Search This Blog


Send Davina your news and comments

29 September 2011

There's still time to know your roots!

Thank you to Lyn Mowat who has contributed a review of the exhibition 'Roots' for this post (in italics):


"Corporate Sponsors of SAW, King's College, Taunton, have kindly hosted Venue 97 in this year's Artweeks. The exhibition which has been carefully curated by the artists consists of the high quality work of four artists who compliment each other in every possible way. Two artists work in wood, Trevor Salway-Roberts' formal carving is exquisite and is a lively contrast to Emma Duke's wood constructions that use driftwood and have a sense of the wild and free. Samantha Gilbert's printmaking has the feel of textiles and sits well with the beautiful installation by Lucy Lean who's work seems to go from strength to strength.
King's College generously hosted a Friends' Event and prizes for the lucky winners of the two recent Friends' Prize Draws were presented. The Friends Committee is enormously grateful to Julia Thompson who has given a silver pendant to a delighted Audrey Roux and kind Jo Luxstead has given a beautiful angel to Shirley Lomas.
Art is uplifting and inspiring and forging partnerships like the one with King's College, Taunton is a wonderfully positive experience for everyone. Thank you one and all."

(above) Lucy Lean -mixed media/installation
(above) Emma Duke -driftwood sculptures

(above) Samantha Gilbert -printmaking

(above) Trevor Salway-Roberts -woodcarving

This week I went to visit 'Roots' myself and I agree with what Lyn has written about how the four artists' work has come together really well in this exhibition. There are similarities and comparisons to made of the textures, materials and surfaces that the artists have used. Whilst they are similar in their use of natural forms/materials the exhibition also demonstrates a variety of techniques (from wood carving to print making) and ideas that the artists have used to make the work (and if you talk to them they will tell you lots more about it all). The gallery at Kings College is small but perfectly formed and makes this an intimate and thoughtfully curated exhibition.

For more details please go to: or venue 97 in the SAW catalogue.

You still have three days of art weeks to go! There's still lots to go and see!

Curiouser and curiouser....

Whilst I was in Bath visiting the Artists Open Studios I also stumbled across this exhibition off the main high street in the city centre.

The exhibition, titled, 'Wunderkamer' from the German, 'Cabinet of curiosities' is an Off-site exhibition curated by the Bo Lee gallery at The Octagon Chapel, Milsom Place.
Featuring, Sarah Ball, Mat Collishaw, Angela Cockayne, Jayne Dunsmuir, Tessa Farmer, Patrick Haines, Marcelle Hanselaar, Melanie Jackson, Alexander Kozer-Robinson, Cornelia Parker, Robert Priseman, Dawn Lippiatt, Ione Rucquoi, Rose Sanderson, Rebecca Stevenson and Viktor Wynd.

I seem to be making a habit of seeing art exhibitions in abandoned buildings of which 'Wunderkamer' is another to add to that list. Whilst I do not have many photos here showing the impressive exhibition space you might get a rough idea from some of the images below that it is very grand looking and certainly a lot smarter than some of the other empty buildings I've seen exhibitions in recently. A quick search online reveals that the Octagon Chapel (named so because it is in fact octagonal inside) was designed as a church in 1767. Anyway, it has to be said that this a very cool show, and because of my own personal interests in all things cabinets/sheds and curiosities I found it to be particularly useful. Insects in bell jars, bones in boxes, x-rays, taxidermy, cases, sculptures made from unusual materials meant that the work in this show read like a natural history or science museum meets elements of the surreal and mystical. There was much to be curious about with most pieces requiring close inspection to see what was either in them, or what they were made of. In ways the show was also slightly macabre and Gothic which was probably helped to some degree by the period location it was hung in, I half expected to see the Patrick Haines' raven to spring to life and swoop down crying, 'Never more'. Luckily, this didn't happen and I continued to wonder around the exhibition exploring the different work on offer. The whole show was a really great surprise as I hadn't expected to find such a surreal and intriguing exhibition on the main shopping street.

The show is still on until the 1st of October, please check it out if you're out in Bath.

