It was my first visit to the O3 Gallery in Oxford. Although I had been aware of its existence, until I Googled "what's on in Oxford" and linked into their website ,I wasn't aware of how good a gallery space this is.

The current exhibition looked worthwhile so I made my way there to investigate what goes on.

Firstly, this is one of the most exciting sites I have come across for sometime. Housed in a circular tower of what was once an old prison, the layout and ambience makes for an exceptional bijou exhibition space. Perfect for short run exhibitions.

The current show "Metamorphosis" consists of sculpture and screenprints by Rachel Ducker & Rachel Owen.

Rachel Ducker trained as a jeweller but works in a variety of mediums. A browse through her website reveals some beautiful lifedrawn,(thats nude to you and me) mono prints. She has a penchant for working with metal however and I feel that sculpture is her true love.

Her figurative wirework has a unique quality and I suspect that the opportunity to produce some large scale pieces would be more than welcome. She incorporates tree-like limbs into her human forms and produces some fantastic pieces ,wholly mimicking Nature's arboreal sculptures.

I'm hoping the future will present her with the chance to go large scale and produce some powerful pieces in public spaces. Town planners take note.

Rachel Owen also has arboreal influences. This show exhibits many of her stunning screenprints. You can check them on her website but you really have to see them "in the flesh"
to absorb the impact and power her work possesses.

She chooses to use simple photographs as her base material.

On display are a series of snaps which are the starting point for her large scale screenprints. The transformation is startling.

Buildings, trees and portraits take on a wholly different quality. The enlargement of the original images give an enhancing degradation and her resulting images are reminiscent of Atget and Fox Talbot. Indeed, there are a series of multi-layered prints of trees that look more like an Edvard Munch etching than that which they really are.

All in all, a truly pleasant surprise. The show runs until the Sunday 21st November. Treat yourself and take a stroll round the streets of Oxford but make sure your itinerary includes the O3 and this show.

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