YOU'LL FEST 2016 - Art Systems Wickham Annual Christmas Show

You'll Fest, this years Christmas Show, is the first time I've been to Art Systems Wickham. The show was mostly predominantly 2D, things you'd hang on your walls, and quite proudly too, I would think. To say they were mostly 2D is not to say they were all the same - far from it.

There were works of many styles, media and genre present, and, happily on the opening night not a small number of them had sold, making for a more pleasant Christmas for artists and buyers alike.

Bad Bikini Babe, Ellie Kaufman, acrylic on board

Although I am new to the art scene in Newcastle a number of artists were familiar enough tome for me to recognise - for example Braddon Snape's inflated steel sculpture and Ellie Kaufman's often defiant, provocative women. One of the latter, included above, was used and the signature image on ASW website's post for this show.

The range of styles to be seen included Carla Priivald's distinctive, dark studies of Newcastle Harbour, which, unlike some works, were not immediately recognisable as local places. Many works were of places familiar to Newcastle dwellers, as in Kerry Coles' Early Morning Caves Beach, while others such as Dan Nelson's Low Tide and Christine Ross' Mount View pieces were, in different ways, about feeling and form more than figure. All were more than worth seeing.

One of the challenges about such a mixed show is being able to get around and see all the different pieces, and types of work. There were a lot of offerings and it took a little work and revisiting to see all the different offerings, especially with the crowd of the opening blocking off different sections as the people came and went. Even if you go at a quieter time, it will pay to take some extra time to make wure you look in all the corners of the space - things like Jane Collins' drypoint works and Catherine Kavanagh Di Gravio's cubist, psychedelic scenes are worth looking for.

The variety of works and range of subjects, quite besides the skill on display, make this show worth catching. It's on till Christmas Eve.

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