Maggie Cullen's miniature paper figures stand on plinths gazing silently into worlds unseen as though contemplating the words of W H Auden and the other poets that enclose their private space. Some clothed, some nude and some wearing the most extraordinary headgear, they attracted many positive comments and invited closer study.
The artist Michael Shaw displayed his oversized 'rubber rings' to reveal shape where there is only air, challenging the audience to consider form and substance in the space between the substance. Mike said, "I use the second and fourth dimensions to reveal the third." Okay.
Also utilising space as essential to recognising form is the Vicker's Art Award recipient 2007-08, artist Natalie Dowse. Her work reveals the sense of confusion and isolation one has when encountering a new place and was based on Derbyshire and the inhabitants of the city of Derby. Constellation (above) is made up of 54 separate portraits painted from photographs of random people taken while still a newcomer to the region. Natalie's drawings, paintings and animations formed an excellent counterpoint to the installation work of the other artists at the exhibition. Previously exhibited at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery the work will soon move to Buxton and other locations further afield.
The festival runs for a couple weeks and there are still performances to come .. so try to get out to the town (yes, I've been told - it's a town and not a village .. oops!) and see what's on and what's happening throughout the many venues.