Rye Creative Centre runs an eclectic exhibition program featuring a wide variety of contemporary artists and makers.  Through a mix of group and solo shows, our gallery curator Paula MacArthur has compiled a program that aims to display creative quality from resident, national and international artists.

Upcoming Exhibition:


Following an overwhelmingly huge response to our Winter Salon Exhibition Open Call we are excited to present no less than 86 artists and 101  artworks at our forthcoming Winter Salon Exhibition.

24 November – 9 December

Private view: Friday 24 November 2-5pm
Come and meet the artists, find out who is announced as the winner of a solo show in our gallery in 2018 and join us for celebratory refreshments!

Opening hours: Friday 24 November 2-5pm, Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 10am-4pm, then until 9 December Wednesday – Saturday 10am – 2pm and by appointment.

All participating artists were chosen from an open call by guest judge Victoria Howarth (Exhibitions Curator, Jerwood Gallery)and our curator Paula MacArthur

One winner from a shortlist of fifteen artists will be awarded a solo exhibition in our gallery in 2018.

Susan Absolon
Judith Alder
Sophie Ansar
Oona Ball
Drew Burrett
Sinèid Codd
Sara Dare
Gareth Kemp
Naty Lopez-Holguin
Neil Metzner
Kate Murdoch
Patrick O’Donnell
Eleonora Roaro
Janet Sainsbury
Alice Walter

Full list of exhibitors:

Susan Absolon, Nic Acaster, Karolina Albricht, Judith Alder, Julia Andrews-Clifford, Sophie Ansar, Duane Bahia Benatti, Oona Ball, Tom Banks, Pippa Barrow,
Mark Beldan, Helen Bermingham, Jill Bourner, Day Bowman, Penelope Boylan, Drew Burrett, Gemma Buxton, Rebecca Byrne, Sarah Carpenter, Helen Cass,
Marc Christmas, Robin Clark, Sinead Codd, Rachel Cohen, Lucy Crowley, Clare Dales, Sara Dare, Jean Davey-Winter, Davies, Monaghan & Klein, Denzil Dean,
Liz Doyle, Patrick Edgeley, Gary Edwards, Liz Elton, Stephen Emmerson, Dave Farnham, Robert Fitzmaurice, Carole Flanders, Caroline Fraser, Alison Goodyear, Sonia Griffin, Sharon Haward, Maggie Henton, Richard Heys, Deborah Humm, Jill Illiffe, Lynsey James, Amanda Jobson, Daniel John, Peter Jones, Gareth Kemp, Jane King, Tom Kofoed, Hannah Kynoch, Iris Legendre, Judy Logan, Naty Lopez-Holguin, Ascension Lorente Huguet, Karen Marks, Kate Matthews, Anthony McAndrew, Neil Metzner, Laura Moreton-Griffiths, Kate Murdoch, Sarah Nelson, Patrick O’Donnell, Laura Obon, Jon Pountain, Nessie Ramm, Agata Read, Leonie Richardson, Eleonora Roaro, Andrea Robinson, Robinson & McMahon, Jim Roseveare, Brian Rybolt, Janet Sainsbury, Wendy Saunders, Jilliene Sellner, Paul Smith, Angela C Smith, John Stewart, Matthew Swift, Nick Sykes, Andy Thornley, Beverley Thornley, Cat Vitebsky, Alice Walter, Alexandra Wilmott, Tom Wilmott, Jackson Woodcock

Image credit: Caroline Fraser Photography, Beaver Lake 2017



Previous Exhibitions 2017:

Jeremy Nelson | Working Drawings

This exhibition by Romney-based artist Jeremy Nelson will open soon. Join us for a private view: Saturday 7 October, 2-5pm

Jeremy Nelson, Mare’s Tail

Jeremy Nelson is an artist/maker living in Romney Marsh. His exhibition, ‘Working Drawings’, brings together the rigour of architectural drawings with studies of organic forms celebrating Jeremy’s abiding fascination for the natural world.
Early drawings follow the development of Jeremy’s work as a young man in London. These beautifully detailed drawings were produced as visions for community projects & buildings. More recent work features as part of a collection titled ‘Nature Moves’. These drawings and stone carving studies reveal a more abstract method of working and include images of water, shells and wheat.

