In 2015 Gallery Oldham acquired Saddleworth Hills, Dusk by Sheila Dewsbury. We have recently added an image of this work to Art UK. Here, art curator Rebecca Hill speaks to Sheila about her work, her motivations and where you can see her work this year.
Rebecca Hill, Gallery Oldham: Hello Sheila. You’re well known around Oldham and the North West as both an artist and through your involvement with the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts. Gallery Oldham was delighted to be able to add your painting to the art collection after 'The Oldham Open' in 2015.
Firstly, can you tell me a bit more about this painting, Saddleworth Hills, Dusk? In the distance it shows 'Pots and Pans', a landmark which is well-known locally, but may not be familiar to Art UK users from further afield.
Sheila Dewsbury: The hill on which the cenotaph sits is known locally as 'Pots and Pans' because of the shape of the rock outcrops at the summit. The site was chosen for the memorial as it can be seen for miles around Saddleworth.
RH: How long have you been painting? How did you get started, and what motivates you on a day-to-day basis?
SD: I have been painting since childhood and was influenced by my father. I am motivated on a daily basis by the practicality of working on a painting instead of waiting for inspiration. I walk every day in the landscapes which provide most of my subject matter.
RH: Do you work full-time as an artist, or do you do other work alongside it?
SD: I left full-time teaching to concentrate on painting but continue to run weekly classes for adults.
RH: Do you have a favourite place to paint? And is there anywhere you would love to paint that you haven’t yet managed?
SD: My favourite area to paint is the rugged landscape of the Pennine hills where I live.
I also find Snowdonia and the west of Ireland inspirational and like to work en plein air. I would like to spend more time in Scotland.
RH: Do you use Art UK yourself at all?
SD: I regularly use Art UK as I find it particularly useful in my work as archivist for Manchester Academy of Fine Arts.
RH: You’re the archivist for the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts, as well as being an active member of MAFA. Can you tell us a little bit about your role there?
SD: As archivist of Manchester Academy I am responsible for following up enquiries from curators and researchers, etc. about past and present members and their work. We have extensive archives which are held at Manchester Art Gallery. I find it extremely interesting and rewarding. I have written a short history of the Academy, The Story So Far: The Manchester Academy of Fine Arts from 1859 to 2003.
RH: Where will you be showing work during 2017?
SD: In 2017 I am exhibiting with MAFA at Stockport Art Gallery and the Portico Library and Gallery, Manchester. My work can be seen at the Millyard Gallery, Uppermill, Oldham and the Colin Jellicoe Gallery, Manchester.
I am preparing for a solo exhibition at Saddleworth Museum Gallery later this year.
RH: Thank you Sheila, it’s been good to talk to you and hear more about your work. I’m looking forward to seeing your work exhibited in various places later this year.
Rebecca Hill, Exhibitions and Collections Curator (Art), Gallery Oldham