(above) -Tessa Farmer, artist

(above) -Ione Rucquoi, artist

"These collections of dead insects, objects from the bottom of a river and sea urchins are housed in cabinets, boxes, shelves and rooms that are recognisable as 'museum-like' and familiar, yet are encountered on the street or in the gallery." -Duncan Cameron, artist

For more info on this exhibition and future bo lee exhibitions/artists please see link below:

28 September 2011

Weekend escape to Bath

You: "What's all this then? A post about a non art weeks event in the middle of Somerset Art Weeks!"

Me: Yes.

Perhaps if I was a person who didn't think about/do art all the time then I would have been more than satisfied with last weeks prolific tour of arts weeks venues. Was 26 venues in one week not enough?! Maybe I just don't know when to say, enough art is enough for one week, but then if I started doing any of those things then I wouldn't be me and there would be no point in writing this blog.

So for whatever madness or reasons, I decided to board the train this weekend to see, yet more art. This time a visit to 'Bath artists' studios' where they had an open studios event over the 24th and 25th of September. Forgive me for bringing this to your attention right in the middle of art weeks, but it was such an inspiring visit I couldn't resist to tell you about it.

Click on this link for more info:
This was my first visit to Bath Artits' studios and I was pleased that it was a lot easier to find than I thought it would be (at around twenty minutes walk from the train station). Prior to going I wondered if it was going to be a similar set up to the 'Jamaica Street' and 'BV' Open studios and when I arrived my assumptions were quickly confirmed that it was the same format of a main gallery space for exhibiting work with a labyrinthine set of corridors and rooms making up the artists studios alongside the working spaces for 3D sculpture. Brilliant! With 59 artists work and spaces to see, I armed myself with a map and set out to explore. The following images are just a few of the artists I met and spoke to during my visit.

Carole has an excellent print studio with a brand new press! Her current work is uses historic maps for reference and the landscape which she uses as inspiration for her prints. Over the weekend she was running dry point and collagraph workshops which are ongoing, for more details click on the link above.

Mary Jane Evans -ceramics

These ceramics are delicious (am I allowed to say that?) They're not actually edible, but its the surfaces and textures in Mary Jane Evan's pieces that got me excited.

Alice is a kind-of hybrid artist as she makes ceramics as well as illustrating them with images of all sorts from bicycles to bees and moustaches. She also makes fanatstic badges!

Photo of the 3D sculpture area. Not sure whose work this is, but it certainly photographs very well.

What would an open studios be without its share of painters? I'm pleased to say there are plenty here.

Felicity Roma Bowers-printmaking

The image above is a close-up of what was a huge print that can be very basically described as being a print of a human figure (whose hand you can see here) made up of leaves and layered with images from science/alchemy/mysticism books. They're excellent prints and the thinking behind the imagery used in them is really interesting (reminds me of Leonardo Da Vinci's drawings for example) and reminded me of several of my peers who I know would be interested in this work very much. Please check out her website which displays and explains the work in greater detail.

Charlotte Moore -painting

These paintings are made of wire mesh layered, cut and assembled to create compositions or scenes (if you look on her website you'll see what I mean).

Brian Elwell- painting

And in case you were wondering there was a graphic designer in there to: if you fancy a look.

Excellent stuff all round, and there's more to come soon from another exhibition I stumbled across on my visit to Bath, but that can wait until next time. Looks like Bath Artists' Studios will be another annual visit I will look forward to visiting again next year.

25 September 2011

SAW Roadtrip day 3: To Wells and back

Friday was the last day I had to visit arts weeks venues and this trip turned out to be a much more leisurely venture visiting four venues travelling from Taunton towards Wells on the A361 taking a few detours along the way and then back again. Although this is the last full day of SAW visits I still plan on visiting a couple more venues in Taunton that I haven't been to yet (I can walk to those so it will be a lot more relaxing). Anyway, this excursion started off with the fantastic Stoberry Park in Wells and what has turned out to be overall one of the best venues visited. I think it is fair to say that the reason its so good has a lot to do with the park itself which has brilliant gardens and views over Wells and the Cathedral. All of which is definitely made more interesting and engaging by having the sculptures of five different artists in amongst the gardens and grounds. It was a very enjoyable experience to look around and discover and in some cases search out the art. There are sculptures from artists, Sonja Klinger, Ian Marlow, Christine-Ann Richards, Fiona Campbell and Alex Relph (see images below for some of their work).

