Along St Augustine’s Street in Norwich, you will find a collection of gallery spaces that are part of Nunns Yard. These include Nunns Yard itself, Yallops and Thirteen A. They offer small unconventional spaces to exhibit contemporary art work, including a smaller hire fee of £10 per day for students.
During a recent visit to Norwich, I spent some time at Yallops Gallery and saw the private view of Matthew Dickerson’s fine art illustration work. He is known more for digital illustration and concept art, yet this exhibition featured nine framed original hand-painted ink pieces on A3 paper. These were on sale for an affordable price of £150.
During the day, Dickerson – or Dicko – could be seen crafting smaller monochrome ink sketches. These were available for £40 and included individual portraits, characters, animals, and creatures. Those on the walls varied from abstract patterns to narrative pieces, filling every corner of the page. Each had an individual colour scheme, and were clearly made to be aesthetically pleasing rather than have any particular concept.
One of the earlier creations is mainly in black ink, with touches of yellow and blue. It depicts plant-life like ivy, taking over in a multitude of layers, even with one fang-like aspect perhaps alluding to a Venus Fly-trap. Although it is mainly later pieces that include more narrative elements, with pieces such as Nature’s Barrier, there is a kind of theme that emerges as colours become more chaotic, as millions of cartoon-like faces overlap and fish and unidentifiable creatures are trapped behind leaves and branches.
a universal message of hope runs through the exhibition, a story of triumphing against the odds.
It is with some of my favourite pieces that these thematic links grow stronger and a story unravels. Through the Storm is one of the more literally symbolic pieces and shows three ducks on rough waters, the use of ink being a perfect medium for watery scenes. Under the Sea uses block colours and creates an effect that is almost like felt-tip pen. The creatures here are submerged in water, yet they offer a kind of “Mona Lisa Smile” as one may question – is there a kind of blissful ignorance in the closed eyes, or do they capture the definition of happiness?
Lastly, in The Sun Above the Shadows (pictured above) green rat-like creatures are squashed by yellow hands. In one corner, three figures stand almost as one, with linked arms suggesting support. The sun glows brighter in front of them, the figures facing towards the sun. On one hand, these pieces contain complex compositions, inviting you to be surprising by these detailed aspects. On the other hand, once you look deeper, it is easy to interpret such messages – a universal message of hope runs through the exhibition, a story of triumphing against the odds.
You can follow Matthew Dickerson on various social media platforms, as well as his website.
Featured image © Carmina Masoliver