From textiles to clocks, weaving to mosaics, ceramics to paintings, sculptures to photographs: the works of the artists who took part in the recent Open Studios event drew hundreds of people to the picturesque village of Gaucín over the past two weekends, some of them travelling long distances to enjoy this annual event.
It is very unusual for a place so small to be such a focus for the arts, but Gaucín has always had an active artistic community and over the years the Open Studios weekends have attracted a very large following.
It is a lovely experience, wandering through the streets of this beautiful village in the Serranía de Ronda and popping into some or all of the 17 studios. The variety of the works on display is quite remarkable and it is fascinating to be able to chat to the artists and, in some cases, see them in action.
One of the most surprising displays this year was by textile artist Belén Montero, whose quilting and patchwork pictures were exhibited perfectly in a bright and tranquil room in the Casa de la Juventud, which was the first studio to be visited on the route.
A display which had a real impact was that of Michael Roschlau, whose colourful and intricate works, including clocks, act like a magnet to make one draw closer for a better look, and then often reveal a darker and more disturbing, sometimes sinister, side.
The visit to ceramic artist Caroline Gullick’s studio struck a more delicate note, with her beautiful representations of flowers and plants on pale-coloured wall-hangings, jugs and dishes, while Nozomi Hatano’s minimalist paintings were a delight as always, often reflecting solitude or incorporating unicorns as a representation of masculine power or shells and spirals to reflect feminine elegance and sensuality.
Like Nozomi, Sara Webb finds landscapes inspiring and her works are often based upon scenes from her travels through Andalucía and Morocco. Sara learned various printing techniques including etching, woodcut and lithography when she was studying in Singapore, and she also uses inks, water colour and oil paints.
Scenes from daily life in Spain and Morocco also inspire photographer Vivienne Whiffen, a founder member of Art Gaucín, the association which organises the Open Studios event. Vivienne has lived in this country on and off for over 40 years and her atmospheric photos, whether in black and white or colour, capture moments in time which will be as relevant in the future as they are today.
Sebastian Fisher describes his sculptural work as an exploration of both natural form and a reflection of his own inner quest for meaning and beauty. He often works in metal, hand forging his creations which are inspired not only by Nature but also by his deep interest in the sacred elements of Indian art.
Unfortunately there is only space to mention a few of the 17 artists who participated in the Open Studios in Gaucín this year, but this event never fails to be fascinating and it is definitely a date that all art lovers should put in the diary for next year.