Wednesday, 4 May 2011

'Smile' Exhibition: Harley Gallery

'Thirteen makers have been specially selected to explore that simple and emotive word, smile, through their quirky work which captures the very British love of everyday humour.
From Lindsey Mann’s ‘apparatus for the promotion of cheeriness’ to Freddie Robins’ wool ball sheep; you will find plenty in this exhibition to make you chuckle. ‘Smile’ manages to capture many of the different emotions behind a smile, from those pieces that make you laugh out loud, to the giggly enjoyment in Eleanor Glover’s wooden letters, and the nostalgic warmth of Julie Arkell’s playful figures.'

I escaped for an afternoon. Had heard whispers of this exhibition. And really needed to see some artwork, the Easter holidays were nearly over and I just needed to see something. The exhibition was magical, a little bit like an elastoplast on all the broken bits of my grown-up heart. I gasped a lot. And did the jiggly dance. A lot. The artworks touched on something deep, deep inside my soul. Not quite taking me back to childhood, but tapping into some sort of enchantment valve. A fleeting feeling of comfort. It was the works of Julie Arkell and Lucy Casson that affected me the most. Paper-mache oddly shaped figures wearing mis-shapen knitted garments, little tiny creatures hiding in the furniture. It was perfect. A little bit of escapism before the harsh reality of returning to the real world.


  1. These pieces make it very easy to smile or laugh out loud. Enchanting!

  2. Found you via the lovely 'inspired by felix'.
    Thank you for sharing these wonderful images. I just adore Julie Arkell's work, she's so talented. And thank you for introducing me to Lucy Casson's creations.
    Have a nice day x

  3. Kathryn
    Thank you for posting this. The artists have achieved their goal. I would defy anyone to look at these and not smile. They are so entertaining…

  4. What a wonderful and whimsical exhibit!

  5. How wonderfully quirky. I can imagine it must have been such an exciting you'd stepped into a different world.

  6. They're all so lovely! x

  7. So cute!!! I loved the little sheep... seems like a great escapade...

  8. Strange we have both written about this exhibition on the same day! Lovely to see your photos, I didn't get a chance to take any. The whole exhibition has an incredible 'well being' effect on visitors, you come out filled with child-like joy - and we had fun filling in the mnemonic sheets upstairs!

  9. Wasn't it a brilliant exhibition, so many exciting things! I treated myself to my first piece of JA and can't wait to bring it home. Your photos are fantastic.
    Sally x


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