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Exhibition: We celebrate Byard Art’s 25th Anniversary

-Renowned for its lively exhibition programme and gloriously innovative artists, Byard Art celebrates its 25th anniversary this July. Owner Ros Cleevely looks back on the gallery’s incredible journey and showcases some of the amazing exhibiting artists

The year 2023 is an important one for Byard Art, as this July, we mark our 25th anniversary. Over the many years we have been open as an independent art gallery in the heart of Cambridge, our journey has been entwined with an array of exciting and talented artists across all mediums.

To celebrate our 25 years, we will be holding a special Summer Exhibition running from July 1 to September 3, featuring a range of some of our most beloved artists, as well as those just beginning their journey with us. We hope to see you there!

It’s great fun and a privilege running Byard Art, finding exciting talented new artists for our discerning customers. Over the many years, we have been in central Cambridge, we have got to chat with and know many wonderful clients who are starting to build and/or develop collections. I have been lucky to have an amazing, friendly, knowledgeable team always happy to help everyone, answer questions, arrange deliveries, and of course assist in finding the perfect artwork for our clientele.

We have always aimed to showcase the best Cambridge has to offer, as well as be central to introducing new and exciting work to the area. In celebrating 25 years, we would like to pay a special tribute to some of the artists who have been with us over the years, both old and new.

-Carol Peace: Sculpture

Carol Peace is a name known well at Byard Art, and it rings with quality and innovation. A local girl from humble beginnings, growing up and studying in Cambridge, she ran away without a penny and returned as a fully-fledged artist, becoming something of a local hero. At Byard Art, we have featured her pieces in many exhibitions, including numerous solo shows, and Carol’s ponderous works continue to be a much-loved feature of our collection.

Her bronze sculptures, such as the elegiac ‘Carpe Diem’ or the beloved couple in ‘Fireworks’ make a striking collection of self-reflective figures, inviting whoever gazes upon them to think, reflect, and meditate on the human condition. Whether depicting adolescents, as children, new mothers, or sitting partners in love, Carol captures us at our most pure and vulnerable.

Carol Peace
Carol Peace

-Beckie Reed: Painting (and former employee)

Painter Beckie Reed, living and working in East Anglia, has a special place in the history of Byard Art. Shortly after graduating Loughborough University in 2004, Beckie started exhibiting with us. And not long after that, Beckie started working with us in the gallery. Her career has grown exponentially since these early years, now working as a full-time professional artist, and being highly collected and sought after in not only the UK, but all over the world in cities such as Hong Kong and New York.

Inspired by her surroundings, Beckie’s lively works are full of the colour, atmosphere, and natural beauty that East Anglia is renowned for, working often from photographs taken on her daily walks to create expressive and contrasting canvases. The artist says ‘there’s something magical about being in the woods’, and her works certainly achieve the sense of escapism she seeks through changing light and shadow.

Beckie Reed
Beckie Reed

-Elisabeth Lecourt: Mixed-Media

Being able to celebrate 25 years as an independent art gallery involves many factors, but we owe special thanks to the loyalty of our artists. Mixed-media artist and painter Elisabeth Lecourt, one of our most revered artists, has been working alongside us since the very beginning for over 23 years, and we feel incredibly lucky to continue to exhibit her work.

A favourite amongst many of our clients and staff, Elisabeth’s work focuses integrally on the feminine figure, exploring the vulnerability, tenderness, joy, and pain that are part of what it means to be human. With her signature map dresses, Elisabeth achieves this to perfection whilst exploring ideas of our place in the world, our difference, and our connectedness through personal locations and meaningful bonds. Her work is thoughtfully finished with a plethora of signature touches such as sowing her name into the clothing label and embossing the paper with her stamp, adding a touch of personality and entertainment to the overall design. We hope that we continue to exhibit her work for the next 25 years.

Elisabeth Lecourt
Elisabeth Lecourt

-Chris Wood: Corporate

Not only do we tailor for all tastes and spaces in the home, we also offer art that can transform your corporate spaces. One such artist is Chris Wood, who transforms glass from being perceived as a material that covers corporate buildings to one which transfixes with fascination.

Creating optical planes which harness natural light, her patterned arrangements reflect and refract light in mesmeric kaleidoscopes. Clever in her use of material using simple arrangements of optically coated glass known as dichroic – originally developed by NASA – Chris’ pieces filter light waves to produce a rainbow of colourful shadows and projections, creating soothing patterns which span across the aluminium plane. Put one of her pieces in the workplace and office bods will no longer be distracted by the clock in the meeting room, but hypnotised by her optical designs.

Chris Wood
Chris Wood

-Mark Munroe-Preston: New Artist, Photography

Featuring this year as a new artist to Byard and to Cambridge, Mark Munroe-Preston’s treescapes stand out amongst the crowd. Working from Sussex amongst the beauty of the Ashdown Forest and South Downs National Park, Mark’s work begins with exploration. He takes off on foot with his camera and two beloved Scottish Terriers on a voyage of discovery for the most picturesque trees and landscapes he, or they, can find.

Working from his photographs, Mark’s second journey is one of creativity. He digitally merges a single photo with other photographs, paintings, drawings, textures, and found objects to create the final piece. This often ends up as more literal interpretations of the original places, whilst other works are more conceptual. In any case, his hope is to capture the natural beauty and drama of the landscape, which he more than achieves in his atmospheric designs. Mark finishes each piece with a title given as the GPS location of the spot the original photograph was taken. A thoughtful and original final flourish.

Mark Munroe-Preston
Mark Munroe-Preston

-Byard Art is at 14 King’s Parade, Cambridge. Find out more at byardart.co.uk

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