The focus is on two artists at the Market Place Shopping Centre's art gallery.

Billed as a collection of reflective and thought provoking photographic work, the Hive Gallery is staging the  ‘Alchemy & Light’ exhibition made up of photographs by Sara Lawlor and Tom McMahon.

Sara and Tom both qualified with a first-class honours degree from the University of Bolton’s School of the Arts in 2023 and were chosen by Hive Artists as their prize winners, with this exhibition opportunity a part of their award.

Sara has created a body of work with theme of ‘Cariad’ the Welsh word for darling, sweetheart or just simply love.

Based on adverse life experiences, Cariad is shot on 120 black and white roll film and created from experiments with film photography and digital self-portraiture.

The Bolton News: Sara with some of her workSara with some of her work (Image: Julie Levy)Developed in stages, each part of the process takes on a style of therapeutic practice and is an important part of the overall narrative.

Tom’s work reflects his struggles as a child with school which gave rise to something he describes as, ‘zoning out’ where his mind wandered freely in and out of dream worlds.

The images he describes in his work, collectively entitled ‘MindScape’, are visualisations of these worlds and use infrared photography, and intentional camera movement (ICM) to produce surreal photographs.

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These intersect the blurred lines between the recognisable and the unrecognisable in a place where fact, fiction, past and present collide.

Sara and Tom said: “Our exhibition is an elixir of two experimental practices each challenging adverse personal experiences.

“The work relates to dark room chemistry, an alchemy, or a seemingly magical process of transformation or creation.

“From darkness to light, a natural agent is needed to stimulate sight and make things visible, bringing the unrecognisable to light.”

The Bolton News: Tom with some of his workTom with some of his work (Image: Julie Levy)Hive Exhibitions Co-ordinator, Andy Smith, said: “We are delighted to be able to bring this innovative exhibition by two young and talented photographers to the community of Bolton.

“It really is amazing to have Sara and Tom’s contemporary photographic work fully accessible to everyone in the town centre and we encourage you to come along to the Gallery to see it for yourself.”

The Hive Gallery is situated on the Upper Ground Floor of the Market Place Shopping Centre, Bolton BL1 2AN, and the exhibition is open to the public every Friday and Saturday from 12pm to 5pm until April 13.

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