near Child Okeford, at the foot of Hambledon Hill. “It’s inspiring. I like to go up there, wander and look over Dorset. It’s beautiful,” said Richard.
But rather than literal landscapes, Richard’s work is stylised and possesses unreal qualities. “There’s going to be a combination of abstract paintings and some figurative paintings. I’d say it is joyful and colourful. There are some features of local architectural details that creep into the work. You will discover those by accident, as you look at the paintings,” Richard said.
A wall in Salisbury has inspired some of Richard’s work. “There are a number of medieval marks on it that have come into my painting. They were made by masons in the medieval period, and this was how they identified their work so they would get paid. And they’re still there,” said Richard. “Other elements around Shaftesbury are little marks on buildings that find their way into my work.”
Richard showed me a ‘T’ shaped marking, which looked a little bit like a whale’s tail. “If someone can identify where this particular mark has come from, then there will be a prize for them,” Richard said. Not all of Richard’s work is influenced by historic marks. “There are other architectural details and features that just jump out at me if they’re an interesting or beautiful shape.”
Richard has put together a large display of his pieces for this Arts Centre Gallery show. “There will be between 25 and 30. There will be a number of oil paintings, some drawings. This represents about a year and a half of work,” he said.
The artist is hoping to stimulate a response from gallery goers. “I think that any artist that puts their work out will hope for some kind of reaction and feedback. I think that’s the end result of doing the work,” said Richard.
Richard hasn’t hosted a show in our town before. “I’ve exhibited in London and Nottingham but this is the first time in Shaftesbury.” He’s comfortable about putting his art on show so close to home. “Shaftesbury has got a great gallery space. I think it seems a natural thing to exhibit,” Richard said.
Richard’s show, from 27th February to 5th March, is open daily from 10am to 4pm and Sunday from 10.30am to 2.30pm. You can meet the artist in the Arts Centre Gallery on Bell Street on Saturday 2nd March from 12pm to 4pm.