Art Space in Addiscombe offers a ray of Sunrise with exhibit

KEN TOWL discovers another ray of brightness and joy in Addiscombe’s own haven of art

Discworld: somewhere in Elizabeth Knapp’s work is a record possibly by Echo and the Bunnymen

Paul Hall is a miracle worker.

With every exhibition he stages, he manages to put together an eclectic but themed collection of artworks and display them to their best advantage by cramming them into an unprepossessing terrace at 41 Addiscombe Road, the home of his micro-gallery, Croydon Art Space.

In doing so, he is bringing a ray of sunshine into an otherwise drab part of town.

The latest exhibition, which opened this week, is grouped under the title “Sunrise” and features Glicee prints by Shiree Allen that depict sunlight shining through foliage. These inhabit a space somewhere between figurative and abstract art, the leaves rendered as geometric shapes, the light intensified as if the viewer is looking directly into filtered sunlight.

Paul greeted me at the door and told me of his search for local artists. He had been seeking out local private viewings and selecting the best of what he had found for this exhibition. “How local?” I asked.

“Crystal Palace,” he said, then “Wandsworth”. So, south of the river, anyway. Local enough. Paul was called away at this point. The opening night of “Sunrise” was getting busy. Each exhibition that Paul puts on feels busier than the last. This is not surprising, given the quality of art that Paul has curated, but it is heartening that there is space in Croydon for Croydon Art Space.

No good for soup: Martin Cade’s decorative ceramic bowls

There is always one artist who stands out at paul’s exhibitions, and for me this time it was Thornton Heath-based Elizabeth Knapp and her colourful and surreal 12-inch and seven-inch discs.

The clue to the previous lives of these artefacts is in their size. I overheard Paul explaining to a small group that these circular ornaments were once vinyl records, “One of them, I believe, by a band known as Echo And The Bunnymen.” I suspect Paul knows a lot about art, but I wouldn’t want him on my team in a music quiz.

While I admired the discs, a voice to the other side of me said, “They’re mine.”

Elizabeth Knapp told me how she had used pieces from her partner’s damaged record collection, covering them in layer after layer of resin, augmented by tin foil and stones and glitter. Inspired, she had then gone out to a second-hand shop and bought some old singles that she felt would be better off repurposed as art.

Sunrise: print by Shiree Allen

“Which artists?” I asked.

She was coy about this, did not want to offend any music lovers’ sensibilities, even if they did have bad taste. “Do you like mid-80s AOR?” she asked.

I was able to confirm that I don’t like classic adult-orientated rock, and we left it there. Perhaps behind the colourful circles lie records by the likes of REO Speedwagon, Foreigner and Toto.

Honourable mentions should go to Jenny MacDonald and her beautiful sketches of Grade II-listed Russell Square Tube Station that capture its turquoise tiling and sinuous, perspective-distorting corridors, and to Martin Cade’s decorative but hardly practical ceramics. They all have symmetrical shapes cut out of them creating a lattice effect.

The blurb next to them emphasises helpfully that “they are not, as someone suggested, rather ineffective soup bowls”.

“Sunrise” is on until April 18 and is worth a visit to see and engage with works by these and other emerging and established and relatively local artists.

Go on, treat yourself to a bit of sunlight.

You can get free tickets through Eventbrite here.

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Addiscombe East, Addiscombe West, Art, Croydon Art Space, Ken Towl and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply