Strength in a simple poster.
MANY older visitors to Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax, will be able to enjoy a feast of nostalgia when they view the big range of 70 posters on show in the main Crossley Gallery.
For they are the highly-skilled work of Abram Games (1914-1996), who was the official war poster artist during the days of the Second World War.
The show's title, Maximum Meaning, Minimum Means, implies how the striking posters thrived on the simplicity of their subject matter, but drove points home so effectively. Join the ATS, Use Spades not Ships - Grow Your Own Food, Your Talk May Kill Your Comrades, are just a sample of the wartime posters, but Abram's work did not end there, of course. A few years after the war, he designed the important logo poster for the 1951 Festival of Britain.
Other posters urged passengers to enjoy travel by train, and fly to and from Britain by BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation). There are posters advertising the delights of Blackpool (complete with tower and lots of sea-shells) and Jersey (with an inviting empty deck chair in the sun).
This is a most attractive and pleasing show, and you might well want to take home a small souvenir - with a good number of the posters available as postcards in the Design Shop.
Further shows in the upstairs galleries at Dean Clough tell completely different stories.
Tom Flint's heavily detailed and large prints (multi-plate etching and mixed media) give us a London Bridge panorama and Parliament Square panorama.
Looking dark and sombre, the prints are given a strong touch of morbidity by large collections of skeletons - possibly victims of the Nazis' London Blitz.
For something more colourful and inviting, Rosalind's Furniss's Carpets recall, in highly colourful style, the work that went on at Kosset Carpets in Brighouse and Crossley's carpets at Dean Clough before manufacturing ceased at the two factories. Storks are usual subjects for artists, but Olivia Brown's big oils of captive Marabou storks, which she found at Lotherdale Hall, near Leeds and Edinburgh Zoo are strong impressions which create a big impact.
Climb up the stairs to the Photography Gallery, where black and white imagery again proves its documentary power in the pictures of ships and characters on Teesside by Ian MacDonald in his Maritime Margins exhibition. The shows run through to mid-September and Dean Clough Galleries open seven days, 10am to 5pm.
. At the time of writing, Holmfirth Artweek looks like being another big success.
Treasurer Bob Riley said sales had totalled more than pounds 52,000 by Tuesday, excluding fringe shows, and this was pretty well equivalent to last year at the same time, despite the recession. But he hastened to tell visitors that there were still plenty of exhibits to view and purchase.
"We normally sell about a third of the work", he added. "We are very pleased with the way things are going so far". He said that the work of special exhibition sculptor Brendon Hesmondhalgh had drawn much favourable comment, and there had been quite a few sales of his engaging animal pieces.
Artweek director Mick Kirkby Geddes said everyone seemed pleased with the quality of the show.
This time, there are 279 exhibitors from West Yorkshire, of which 113 are from Huddersfield and district. There are 53 artists from South Yorkshire, 50 from the North West, 16 from Derbyshire and the Midlands and 11 from North and East Yorkshire.
The show opens until 9pm tonight and runs again tomorrow.
POSTER ART: Abram Games' posters depicting Keep Britain Tidy in 1963 (left) and a war poster depicting the ATS in 1941. Both are on show at Dean Clough Galleries