A KENDAL art gallery which is rapidly gaining a national reputation since being set up in 2018 is preparing for a major new exhibition.

Cross Lane Projects curator John Stephens has brought together four artists for the exhibition of contemporary sculpture.

Artists Maxine Bristow, Anna Fairchild, Sian-Kate Mooney and sculptor Mark Woods will be showing their work from March 21.

The Cross Lane Projects gallery, housed in a converted Mint Cake factory in central Kendal, was founded in 2018 by artist Rebecca Scott and Mark Woods, and has already proved a big success, attracting people from all over the country.

“Rebecca Scott’s family have lived in Cumbria for a couple of generations,” said Mr Stephens. “They have the Mark Tanner sculpture prize which is awarded annually, but they wanted to establish a cultural centre in the Lake District independent of the family.

“They bought a building which they have converted into a studio and a gallery, and since 2018 they have staged exhibits there. It is

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not a commercial venture. It is because they have got cultural ambition.”

The gallery has already run a number of exhibitions which have proved very popular with the public, said Mr Stephens.

“There is a wide network of artists who are largely London based, but they were keen to get some of that energy further up in the north west. They have run exhibitions there with a national and international flavour.

“Last year they had an exhibition called Miniscule, with 180 artists showing work that was no bigger than a matchstick.

“People have come up from London to see our exhibitions, booked B&Bs and made a stay out of it. For the Miniscule exhibition in March, it was difficult to get a B&B.”

The exhibition which starts in March - called Made With.... - is concerned with materials. The artists’ use of materials reflects their interests in social issues and issues of culture, gender and sexual politics, psychoanalytics, psychogeography and semiotics.

Mr Stephens, who was previously a director and curator at the Castlefield Gallery in Manchester, has selected artists whose work draws attention to the materiality of the things they work with.

“As an artist myself I am really interested in artists who use materials that speak for the content of the work itself. That is why I was interested in bringing these artists together,” he said.

The four artists who have been brought together for the new exhibition have never exhibited collectively before.

Maxine Bristow is based in the north west and has a background in textiles. Her expanded artistic practice takes the form of wall- and floor-based objects, sculpture and installation.

She has exhibited nationally and internationally and is represented in the permanent collections of the Crafts Council, London; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; and Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery. She was selected for The Jerwood Textiles Prize in 2002, and in 2008 was one of the nominated artists for the Northern Arts Prize.

Anna Fairchild works with sculpture, film and photography. The material processes she uses enable a mapping of traces of unseen places, giving form to fragments of images, memories and experience.

Her solo exhibitions include; Mill Flow, 2019, Mill Green Museum, Hatfield UK; The Fluid and the Fixed, 2019, University of East London; Virtual Shift, 2018, Luton Culture/Arts Council England, The Storefront, Luton Bedfordshire.

Sian-Kate Mooney has a background in fashion and textiles. She has used recycled fabrics and fashion items, latex, building materials, self-fabricated soap, felt, and combinations of these.

Recent exhibitions include Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (2015), London; Fall of the Rebel Angels (2015), Venice, Italy; Pravac Sila (2014) Ozone Gallery, Belgrade, Serbia, Directional Forces 4 (2014) Artoll, Bedburg-Hau, Germany; Vroom (2014) London; Chinese Open (2014) Q-Park, Soho, London; Colony 55, Sale Docks (2013), Venice, Italy and Directional Forces 2 (2013) Artoll, Bedburg-Hau, Germany, for which she was also co-curator.

Mark Woods uses a range of materials that include epoxy resins, silk, leather and faux materials to create ‘transgressive’ objects. They have been described as laying bare a fascination with the “fraudulent simulation phenomena of a society increasingly obsessed with glamour and pornography”.

His previous solo exhibitions include Lubomirov/Angus Hughes Gallery, London (2017); Saturnia, Brussels, Belgium (2012) and The Wapping Project, London (2010). Group exhibitions include Holburne Museum, Bath, England and international presentations in Italy, Israel, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the USA in 2017 to 2019.

Mr Stephens added that the gallery is looking to expand its already growing reputation. “We are trying to create links with Carlisle, Preston and Manchester, and get people into town from further afield.”

The new exhibition runs from March 21 to May 9, Wednesday to Saturday, 12noon to 5pm. There is an opening preview on Friday, March 20, from 6-8pm.

And there will be a seminar and discussion with talks by the artists and the curator on the theme of The Material Object on Saturday, April 18.