Workshop for children and families: The Willow Whale | Saturday October 21
This workshop will celebrate teamwork, nature and heritage with a playful take on traditional willow-weaving techniques.
Workshop for adults: Theories of Perspective | Saturday October 28
An event for all those with an interest in art history and practical art practice. The workshop will comprise theory and practical drawing.
Contact assist@ryecreativecentre.co.uk for information and booking

New Road Artists Exhibition & Open Studios


All welcome, refreshments provided, free admission & parking

Exhibition open 9-30 September Weds-Saturday, 10am-2pm.

This September, get behind the scenes at Rye Creative Centre. The New Road Artists Group will show their work at an annual exhibition, with a preview on Saturday 9 September, 2-5pm. All are welcome. Later in the month, the artists will throw open their studios to showcase their work and the facilities the centre offers: Join us Friday 22 5.30-8pm & Saturday 23 September 11am-5.30pm to see work in progress, ask questions and learn all about our members’ artistic practice. This event offers a rare chance to buy work directly from the artists. We’ll have workshop demonstrations, tours and more – come along and get nosy with us!

Old Themes – New Thoughts | Paintings by Colin Tozer

Preview Event: 25 August 2017, 6-8pm

All welcome, refreshments provided, free parking

Exhibition continues through 2 September.
Open Wednesday – Saturday, 11am – 3pm and by appointment.

Local artist Colin Tozer is best known as a blues musician. He is a singer and songwriter who has been the frontman for numerous bands over the years (including Old Boots’n’Blisters with a line up of friends from London and Rye). Tozer studied at Camberwell College of Art in the late fifties and has exhibited in London and in France. His paintings have been described as “art with a social message”. This exhibition of new paintings in Rye marks a return to that artistic practice. Tozer’s paintings revisit old themes but offer new interpretations of them. His new work mines his inner life for material as well as responding to current events. Tozer explores the individual’s desire to be a part of world events and to effect change externally through social engagement. He recognises too that this desire is in opposition to a need for privacy, a separate space in which to think and create. Tozer illustrates here the human struggle between wanting to bare one’s soul and the need to protectively conceal the mind’s inner workings.

Where the Wild Things Are

Sculpture and Painting by Steph Rubin, Stephanie Fawbert & Nikki Tompsett

Preview EVENT 8 July 2017, 2-5pm

Refreshments provided, free parking, all welcome

Exhibition continues until 22 July
Open Wednesday – Saturday, 11am – 3pm and by appointment

All around us are cartoony, sentimental images of animals and children. This exhibition presents the work of three artists as they grapple with the real-life creatures. Their work examines our desire to exert control over nature (and our own wild offspring) as we socialise and tame them but it also celebrates children’s freedom of expression and their joy in life.

Stephanie Rubin uses charcoal drawings as a testing ground for new ideas, building up to sculpture scale. She writes: “Sometimes I look at my kids and am shocked at how suddenly they have changed. When did that happen without me noticing? My eldest, when running or walking, pirouettes. On asking him about this involuntary action he replied, ‘It makes me feel dizzy, happy’. The vertigo/disorientation we get as adults is unpleasant and we avoid it whereas in children it gives us a feeling of euphoria. I decided to capture in drawings, prints and sculptures this series of unselfconscious movements. I am working towards modelling a life size sculpture”.

Both Stephanie Fawbert and Nikki Tompsett use their own first-hand observations of animals and children as the basis of their paintings. Nikki Tompsett’s practice “explores the edges of her painting, concentrating on playful sculptury/fabricy things. Grabbing more or less an hour here or there to make, fast, thoughtful, delicate and tough objects that hang or fall.
For this exhibition, she has recycled a decade old project – ‘ten thousand and sixty six’, and loosely reworked the elements to feature her 3 year old daughter. The works are made on the dining table, often in collaboration. They are fast and celebrate the fleeting nature of childhood”. She says: “I am looking for the moments of high energy, learning, excitement, enthusiasm, curiosity or interactions between child and animal”.

