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As working parents to two sprightly little ones (we call in childcare favours from trusty grandparents more often than we’d like as it is), it’s not often that Si and I get to go out for the night, so when we do, we try and ensure it’s for something we really want to do or see. With only a few days left before it was due to end, the exhibition ‘Female Trouble’ by Rebecca Scott and Paula Rego at brand new exhibition space Cross Lane Projects definitely fit the bill.

I’d been aware of a new gallery space opening in Kendal for a while, and that it was opening with a bang with a punchy joint exhibition by co-founder and artist Rebecca Scott and the grand dame of thought-provoking and often macabre depictions of life, Paula Rego. An impressive debut indeed!

Cross Lane Projects is situated in a former Kendal Mint Cake factory in the centre of town. Driving along the lanes of the adjoining housing estate to get to the gallery, you’d never imagine you were about to arrive at a contemporary exhibition space that gives the warehouse spaces of the capital a run for their money!

I found the space itself simply intoxicating. There was an atmosphere and a complete stillness to it that leaves you with no option but to just completely lose yourself to the works in front of you. High ceilings meant that the Rebecca Scott’s huge and dynamic canvasses sat comfortably in the space, never overpowering it. I’ve never regretted leaving London for the beautiful Lake District, but I often miss the intoxicating buzz of the city, feeling the energy of a thousand things happening around you and the sense of being part of something so much bigger than yourself. Standing in the freshly opened Cross Lane Gallery, seeing this pair of exciting and dynamic artists in Kendal, I started to feel a bit of that spark again. Rego’s work never disappoints — it’s a punch in the stomach in terms of its visceral impact, and the subjects and their dark and gritty stories and depictions of relationships, generations and power struggles needle away in your thoughts for a long time after you’ve left the space you briefly shared with them. Scott’s direct paintings were very apt for the times we’re living in, calling to mind the selfie generation and the endless quest for ideas of perfection. In combination, the exhibition brought together two artists considering opposite ends of the spectrum of what it is to be female.

We already have the fabulous Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal with a regularly changing programme of exhibitions and also the wonderful Abbot Hall Gallery with all its beauty and Georgian grandeur, who once exhibited one of my paintings ‘Lechuguilla’ alongside Rego and others — one of the highlights of my career so far. Cross Lane Projects is the perfect contemporary space to complement these existing galleries. I’m so excited to see what they have scheduled and will be a regular visitor to all future exhibitions…..

“Founded in 2018 by artists Rebecca Scott and Mark Woods, Cross Lane Projects brings new contemporary art to Cumbria. The space presents a curated programme of exhibitions by local, international and British artists with accompanying talks and events.”
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