You look at the picture and then look at the title – Urban Dreams: Cityscape Salford – and there's no way…That's not Salford, it's Marrakesh or somewhere…Domes?
"Yes, they're all along Chapel Street" insists Constance Fearn, listing the places that have inspired a series of paintings…"There's a copper dome on the Bell Tower pub and there's one on Ye Old Nelson pub, and one on the old education building and on the old cinema that's now a church…"
She can list them all night. Loads of them. Incredible eastern style domes that few people have ever really noticed.
"I used to get the bus from Walkden into the city every day and spent a huge amount of time just staring out of the window" Constance explains "You don't realise how many domes there are in the area. I liked the contrast between the old and the new and regeneration, and I also have a fascination with the East so it all fitted."
Apart from the subject matter what also stands out in the work is the texture. Constance uses anything and everything to get the effect she needs, from polystyrene pizza bases to Bostick glue, to newspapers and tie-dyed fabrics. The result is a multi-coloured eerie Eastern sheen over Salford which turns the stereotyped perception of the city on its head.
Constance, originally from Lower Broughton, is one of a growing number - can we call it a `school'? - of new Salford artists, born and bred in the city, who are creatively reacting to the current regeneration. After heading for a career in chemistry she opted instead for art, and after dealing with some personal issues found encouragement through the Arts On Prescription programme at Start in Salford, where she still has a studio and volunteers to help other potential artists. Now Constance has been offered a place at Salford University doing visual arts which she intends to pursue if she can get some funding.
Meanwhile 18 pieces of Constance's work can be seen at Swinton Library, which include in-yer-face flowers, surreal dream images and, of course, those domes. Salford? You'd better believe it…
Constance Fearn Exhibition
Until the end of April (although it may be extended)
Salford M27 4AE
Monday - 9.30 - 7.30
Tuesday - 9.30 - 5.30
Wednesday - 9.30 - 5.30
Thursday - 9.30 - 5.30
Friday - 9.30 - 5.30
Saturday - 9.00 - 1.00