Stephanie Fawbert notes: “When I look at my own paintings about children and animals, I wonder if I am hung up on some sentimental grasping for childhood, most likely, my own? In a sense, I do want to tug the heart-strings of the viewer but I want to capture the real interaction between human and animal, not the over- sentimentalized, anthropomorphic meeting of so many birthday card images and story books. In these paintings, the connection between a child and an animal is a powerful and often wary one. It can include fear, mistrust but also fascination and joy. The meeting of child and animal has no social graces, no forced relationship. It is utterly genuine and it is because of this that we can delight in it”.


For more info and to book, contact assist@ryecreativecentre.co.uk

15 July: Big Heads Portrait workshop for families

Artist Stephanie Fawbert will lead a workshop for families using watercolour techniques. Create larger-than-life size portraits of each other, come in pairs or larger groups. This workshop costs £5 per adult-child pair, including all materials.

22 July: animal ceramics

Children’s workshop led by sculptor Steph Rubin. Step outside to our garden to mould clay animals to take home. We will use trees and other elements of our surroundings to mould and shape each animal figure. The workshop costs £5 per person, including all materials.


Photography responding to places associated with Paul Nash


ST565731 (2017)

Since 2011 David Foster has used photography to explore the concept of place, often in the context of the work of other artists. His current project continues to pursue these interests through an exploration of places in Southern England associated with the painter, photographer and writer Paul Nash.

Foster’s artistic practice involves responding emotionally and intuitively to the places and spaces in which he works, the resulting images coming to document less the places themselves than the energies the artist finds there. The interface between nature and culture is a recurrent theme in Foster’s photography, and consequently he is often drawn to places such as edgelands, wastelands, and borderlands, and to ruined, derelict and abandoned places. His work often explores the transitory nature of human presence: the traces, both physical and intangible, of the departed, and the ways these human traces commingle with the more enduring presences of nature.

The images in this exhibition constitute Foster’s response both to the places in which Nash worked, and to the dynamics that Nash brought out of them in his own imagery. Having already made images in and around a number of places that feature prominently in Nash’s oeuvre, Foster conceived this project as a way to respond to Nash more directly and extensively. Well-trodden locales were revisited – Avebury, Romney Marsh, Iver Heath, the Chilterns, Wittenham Clumps – and territory hitherto unwalked by Foster was explored at Studland, Chesil Beach, and along the Jurassic Coast.

In all of his work informed by other artists, Foster enters into a dialogue with the places in which particular artists worked, and with the imagery they created there. The artist and their work become something of a guiding spirit to his own journeys in and around those places. Recent photography projects have taken him to the American South to make images in places associated with the late musician Mark Linkous, and to Ireland to respond to places associated with the painter and writer Jack B. Yeats. Other artists that his practice has engaged with over the years have included John Clare, Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett.

In the relatively early stages of the project, Foster began working extensively with double exposure photographs, finding this to be an effective means of engaging with what Nash referred to as ‘the life of the inanimate object’, and of uncovering, or forging, correspondences in nature. The resulting images often experiment with fractal, almost kaleidoscopic imagery, variously evoking both a mystical and a playful engagement with place, with objects, and with the natural world. As with all of Foster’s photographic work, the images are titled with a grid reference (in this case the Ordnance Survey grid reference code) giving the location where the image was made. All of the images were made in camera and not subject to any digital manipulation. Found objects formed an increasingly important part of Nash’s practice as his career developed, and also on display here are a number of found objects that Foster brought back from his peregrinations into Nash country.

See images from David’s project on Twitter or on Facebook

Associated Events

Photography Walk with David Foster, 10 June 3pm      

Meet at Rye Creative Centre Gallery at 3pm and fuel up with tea and cake. The artist David Foster will then lead a walk through the local countryside. During the walk, David will discuss Paul Nash’s work in relation to the local landscape, and share some aspects of his own artistic engagement with the area. Walkers are invited to bring along their cameras for this event and discuss their own work. Following the walk, we will repair to a pub in Rye for drinks and dinner (optional – not included in the cost of the walk).

Guided Walk (including tea & cake) £5. Please book in advance at: assist@ryecreativecentre.co.uk

Artist’s Talk, 12 June 7pm                                                                                                  

At this free evening event, David Foster will discuss the ways in which his practice responds to the work of Paul Nash. He will discuss the new work created for the exhibition and take questions from the audience.

