Art - Chalk Gallery

Ben Whitehead, the latest featured artist in the Chalk Gallery, is so eclectic you could be forgiven for thinking that five different people worked on the bit of wall he’s been assigned. He’s not sure whether this is a strength or a weakness. “One day I’ll do a landscape, the next a print, the next an abstract experimentation,” he tells me, on the phone. He feels that at college the tutors tried to push him into his own personal style, and he rebelled. The thing is, pretty much everything he does is good. There’s an impressionistic landscape of Newhaven Harbour, some stunning photographs of Balcombe Viaduct (which we’ve featured in this webmag recently), a thickly painted oil of Lewes Castle, several semi-abstract prints with typography laid over, and a life-size 3-d clenched fist in a wooden box covered with canvas. “One day I’ll find a single style,” he says. “But I’m a long way away yet.”

The rest of the current exhibition, called ‘Heat’, is strong, too. There are some blocky, Cubist-influenced figures by Peter Cheeks, a series of Newhaven fishing boats by Krysia Drury, a striking and rather spooky bust called Birdwoman by Michele Findlay and, Whitehead’s favourite, a black-and-white print of a lizard’s tail by Joelle Robinson. To finish off my conversation with the artist I ask him what he’s up to at the moment. “I’m painting the inside of my shed red,” he says. I don’t ask him if this is an artwork, or simply a paint job, but I do wonder. AL

Our friend eclectic Ben Whitehead’s ‘Lewes Castle’
The Chalk Gallery, North St, Lewes
When? Open 10am-5pm daily
How Much? Free entry.
Chalk Gallery
(t) 01273 474477
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