Tales of the Silk Road – an Exhibition Review

Local Artist’s Show at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

I went to see a great exhibition at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield a couple of weeks ago : Nomadic tales by Richard Bartle .

We were so delighted to be able to walk round with Richard himself as he told us the fascinating stories behind his huge paintings on canvas material , just like banners . Richard took inspiration from the medieval illustrations of a 14th century artist and storyteller Siyah Kalem who used the motifs of men and demons to comment on the everyday life of the nomadic tribes who lived on and around the Silk Road in Asia .

Richard lives part of the year in Istanbul , Turkey and he has put his own interpretation of the life and political turmoil of the area into his story pictures .

Its a really inspiring show – try and catch it if you are in the area but only if you enjoyed my exhibition review !

I do enjoy painting story pictures myself and , funnily enough , I painted the story of how the secret of making silk was smuggled out of China by a Chinese princess . She hid the silkworms and cocoons in her huge headdress , according to the legend . ( See more Story Pictures in my Gallery )

My Story Pictures

A Chinese princess in medieval dress showing us the silkworm she has smuggled out of the country . She's standing on the Silk Road .
The Silk Princess – Acrylic on Canvas

This is a romantic version of history , of course . But I am also drawn to putting social comment into my pictures , particularly highlighting the problems of women in our modern world .

The Caged Bird

This one ‘ Caged Bird ‘ was painted for the exhibition ‘Vote 100 – a Century of Change ‘ for the Cooper Gallery ,Barnsley http://www.cooper-gallery.com last year all about the suffragettes and their struggles to get the vote .

Woman at the Window

In this painting , ‘ Woman at the Window ‘ , I explored the idea of the restricted lives that some women lead . I followed this theme over quite a few paintings and sort of brought it to a conclusion with this last one ‘ Women in Chaos ‘ in which I tried to show someone trying to deal with all the pressures and problems modern life can throw at us .

Woman in Chaos

Perhaps this is pretty heavy stuff – I suppose it is . But I like all kinds of art – including the kind that really makes you think

2 Replies to “Tales of the Silk Road – an Exhibition Review”

    1. Thanks so much .I’m like you – I enjoy the serious side of art .I always respond to that kind of challenge . Btw , the Woman in the Window was painted over an unsuccessful abstract experiment – she just appeared !

Let me know what you think !