Free Event, donations bar.

In Conversation with David Foster and Dave McKean, 22 June 7pm

This event promises to be popular; join us for an informal In Conversation evening with artist David Foster and Dave McKean. Dave McKean is an illustrator, writer, musician and filmmaker who has worked with an impressive variety of creative figures including Neil Gaiman, Richard Dawkins, the Rolling Stones and Heston Blumenthal. He has worked on several graphic novels such as Arkham Asylum and the award winning Cages. In 2016, Dave wrote and illustrated Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash, a graphic novel and accompanying performance work. Dave transferred the book to a series of projections, wrote an hour’s worth of orchestral music and songs, and performed the resulting piece at the Somme Memorial in Amiens, and, after several festival performances, at the opening of Tate Britain’s Paul Nash retrospective in 2016.

Tickets £5, donations bar. Please book in advance at: assist@ryecreativecentre.co.uk


Resonance and Wonder

Painting and Songs

Paula MacArthur & Tine Louise Kortermand


Paula MacArthur first met Danish artist, Tine Louise Kortermand when they shared an exhibition space in Bushwick, Brooklyn in 2016. The resonance of objects connects these two artists.
In Brooklyn, Tine created her Resound songs on the spot in response to problems and worries that visitors shared with her; using an object – a toy camera, a xylophone & even hair – offered by each participant as a starting point to create sound and act as inspiration for each song. The tongue in cheek idea was that each song would provide some kind of magical solution or relief to these problems in a kind of pseudo therapeutic way.

Paula offered Tine a pencil & shared a current concern, put on the turquoise headphones, closed her eyes, listened to Tine’s haunting voice and felt an extraordinary, physical response which for her highlights the potential power and intimacy of objects. Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is an experience characterised by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine.  ASMR signifies the subjective experience of ‘low-grade euphoria’ characterised by a combination of positive feelings, and a distinct static-like tingling sensation on the skin. It is most commonly triggered by specific acoustic, visual and digital media stimuli, and less commonly by intentional & ‘attentional’ control.
Paula selects the objects she paints for the personal resonance they have. These objects, which she uses as the starting point for her paintings, are often found in museums. As such, they are already loaded with the ‘Resonance and wonder’ (Resonance and wonder, Stephen Greenblatt, 2009) bestowed upon them by the original maker, the museum curator and by their perceived financial, historical and aesthetic value. Sometimes objects are found closer to home & included in this exhibition are paintings inspired by objects found in the Rijksmuseum alongside works based on the headboard of her carved wooden bed. For Paula, these objects resonate on a deep personal level, yet communicate universally, they trigger memories and emotional responses relating intimate relationships from childhood to the present day. She sees them as contemporary ‘momento-mori’; artworks designed to remind the viewer of their mortality and of the shortness and fragility of human life. These are details of objects of significance, loaded with history, value & power. Enlarged, an arabesque detail becomes a surging monolithic growth, which is recognisable but unnameable. Tiny, exquisite details are enlarged, edited & the form described in dissolving paint; beauty and riches become slippery things as the surface becomes both seductive and repellent. The illusion becomes paint; it both defines and denies the subject and these objects of desire decay in front of our eyes.
The gestures and trails of running paint are however, from a distance, invisible and Paula’s paintings appear quite photographic. The subject dissolves as the viewer approaches to take a closer look and the focus moves from the subject, to the materiality of the painting process. MacArthur works to replicate the form with both viscous and diluted colour, by allowing it to slip and merge the painterly forms become as mutable as the contradictory responses the subjects trigger.

Related Events:

Drawing with Oils workshop 27th May 2017, 11am-1pm
Sign up for an exciting workshop with Paula MacArthur in the Gallery.  Paula will showcase a technique which, traditionally, is the basis of traditional oil paintings but is beautiful in its own right and offers plenty of scope for participants to experiment in inspiring surroundings. Participants can also bring along a picnic to enjoy in our garden.
Cost: £15 including all materials.
To book please email assist@ryecreativecentre.co.uk

Artist in Conversation 3rd June 2017, 2.30pm
Closing Event – Paula MacArthur and Anna McNay In Conversation
Join us for an informal discussion between the artist and arts writer Anna McNay.
Anna McNay is an arts writer and curator with a background in linguistics. Most recently she has been assistant editor for Art Quarterly (ArtFund) and writer for online arts journal Studio International as well as Arts Editor for DIVA magazine. She has been a contributor to a-n interface, Elephant, the Mail on Sunday, the Guardian and many other publications.
Read her blog here.




