THE Solar Gallery at Ilkley’s Manor House springs back to life on Saturday (February 1) with a new exhibition entitled “Awakening”.

The building has been closed during January but will open on weekend afternoons during February, from 1pm to 4pm.

The new exhibition brings a boost to gloomy winter days with local artists responding in their own way to the word “awakening”. For some it means looking forward to spring, to rebirth and regeneration, to celebrating a new

year and a new decade.

To celebrate the idea, the Manor House Gallery space will be hung with cascades of yellow and white hand-made tissue spring flowers, and the work on show will include paintings and prints, sculptures, ceramics, textiles

and jewellery.

“Awakening” has inspired a different response from other artists, creating a diverse and unpredictable exhibition. Mark Butler has interpreted the theme

as an awakening interest in science and microscopy and aims to pass on the wonder of the unseen through his sculptures.

Pippa Hamilton, whose mixed media approach includes an interpretation of lichen in its natural environment, created using textiles, wants to gently remind us of our relationships with nature.

“We cannot exist outside the biosphere,” she says.

By incorporating images of lichen - which exist due to their mutual symbiotic relationship between fungi and algae species, Pippa is suggesting a good human goal.

The Yorkshire landscape has inspired other artists. Laura Dawes loves to start the day with a walk on Ilkley Moor and then challenges herself to capture those moments in paint. She finds the ever-changing appearance of

the landscape with the varying seasons and weather, gives her a sense of freedom and awe and the urge to venture out into nature. “It awakens my soul”, she says.

Catherine Slater makes landscapes from fibres and threads of places she has walked as a way to revisit that scene at any time.

And Lucia Smith is also inspired by the light and colour of the Dales, and through her paintings encourages others to go and explore for themselves - “to find their own awakenings”.

Linda Dewart interprets “awakening” as literally waking up and seeing the richness of life and culture in other countries. She makes abstracted images of dilapidated facades from India for her small oil paintings which are meant to be small jewel-like reminders of joy, diversity and colour.

There are more than 30 artists making up the Solar Gallery, many of them taking part in this latest exhibition. It will run until April 26 and in March and April the Manor House opening times are longer, from 11am to 4pm each weekend.

The historic Manor House lies between Ilkley town centre and the Riverside Garden, in Castle Yard, LS29 9DT. It is the heart of an ambitious project to make a quarter for leisure, learning and heritage in the town.

Every purchase from the Solar Gallery not only supports the artist who creates the work but 20 per cent goes to the Manor House Registered Charity to help keep the house open for the public and community groups.

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