Guildford Arts Summer Exhibition

The Mill Studio, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, 5 – 20 July 2023

Mon-Sat 10am – 5.30pm, with some late-night opening

Admission Free – All Works for Sale

The annual Guildford Arts Summer Exhibition returns to the historic and peaceful riverside setting of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre’s Mill Studio, in the heart of the town.  23 local and national artists have been invited to show their creativity and expertise in glass, ceramics, sculpture, paintings, drawings, prints and photography.   The Exhibition will be opened at the Private View by the actress Bronagh Waugh, a supporter of the Exhibition.  All the artworks on display are for sale.

Qualities of light, layers, colour, form and energy flow throughout the Exhibition, while connections and relationships naturally emerge in this thoughtfully curated show. There is no theme to force false interpretations and no two styles or interpretations are the same; the Exhibition offers a chance to see a wide variety of techniques, up close and in detail.  The artists also help with the stewarding of the Exhibition and attend the two Meet the Artist Saturdays, providing an informal opportunity for visitors to chat to them and find out more about their inspiration, working styles and methods. Younger visitors have a fun Art Quiz or can create their own works, with art materials and prizes supplied.

This year’s sculptors defy a unifying definition as they are so diverse. Sara Dodd’s fragile linear strata of beautiful and delicate porcelain layers, contrast with the curvaceous, petrified textures of glass artist, Sigi Hill, and the inherent strength in their works are in stark differentiation to the dynamic equilibrium of Edward Willis’s ethereal, fun kinetic sculptures which await a breeze to breathe life into them. Beth Kirby’s solid natural forms with textured patina lend themselves to garden settings and juxtapose nicely with Eugenia Smit’s smaller scale clay works and the simplicity and purity of form of Georgie Gardiner’s distinctive bowls and vessels – all three using nature as decorative inspiration. Sharon Kealey’s playful and innovate perception of sculptural weave pushes boundaries to provoke our thinking about weave and textile sculptures. Sharon will be giving demonstrations of her unique techniques during the Exhibition.

The natural world has inspired several of the artists, who illuminate the beauty and reality of the natural world in their own way. The fluidity and freedom of watercolour artist Carol Whitehouse flowers juxtapose with the ‘painting with fabric’ collages of Kate Rowe where the flowers are stitched into place.  The precision and finite marks of Trevor Price’s detailed monochrome prints contrast with the strong, bold colourful marks of Zelda Eady’s mixed media prints and the sweeping strokes and gestural marks and play of light in Sara Cox’s and Colleen Conti’s very different interpretation of landscape. 

Texture and layering feature throughout many of the works, evident in the mixed media studies of Johannah Muriel, embellished with hand embroidery and the bold shapes and marks of Lina Alousta’s abstract paintings, while the digitally layered works of Claire Gill sit visually between photography and painting and the quirky and surreal is a focus of Kazilandart’s imaginative works.

The near-photographic quality of Andy Walker’s work is belied by close analysis, which reveals the thousands of coloured triangles hand drawn on an iPad as a virtual canvas, a direct contrast with the realism of Florentine Classical art employed in Marilyn Bailey’s elegant still life works, using the depth and detail of old painting techniques.

Three photographers demonstrate the diversity of style to capturing images: Carys Jones has forged a creative approach to photographing horses, highlighting their qualities and movement, with a soft, almost painterly palette.  Chris Silk’s direct street photography uses natural light to observe ordinary things and turn them into something surreal and humorous, while Marilyn Taylor’s eye for people is at the heart of her work.

Chair of the Exhibition’s Curatorial Team, Philippa Sampson-Bancroft said ‘Guildford Arts has supported and promoted professional artists with this annual Exhibition for over 25 years. The non-traditional art setting of the Mill Studio Theatre encourages people passing by to pop into a welcoming and friendly space, whereas some traditional gallery spaces are sometimes inhibiting.  There is nothing like seeing art in person, looking closely at the detail and delighting in the skill and creativity before you’.

Previous artists have commented on the professionalism of the Exhibition, how much they have enjoyed the process of exhibiting and the importance this annual event holds in the cultural life of the South East.


Publishing notes:

Artists are available for interviews if required.

More photos can be supplied.

More information, eg artists’ biographies will be available at

                                                                                                         Further information from:

                                                                                                                           Pauline Johnson


                                                                                                                              07831 485623