The crucifixion and other popular stories

Luke Hannam & Paco de Quesada

Refreshments provided, free parking, everyone welcome

Exhibition continues until 6 May
Open Wednesday – Saturday 11am – 3pm and by appointment









The crucifixion and other popular stories is a two person show featuring new work by two East Sussex painters, Luke Hannam and Paco de Quesada.

The exhibition title was conceived by Luke and Paco over coffee at the De La Warr Pavilion last year. It represents a shared fascination with story telling within picture making and a desire to explore the role that myth and archetype have played historically in conveying the human condition.

In this sense, the aim for the show is to attempt to re-contextualise so-called ‘untouchable’ religious themes in order to reposition them as distinctly human stories to be read and interpreted as such. The idea is in no way to denigrate such powerful symbols, but to reignite them as potent symbolic narratives for a contemporary audience, as pictures of despair and also of love and hope.

Luke Hannam relocated from London to Rye in 2010 with the sole aim of developing his painting practice alongside his musical career as the bass player in cult, punk funk band GRAMME. Hannam cites his influences as lying equally between The Fall, James White & the Contortions and Picasso. For Hannam, art making is an attitude and cannot be contained by mediums.

Luke graduated from Canterbury College of Art in 1987 and attributes this experience as fundamental in the development of his life-long obsession with drawing. Hannam produces over 100 drawings a week. Religious imagery and fairy stories such as Hansel and Gretel and Goldilocks are recurring themes, alongside many drawings of the East Sussex countryside, which he makes whilst walking his poodle Darwin.  For Hannam, the everyday experience sits next to the profound and must be investigated with equal importance.

Paco de Quesada is a Spanish artist living and working in Bexhill. Since completing his BA Fine Art at the Universidad de Sevilla in 1998, he has exhibited in group and solo shows across Spain, UK and Germany.

For Paco de Quesada art must be a personal challenge; must take you out of your comfort zone, to the edge, where fear lives. His large-scale, graphic paintings are influenced by his work as a graphic designer and reflect his interest in the immediacy and simplicity of commercial art. Graffiti and outsider art also resonate, particularly the street art of his native Seville.

For this exhibition Paco brings religious iconography face-to-face with contemporary culture with all its flashy imagery and infinite clichés, acting as a mirror held up to our lives, our society, and our very human nature.

















ECHOES opens Saturday 25 March, 2 – 5pm
Come along to view our new exhibition and meet the artists.
Refreshments, free entry, free parking, everyone welcome.

Exhibition continues until 1 April
Open Wednesday – Saturday 12 – 4pm and by appointment

Echoes brings together work by one of Rye Creative Centre’s resident artists; Helen Rawlinson and invited artist, Yvette Glaze.
Helen captures a moment of reverie with echoes of emotion and memory in her paintings.
Yvette uses print and ceramics with layers of decorative texture to capture the echoes of emotional history trapped in objects.
Find out more about the artists here;
Yvette Glaze
Helen Rawlinson

Rye Creative Centre
New Road, Rye, East Sussex TN31 7LS
01797 229797

















Bea Haines & Beverley Thornley

An exhibition which brings together work by one of our resident artists, Beverley Thornley, and invited artist Bea Haines. Both explore the use of everyday matter; Bea to gain insights into human desire, fear and mortality, Beverley to convey a sense of land and place. For ‘Ground Matter’, Beverley is exhibiting a variety of work using pigments from chalkpits in north Kent, beaches on the Atlantic coast of France and journeys in Australia and New Zealand. Bea is exhibiting a series of animal ash prints, created on the electronic muller in Colart’s Innovation and Development Lab, which create a diverse array of marks reminiscent of fingerprints or brain scans.

Find out more about the artists here;
Bea Haines
Beverley Thornley