(above) Ian Marlow's sculpture overlooking views of Wells Cathedral the Tor.

(above) Fiona Campell's wire sculptures can be seen hidden amongst the gardens .

(above) Sonja Klinger's 'Getting blood out of a stone' (II) in the gardens at Stoberry Park

From Wells we headed further upwards into the Mendips into the village of Priddy (sadly no sheep this day) where we visited October House and the work of eight artists; Belinda Brownlee, Christina White, Susan Walker, Duncan Simey, Peter Davey, Cath Bloomfield, Alison Potter and Linda Briscow. Lots to see here, some great ceramics and photography and personally loved Cath Bloomfield's collagraphs (pictured above).

Onwards and back down the A39 and past Galstonbury to visit Spring Farm Arts at Moorlinch. Five artists here, Nancy Farmer, Anne Farmer, Jenny Graham (pictured above), Clio Graham and Susan Gradwell. Similar set-up to Hurstone Studios in Milverton with lots of artists working in farm buildings. Lots to see here and worth going to see and meet the artists and their studio spaces.
And.....finally 'Level Space' at Stoke St Gregory and the work of the four artists listed below and very near the Willows and Wetlands Centre (a great place to visit). Sadly, I'm not really a fan of minimalism so this venue wasn't, if I'm being honest, to my taste, but is great if you like that kind of thing. Plus there's some great conker trees outside if you fancy picking up some (I did).
(below) Pennie Elfick, Bronwen Bradshaw, Tony Martin and Caroline Sharp at Level Space near Stoke St Gregory

More info in the SAW catalogue. Or click on the links listed below (in chronological order):

Thus, my friends, concludes this years art weeks road-trips. Its been busy, inspiring and I've had the pleasure of meeting and talking to lots of interesting people. Hope it may have inspired you to get out there and visit some venues too (or even take part yourself next year?). There's still a few places I've not yet been to so I'll keep you posted when I visit those and of course there's the 'Night of Light' event at Hestercombe Gardens this Friday, 30th to look forward to as well. Watch this space. You've still got a whole week to explore until the end of art weeks on the 2nd October, so get out there!

Quorum-contemporary paintings and sculpture at Nyehead, Nr Wellington

Ooops! I seemed to get so carried away with all the arts weeks venues I visited during the day that I nearly forgot to mention ones like this, that I visited in the evening. Monday evening last week saw the opening night of 'Quorum -Contemporary paintings and sculpture' at The Orangery in Nyehead and featured work from four artists. The show includes, abstract, dynamic paintings from Diane Burnell, Michael West's sculptures made from recycled found objects (pictured second image below), Scarlet Von Teazel's mixed media, found object assemblages and landscape inspired paintings from Andrea Rowbotham (pictured below).

For more info please look in the SAW catalogue under Venue 103 or click on the link below:

24 September 2011

SAW Roadtrip Day 2: South Somerset and round in circles at Muchelney

Its Saturday, but in blogging terms it is a Wednesday and all of these images are from Wednesday's travels around South Somerset and a record of eight art weeks venues. Is that a lot? It is if you end up taking a couple detours here and there as you're looking for any yellow SAW arts weeks signs in the predominately green lanes of Somerset's countryside. Anyway, in chronological order here are the venues visited on this day:

At Venue 28/29: Muchelney Abbey, Muchelney, Langport: Cranes at Muchelney Abbey- Two venues in one place! The Cranes (pictured here) created by school kids and the community as a part of the 'Great Crane Project' adorn the lawns leading up and around the Abbey. Inside the Abbey there's work to be seen from Emily Colenso, Will Shakspeare, Carol Mackenzie and Mary Vanderplank. All in all a great example of art in a site specific context with some of the artists taking features from the Abbey's architecture and history and using it in their work or the 'Crane project' located on the site where Cranes have been released.

(above) Part of the charm of art weeks is visiting places you've never been to before. This was the first time I'd been to Muchelney Abbey and so I couldn't resist taking lots of photos of things like this wall painting in what is a remarkable building.

