Kitty Oakley - Acting Suspiciously
I grew up in a large and chaotic family, aware we were noisy and wayward, and troubling to our neighbours. We laughed a lot, even when frightened or heartbroken. Life was dramatic, and complicated, with a shifting assortment of characters bringing new stories, laughter, and danger. I learned to watch the people around me very carefully.
TV programmes gave me an escape to different worlds, where it was easy to work out who was good, and who was bad, and where justice was done in the end. Now, in mature adulthood, when times get tricky, I enjoy watching repeats of ‘Columbo’ and ‘Murder, She Wrote’. Death, murder, greed and betrayal are treated with a light hand, grief is fleeting, and retribution is cheery. I feel uneasily comforted by this.
Inspired by these TV detective shows, this series of paintings explores my complicated reactions to some of the female characters, and how they are used, in an overblown way, to create drama and intrigue.
Kitty is an illustrator, printmaker and book artist. She first studied fine art at Brighton University, before graduating in illustration in 2000. Later she gained the MA (Dist) in children’s book illustration at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, where she became an associate lecturer for three years. Kitty has exhibited in the UK, Europe, Korea, Japan and the USA, and have work in many private collections.
Julie Cross, ‘Figuring Fairy Tales’
We tell ourselves stories, even when we sleep. They are the raw materials of human consciousness
and basic themes are shared throughout all cultures.
My figurative works, mostly featuring semi-abstracted female forms, examine the power of story, especially narratives pertaining to fate, creation and death, in fairy tales, classical mythology and children’s literature in particular. Remnants of these stories are combined with my childhood memories to produce intriguing, new visual narratives, which also capitalise on my doctorate in Children’s Literature.
As well as a PhD in Children’s Literature from the National Centre for Research in Children’s
Literature in Roehampton, London, Julie has an MA in Childhood Studies from Leeds University and
is currently studying for an MA in History of Art at York University. She is also a published academic
author and has studied widely in her art practice, including, most recently, at Newlyn School of Art,
Julie’s work has been exhibited nationally and also internationally, and she exhibits regularly in selected exhibitions at the Mall Galleries, London; most notably in the ING Discerning Eye exhibitions. Other exhibitions of note include the National Open Art competition (shortlisted, 2015), The People’s Show, Northumbria University (2016), Harrogate Open (2017) and the ‘Raw/Rich’ show at PZ Gallery, Penzance in November 2017.