London on an easel for new exhibition in Islington

Rosebery Avenue by Melissa Scott-Miller

Rosebery Avenue by Melissa Scott-Miller - Credit: Archant

A diverse group of artists from London are taking part in a new exhibition set to run until Sunday November 4 at Islington’s The Millinery Works.

Marc Gooderham's Waiting for You

Marc Gooderham's Waiting for You - Credit: Archant

The display – titled London Eye 2 – features the work of 15 contemporary illustrators, whose paintings of urban landscapes, bustling high streets, deserted tube stations and idyllic back gardens are free to view at the gallery space on Southgate Road.

The first instalment of London Eye ran in 2012, when eight artists displayed their personal take on a city that was revelling in the glamour of hosting the Olympics. Six years on, the sequel features a bumper line-up of talent including the award-winning, Islington-based Melissa Scott-Miller.

“I really like Islington and am continually inspired by it,” she says.

“You’ve got a combination of urban life with the lovely parks and gardens, and the fact that I live here and have brought up my children here also comes into it.

Eric Rimmington's Daylight Angel painting

Eric Rimmington's Daylight Angel painting - Credit: Archant

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“The paintings I will display (at London Eye 2) all mean a lot to me. My one of Rosebery Avenue is special to me as I used to have a studio on Mount Pleasant, and it was the first time I had been back since.

“I really like that area – when I was painting the street I went back around ten times, and I found the people to be so nice; a shopkeeper gave me free drinks and people kept coming up to me and saying hello.

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“One of my featured paintings is of the view from out of my window, looking out to my back garden during this summer’s heatwave. To me, that is London. It’s a domestic place where I live, and I tend to focus on these aspects – as opposed to going and painting Trafalgar Square, for example.”

Scott-Miller has been elected to bodies including the New English Arts Club and the Royal British Artists, staged one-person shows at Mark Jason Fine Art and The Grosvenor Gallery, and won a number of prizes across her illustrious career.

Nessie Ramm's Clacket Lane Posy

Nessie Ramm's Clacket Lane Posy - Credit: Archant

She arrives at The Millinery Works in award-winning form after her painting Islington Tunnel In Autumn won the Lynn Painter-Stainers’ People’s Prize in April.

London Eye 2 will also display the work of Giles Winter – a former teacher whose chosen works focus on calm, composed paintings of period homes in north London – and Sir Peter Blake, who wrote his name in to Beatles’ folklore for his work on the album cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

While The Millinery Works is first and foremost an antique furniture store, owners Brian Thompson and Derek Rothera have been hosting regular exhibitions at the venue since they relocated from Camden Passage in 1996.

The majority of artists on display have appeared in individual or group-based projects at The Millinery Works before, although some are working with the furniture shop-cum-gallery for the first time.

Curator Nic Horsey says that the line-up has been influenced by a book published by The Gentle Author called East End Vernacular, which features a collection of illustrations of east London in the 20th century.

Marc Gooderham is another of the exhibition’s featured artists.

In Dalston’s Rio and Stoke Newington’s Vogue, two of his chosen paintings are of cinemas currently – and formerly – at the heart of their communities.

Gooderham’s subjects are often run-down buildings that could do with some TLC and a lick of paint.

“I tend to warm to buildings that have a certain sadness to them, I’m drawn to ones that look a bit cinematic, quite romantic, almost in disrepair. They are an important part of our city and they command your attention.

“If there are challenging objects – for example a boarded-up shop front – it adds a bit of melancholy. There is a story behind the people that have lived there and I guess it’s the idea of forgotten London that appeals to me.

“These buildings won’t be around forever; I set out to document the East End and capture these street corners because they’re changing overnight.

“Obvious landmarks along the Thames have always been recorded, but my work is about hopefully giving a voice to some of London’s hidden gems.”

Additional eye-catching inclusions are Eric Rimmington and Nessie Ramm, an artist who can find beauty in anything; as her latest body of work focusing on flowers that grow beside Britain’s highways clearly proves.

London Eye 2 is on at The Millinery Works, Southgate Road, until Nov 4.

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