A new exhibition at the Nunnery Gallery displays Doreen Fletcher’s atmospheric urban landscapes in the home of their making - the East End.

Doreen, who was born in Newcastle-under Lyme in 1952 into a working-class family, fell in love with art at a young age after looking at the coloured pictures of paintings in an encyclopaedia.

In 1983 she moved to East London due to the established community of artists and the attraction of cheap studio space.

She painted the East End for 20 years before deciding to retire, believing that her work was ‘out of fashion’ and that the new buildings in the East End destroyed the sense of place and community.

She said: “I remained optimistic up until the late nineties, when my work grew increasingly unfashionable due to the rise of conceptual art. It became more difficult to find any places where I could exhibit and that would accept representational painting.

“At the same time, I grew more involved in teaching art to youngsters with special needs, taking a part-time job in further education and became more interested in this because I found I was good at it and my teaching work was appreciated.”

Doreen picked her passion back up ten years later, in 2013, and was helped to achieve recognition in 2015. Since then she has featured in various popular exhibitions recognising her work as an artist.

Doreen takes inspiration from the East End and focuses her artwork on landscapes both urban and rural, looking at the changes of the use of buildings over the years. Her new exhibition reveals the changes of East London’s streets over three decades in remembrance of the buildings and businesses which have since been demolished.

She added: “I am interested in the ordinary, the commonplace and the overlooked. When I came to the East End, I was excited visually by being somewhere new to me and yet it also reminded me so much of where I grew up.”

Her inspiration, however, does not just derive from East London. She is also inspired by artists such as Edward Hopper, who she discovered in 1973 and has kept a catalogue of his work ever since.

She has also followed the work of Jack Simcock who she discovered that same year after finding a painting called Mow Cop.

She said: “Mow Cop is a hilltop village not far from where I grew up. It showed me that people from my kind of background had something worth saying about the world and the environment around them.”

Doreen’s main medium for artwork is painting, though she is also experienced in etching and printmaking. She also uses photography as an essential tool for recording and planning her work.

She said: “I feel painting takes the eyes and the mind into a different universe as things like memory, narrative, form and time struggle to make themselves heard on canvas. That’s where the poetry begins.”

The exhibition is also in curation with London blogger the Gentle Author of Spitalfields Life. The gallery will focus on her artwork as well as her new book, Doreen Fletcher: Paintings.

The exhibition is held at the Nunnery Gallery and will be open until March 24. For more information visit https://bowarts.org/nunnery/exhibitions