NOW and THEN
two thousand and twenty one-nineteen fifty eight
We are pleased to welcome back Hazel Albarn for this retrospective exhibition. In 2008, Hazel exhibited at the FBA gallery with her daughter Jessica in ‘The female Line’ and again in 2011 in her solo show, ‘Life’s vestments’.
In 1958, at the young age of just sixteen Hazel Albarn, with the encouragement of her art teacher enrolled at Nottingham Art college to study intermediate Art and Design. Even though initially lacking confidence, Hazel “enjoyed painting and making things” and instinctively knew that being an artist was to be her future. Hazel went on to study a National Diploma in painting at Kingston College of Art. Later in life, Hazel would discover that she came from a family of artists, such as brothers William Dring RA and James Dring, (teacher at the Slade College of Art.)
After leaving college Hazel embarked on new ventures designing theatre sets on various projects. Including the design and construction of Shakespeare’s major anniversary Exhibition in Stratford- upon Avon also shown in Edinburgh. Later in 1967, Hazel was commissioned to design the set for Joan Little woods production of ‘Mrs Wilsons Diary’ which was shown at the Criterion Theatre in London’s West End. The practical skills of set design and use of different construction materials would inform her work throughout her life.
The swinging sixties were exciting times for Hazel and husband Keith, in 1965 they opened ‘The Artists Own Gallery” 26 Kingly Street W1, collaborating with other upcoming artists and musicians they developed this venue to host experimental shows of music, performance and art exhibitions. Hazel exhibited her work here in 1966, called ‘An environmental Costume show’, this became a performance piece where people were encouraged to take part, putting on costumes and masks, the exhibition spilled out onto the neighbouring Carnaby street and then on to Hyde Park.
In the late 1960s and 70s as well as caring for two young children, Hazel was an art therapist in East London for children with special needs. In 1979 Hazel moved to Colchester to live in a house in the country, with her husband and two children Damon and Jessica. Here, she opened a shop and workshop selling commissions for applied arts such as stenciling, stained glass, and furniture. Hazel also created a large range of paper Mache work, there seemed to be no limit as to what she could be made out of paper.
Throughout the 1990s Hazel participated in many group and solo exhibitions, both nationally and internationally. Dedicated to sharing her skills and knowledge, she delivered a number of workshops to the young and old across the UK, Botswana, and Japan. This sharing of skills is something that Hazel is still passionate about today, she wants to inspire the next generation to believe that with dedication and hard work anything is possible.
“We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be where we started and know the place for the first time.” T.S Eliot.
Listen to Hazel Albarn speaking about the exhibition