A Journey of Discovery
Painter, ceramisist, teacher, traveller. Quorn artist, Erica Middleton, uses all her experiences and sensibilities to take viewers of her work on a fascinating journey of discovery as Kevan Porter has been finding out…
Erica’s broad aim as an artist is to make work which touches people’s sensibilities. She would
like her painting and ceramics to resonate with similarly minded people on an emotional level. Her recent work falls into various styles and media.
Regarding her semi-abstract paintings, Erica’s abiding subject over recent years is the river – she and her family have lived with the Soar running at the bottom of their garden for thirty two years. Rather than setting out to depict pictorial conventions, Erica seeks to express a meld of observation and emotional response. The mode of semi-abstract has the potential to communicate on a number of levels simultaneously, for example the personalised surface qualities achieved by
Erica by making her own paint from genuine pigments.
Riverine ceramic sculptural forms evoke watery moving environments through wavering edges and transparent glazes.
Occasionally Erica’s abstract paintings are politically motivated; they follow her
various travels in Europe. Es tut mir weh (meaning ‘it hurts’, but literally: ‘it does to me hurt’) explores the former East Berlin through the metaphor of the running drip. The drips reference the great lament (all the crying associated with the Berlin Wall), dark times, familial ties (some broken, some tightly knotted), cross-references, veins – the life blood, the nervous system, anxiety, the sinister, the reaching out, the map of roads surrounding Berlin on which the captured were driven prior to interrogation, veils of darkness and the overall tangled web of truth and untruth.
Erica has travelled (and taught art history to a group of doctors for thirteen consecutive years) quite extensively within Europe. She has also travelled in and around Dubai where her daughter lived for six years.
Wherever she travels, within her handbag are a very small sketchbook and watercolours. Sketches done on-site sometimes evolve into studio paintings. Erica’s Arabic pots aim to
speak ‘desert’ – evoking something of the harsh arid landscape around Dubai with elegant Arabic calligraphic script. The texture evokes sand and scrubby desert.
Recently Erica has been experimenting making her own glazes from local materials including granite dust from Redlands Quarry and wood ash from prunings in the garden which have been burnt in the stove. “It is very satisfying to create your very own personalised glazes” she says. Erica’s symbolic still lives use small scale, old, domestic objects. Although specific to Erica’s family, they aim to address our collective past – evocations from another time which bind us together. Gold and silver leaf denote the value of generational links, enhancing these modest objects.
Erica’s working life is spent teaching art / art history. Erica taught undergraduates Art History for the Open University for fourteen years. She now teaches Painting and Drawing courses for the Worker’s Educational Association in Loughborough and organises student exhibitions. Erica also teaches practical workshops and art history seminars privately in small groups. She has exhibited in Venice, London and numerous exhibitions locally including Stamford, Leicester, Hinckley Nottingham, Derby and Loughborough. Her qualifications include a Master’s Degree in Art History at Nottingham University, B.A. (Hons) Fine Art: Painting at Loughborough University School and Certificate of Education at Reading University
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