First weekend June 2023 – Open Studios Gaucín

A wonderful art and village walk

We had planned to be up in Gaucín to visit all 22 artists in one day – but life jumped into the way. So time was short. The decision is taken: next weekend we will be in Gaucín again. From 2nd to 4th of June the beautiful Open Studios of Gaucín will receive art lovers between 11 am and 6 pm. Stay tuned.

The Open Studios can look back on a tradition of more than 20 years. Gaucín, an artist village, attracts a lot of visitors and true art lovers from near and far. It’s about 10 years that I came the first time. Since then the Open Studios Gaucín are one of my greatest art delights in Andalucía. I am always looking forward to these set weekends – end of May and beginning of June – and can’t wait to drive up through the wonderful landscape and into the enchanting village.

On our visit on Friday we followed the artist map and started in the Huerta – A rugged, industrial-style building houses a collective of diverse artists. This place and its artists hold great significance to me, as I had the privilege of being an invited artist and exhibiting my work here several years ago.

The walk

Nr.1 of the map leads you to the artist Sian Faber and her husband Guy – an Australian/ New Zeeland couple – who regularly spend some time in Gaucín. Sian has specialist on “Short Cuts” , as she calls her works, three dimensional permanent installations/paintings that reflect the light and her experiences. This year she bedded some of her creations into sand from the Andalusian cost and presents the first time her three dimensional objects.

In studio No. 2 we meet Christine Spencer-Green in her freshly painted spacious studio. A great number of women portraits decorate her walls. Many of them in her – as I feel – typically style, which leaves a lot of hints and invites you to dream a little further. Luckily, I also discover two of her cat portraits that immediately appeal to me as a self-confessed cat lover. Maybe one of them will come to my house? Obviously now a dog plays a greater role in her life.

Her neighbour, Chris Klees in No. 3 is mainly focused on ceramics. You find a large kiln in his studio and a collection of mysterious ingredients for the creations. We got some interesting explanation – sorry, not able to repeat here – for some delicious pieces of his collection. I very much liked a flat porcelain work with beautifully shimmering colours hanging on the wall, pressed flat in a kind of big pasta machine. Another figure done in a Japanese technique caught my special attention. My husband was more fascinated by a practical object – a vase that allows at the same time to put in a real bouquet of flowers and various individual flowers on their stem.

Opposite we find Silvia Franco in Studio No. 4. I remember her assembly of “magic sticks”, carved wood sticks with an ethnic appeal. This years she presents a new surprise: many Japanese influenced collages. These collages seamlessly merge vintage Japanese pattern paper with a medley of materials discovered from various sources. They evoke a sense of nostalgia akin to the works of Braque and Picasso during the era of Synthetic Cubism, while also transporting me to the enchanting realm of the Far East. However, the photographs fail to capture the full essence of these cherished objects, as they are encased behind glass.

The walk down to the village centre brings us to the completely renovated Centro Cultural el Convento. This enormous very impressive building hosts 8 artists. We don’t manage to visits all of them. The gigantic entrance hall is overly impressive through its space and incredible heights. Four artists are exhibiting in this enormous hall. The hall is incredible huge, the artists an their work get a bit lost or at least look a bit lost.

We visit Ira Goldberg (No. 5), who presents a series of sea landscape and views from Gaucín to the sea, painted in a classical landscape style. Right at the entrance we find the colourful and very realistic fruity still life by Lesley Riddihough (No 5) . Of course my eye was especially attracted by 4 cats (and the dog outside).

Ira Goldberg….I call it : Journey to the sea (30 seconds)

Lesley Riddihought No.5

Up the stairs that overcome the enormous height of the hall (there is a lift as well) you find 4 invited guest artists. I particularly attracted by the works of two female artists, Eva – Lotta Axelsson (No 6) and Fernanda Carregado ( also No 6).

Eva Lotta’s works wins me easily by the vivid colours they present. Eva Lotta, a Swedish artist, has developed a series of the fisher boats she finds near her holiday home in Manilva. She managed beautifully a mixture of figurative details which dissolve in the abstract and or also appear. Thus she captures the atmospheric vibes of the coast and the sent of the fishing boats leaving room for the phantasies and memories of the viewer.

On the opposite side of the building we find Saint Pedro de Alcantara based Fernanda Carregado
( also No 6) an enthralling surprise awaits visitors. Fernanda has transformed the space into a captivating and poetic installation that engrosses our senses. The entire room is ingeniously utilized to capture our undivided attention. A series of striking black and white photos crafted by Bianca de Vilar Mikoljczak are flanking the impressive installation at the walls. All of Fernanda’s works are made of natural materials and accompanied in the installation by some found objects and materials from nature.

After departing from the awe-inspiring heights of the Convento, we find ourselves drawn to a mysteriously enchanting hidden abode—the studio of Jenny Collins (No 7), opening her studio doors the second time in Gaucín. I love the path that leads to her little treasure art island. We share the love for colourful abstracts. I was specially attracted in her studio by a rather realistic and “clean” sea landscape.

Just beyond the narrow passageway leading to Jennifer’s house, lies Jim Rattenbury’s (No 8)captivating studio. Initially concealed behind a curtain, the visitor has to dare to open the secret place. Behind the curtain unveils itself as a gateway to his enchanting realm of peculiar sculptures crafted from discarded items. I take immense pleasure in constantly stumbling upon novel artworks or rediscovering familiar pieces, all meticulously arranged in a stunning display. It feels akin to delving into a treasure trove, brimming with delightful surprises.

We are pretty tired by now and our energy and feet only allow a short visit at Catherine Hunters Studio (No 9) Again a contrast in theme and atmosphere: We are welcomed by a collection of friendly, rural and mostly cheerful ceramic figures for which the villagers may have stood, mentally or in reality? Not only interesting ceramic figures populate the studio, colourful guests also contribute to the overall impression.

We are happy that we made it this far and grateful for a wonderful afternoon, the drink and a seat to rest. Can`t wait to see more next week! Keep your fingers crossed for beautiful weather and stay tuned!

Find information on!

Read more about former events of the Open Studios Gaucín!

Get information about Gerrit Oppelland-Hampel Art here.

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