Exhibitions and Events Archive

︎Selected Artworks from this virtual exhibition were exhibited at the MK Gallery Project Space 16th October - 19th December 2020. Explore the digital exhibition catalogue below ︎︎︎


Our mission at Arts for Health Milton Keynes is to use arts and creativity to improve health and well-being. As we learn to navigate through our ‘new normal’ and the challenges presented by the COVID-19 global pandemic, now more than ever it is important to use our creativity to bring people together. 

This online gallery evolved between March and July 2020 to highlight the artwork being made by artists living and working in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas during this time. It includes painting, photography, contemporary dance, sculpture and more for you to explore.

To reflect the diversity of our Arts and Health community and activities, artworks in this online gallery explore themes such as physical and mental health challenges. 

We hope this helps create a dialogue and awareness around those living and working in social isolation, whether documenting the resurgence of finding of joy in simple things or exploring the comforts or discomforts of repetition or disrupted routines; challenges faced by many continuously in day-to-day life but have more public resonance now.

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Carol Ashmore

Balanced & Grounded, Mixed Media Sculpture, 20cms x 12cms

‘Anxiety is real and saps confidence. The fear and uncertainty of COVID-19 has taken its toll on those who experience anxious feelings. Yoga can help. It can foster self-worth, self-confidence and self-esteem-the things that fade when anxiety bites. This sculpture represents a Yoga pose, a balance called Natarajasana- the dancer. The dancer is a strong, grounded, open, still and powerful pose. The central bead on the sculpture highlights a fiery energy centre located near the navel of the dancer. This fiery energy centre is a source of strength and power to tap into when things get tough and the lighter at the base of the sculpture is a reminder of this.’

Lockdown (2020) Mixed Media Sculpture, 20cm x 20 cm

‘During Lockdown the lock mechanism and the black tiles used in this piece were found amongst a jumble of free things outside a nearby house. The doom laden letter from Boris had dropped through every letter box, and the words "Lock down" now had sinister overtones. This artwork uses the serious words from the letter about Lockdown as a backdrop to another way of interpreting those two words - literally, a lock facing down. And in the new unsettling reality it made me smile.’

Tedium (2020) Mixed Media Sculpture; 25cms x 20cm 

‘Day after day, the same limited lockdown routine. Tedium had set in and this was a low point. It helped to type the word "Tedium" time and again. This sheet of words, a discarded gift box lid, an empty Camembert container and a handful of old wooden Bingo counters passed a bit of time on that dull day.’
[Carol Ashmore]

About the Artist

Carol Ashmore is a local artist working with across mixed media and conceptual sculpture practices.

All images courtesy of the artist  ©Copyright Carol Ashmore 2020

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Laura Brown


Self Sanctuary, kiln fired clay, 2020 (NFS)

“Through the use of training as an Art Therapist and personal therapy, I have been able to discern why trees are a constant theme in my clay sculpture work. Ever since I was a child, I have climbed trees to get away from the anxiety of the world below. Trees gave me a second vantage point. I have since lived in 9 countries and through every move and every new beginning, I constantly carved trees, but had no idea why until this year while studying art therapy. In times like this where Corona Virus is causing an overload of anxiety, having an inner sense of sanctuary is of paramount importance and I hope everyone is able to access theirs and identify what makes them feel safe.” [Laura Brown]

Art Journal Entries

Image 1 - Art Journal Entry: Grief Feels a lot like Depression (NFS)

“I used to find myself looking forward to mealtimes in isolation, yet with a fresh heartbreak, my nervous system has entered fight mode and suppressed my hunger pangs. Now I know why it feels I cannot eat with a broken heart. I am grieving the end of my relationship, reminiscent of depression.” [Laura Brown]

Image 2 - Art Journal Entry: Time Does Not Heal All Wounds. Mixed Media on paper (charcoal pencil, magazine cuttings) (NFS)

“Isolation makes it a lot more difficult to distract myself from deeply rooted feelings. I am alone with myself and my emotions, including those I have not dealt properly with; a past heartbreak and a fresh heartbreak. “ [Laura Brown]

About the Artist
Laura Brown is an artist living and working in Buckingham, she is currently studying art therapy at The Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education in London.

All images courtesy of the artist  ©Copyright  Laura Brown 2020

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John Cloake

Lifespans, watercolour, 29.5 x 21cm (NFS)

These artworks are part of a series made while the artist was receiving chemotherapy and surgery for Pancreatic Cancer at Milton Keynes University Hospital and the Churchill Hospital in Oxford.

“My heightened awareness of life, provoked by having cancer, presented opportunities to recognise how all elements of the natural world, including humans, are connected.  

Sharpened Senses, Watercolour, 28 x 21cm (NFS)

The increased risk of infection as a side-effect of chemotherapy means that I have been in a form self-isolation since last summer.  Walking in the woods has been hugely sustaining. Unexpectedly, I have found that the threat to my existence has acutely sharpened my appreciation of large and tiny details of nature. A bittersweet bonus to illness.  

Recovering, Watercolour,  29.5 x 21cm (NFS)

In the build up to surgery I had imagined all the people and places that would assist my recovery.  However, we are fortunate in having a garden full of living things plant and animal. Seeking them out again has greatly off-set the frustrations of the Covid-19 lockdown.” [John Cloake]

About the Artist
John Cloake is a visual artist working with photography and paper based cartoon images. You can find more artworks from the Unexpected Module series on the artists website: www.johncloake.com/unexpected-module

All images courtesy of the artist ©Copyright John Cloake 2020

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Lance Fennell

Two Bridges, oil on board / frame , 75 x  50 cm (including frame)

Lance Fennell’s paintings are inspired by the things and places he sees every day; whether the view out of the window, the chair in the corner of his studio at Westbury Arts Centre (below) or the two bridges that cross from Loughton over the A5 and railway (above); apparently insignificant surroundings to those of us who see them every day are given undue care and attention.

Chair by a Window,  oil on board 75 x 100 cm (including frame)

In recent times these everyday surroundings, have become just that, every-day. To track those seasonal changes through the same window seems a perfect metaphor of many of us this year. For Fennell the artworks evolve over a period of time, sometimes taking up to a year to make, the artist says  “I like feeding into them the new information as I accumulate it.“ [Lance Fennell] 

Fittingly the artist repurposes old frames within the artworks, often but not always painting over the frame as well at the middle. The final artworks form a static but edited memory or time capsule of changes over the period.

Studio Window, Oil on board/frame, 75 x 100 cm (including frame)

About the Artist

Lance Fennell is a local artist, based at Westbury Arts Centre, where his practice specialises in painting and drawing. You can find out more on: http://www.lancefennell.co.uk/

Note: Dimensions are approximate, width first, including frames.

All Images courtesy of the artist  ©Copyright Lance Fennell 2020

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Arts for Health Milton Keynes is the working name of MK Arts for Health charity number 1107625  company number 05137693