Photo Credit : Julian Lister

At an opening event for the Tell Her Story exhibition in November 2016 I was invited by Sarah Cooney (who had a couple of paintings within that exhibition) and Phil Gatenby to discuss their interest in developing an exhibition focused on painting.  On first impression it sounded like a great idea, an exploration of painting now felt timely.  Sarah, Phil and I met with Vicky Holbrough from Navigator North shortly afterwards to discuss the development of this proposal.  Phil and Sarah, with support from Vicky, developed a fantastic proposal, which secured support from Arts Council England through Grants for the Arts and Darlington Borough Council.   It’s been a privilege to work with creative and determined people who’ve committed their energy, time, enthusiasm, experience and expertise to develop and share this project in Crown Street Library.   


Less than 12 months later I’d estimate we welcomed somewhere between 50 and 70 visitors to the gallery on the evening of Friday 13 October 2017 for the exhibition opening event.  The exhibition includes work by Sarah Cooney, Deb Covell, Gordon Dalton, Philip Gatenby, Remy Neumann and Alicia Paz.   Conversations in Painting proved an apt title that evening given the degree of discourse and the time people spent exploring the exhibition.  One of the artists, Remy had travelled from the Netherlands for the install and opening and it was nice to see people who had travelled down from Tyneside, from across Tees Valley and from further afield enjoying the event.   


Having been to the gallery following the opening I’ve been struck by how subtly and confidently those involved in developing and curating this exhibition have explored the character, substance and language of painting. In my view the exhibition allows space for the nuances and character of each artists work  to be appreciated, while showing the work of six different artists side by side also encouraged me to think about the distinctive characteristics of painting now.  It’s difficult in words to communicate the joy of colours, marks, how the substance of paint differs, how different artists have engaged with time and content and developed their individual practice.  If you can make it down you can enjoy each artists work and the rhythm and  interplay between their pieces when brought together.


Conversations in Painting have planned a number of panel discussions around painting. Their first will take place at Crown Street Gallery.

Conversations in Painting: politics, practice and pedagogy starting 6pm on Thursday 2 November 2017 at Crown Street Library.  Panel speakers are Kerry Harker (Chair and Independent Curator), Stephen Snoddy (Director, The New Art Gallery Walsall), Tony Charles (Artist and Director, Platform A Gallery, Middlesbrough), Alicia Paz (Artist) and Gordon Dalton. 

More at 

All welcome, booking not required, why not join the conversation.

If you have any proposals for exhibitions please get in touch.

Stephen Wiper, Creative Darlington Manager