(above) A couple of Kitty Hillier's engraved and coloured wood pieces can be seen inside the Abbey at Muchelney. Kitty was also an artist who worked on 'The Great Crane Project'.More of Kitty's work can be seen at Pitney (Venue 32).

(above) Fiona Campbell's wire work created in workshops with schools and community groups at Muchelney Abbey as a part of the Great Crane Project. To see Fiona's own wire creations this art weeks visit, Stoberry Park, Wells (Venue 60).

(above and below) Venue 27: Mucheleney Forge, Langport: 'Five at the Forge' - Fantastic forge and (below) Julia Thompson's caravan where she makes hand crafted bespoke lockets and jewelery. Also at this venue expect to see forged ironwork from Nick Ostroumoff, carved alabaster mathematical art from Nick Durnan, firuartive oil paintings from Corrine Short and woodcarvings and prints from Jane Mowat (who was carving the most huge impressive bed when I visited). On different days there are all sorts of demonstrations and activities to see which makes this a lively place worth a visit.

....and of course the fact that there happened to be a forge with loads of tools in had no baring on my decision to visit this venue...

(above and below) At Venue 1: Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton: 'Operation Chameleon' -Jon England's installation of mixed media pieces is so site specific to the extent where you'd almost believe the work is not only part of the museum, now, but looks as though it could have always been there. The work in response to the restoration being undertaken of a WW2 Grumman Martlet plane mimics the processes used by the restoration team (whose portraits have been created as a part of the exhibition -see below). The pieces in the show document the history of the plane in images of the pilots who flew it and places the plane journeyed throughout its history before it arrived at Fleet for its restoration. The work is situe alongside the plane itself making it a very poignant exhibition. Worth a visit as the museum itself is also incredibly cool.

(above and below) At Venue 11: The Old School room and Lanes Hotel at West Coker: 'Under a new sun' -Simon Lee Dicker's exhibition in the recently turned gallery, The Old School room at West Coker. Featuring work from Somerset based contemporary artists, Megan Calver (you'll possibly see her out in the village with her pole...), painting from Angela Charles, musical instruments (or are they sculptures) from Michael Fairfax, Lucia Harley, Simon Hitchens, Tasha Stevens and new media and video pieces from Luke Paramore. Pictured is Simon's bicycle, titled, 'The way to work' (he actually does ride them in apparently?!)

On that note, I'm going to get on my bike and have a moment to digest all the things I've seen these art weeks. Until next time!

For more information about all the venues and more along the way then pick up the SAW catalogue at a library or venue near you!

Or in the order we visited venues are as follows:

Please look at the SAW map before heading out because there are loads of other venues along the way...

18 September 2011

SHEDS you like

It was last Sunday that I visited SHEDS in Hemyock, but with what has been one of the most prolific art weeks ever, you'll have to bare with me as I try to retrospectively type and upload all the photos of the venues I've been to see during the week since then. I think at the moment the total of venues visited is running at 26 of a possible 108!

Anyway, this venue, 'SHEDS' at number 102 in the guide and is probably going to be up there in one of my favourite venues overall, but definitely scores the most points for being the most fun SAW venue I've been to (ironic, as technically this venue is actually in Devon, but just on the edge, so its ok -but more interestingly because BHamm!, who put the show together often make work in response the Somerset/Devon border as well).

Sure, there aren't any Concorde planes or views looking out onto Wells Cathedral here (like at two of the other venues, no. 1 and no. 60 if you're interested-equally fab but in a different way), but there doesn't need to be because, you've got, er... sheds! Not convincing you? Well, I've always been a believer that the most everyday and mundane things make the best art and this was no exception. You've got 18 artists made up of painters, installation, photography, mixed-media, sculpture, pottery, site-specific (need I go on) all exhibiting together under the theme of sheds with really creative sheds that they've built which in some cases either house the work and/or become the work entirely. The field its situated in at Simonsburrow house is like an eccentric shanty town of artists, each with their own very unique interpretation of a shed which makes it a venue full of surprises and things to explore. I've tried to resist putting too many photos on here to show you and hope that you go and check out the exhibition for yourselves because there's a fair bit more than what I've shown here.

Good fun, just be sure to take your wellies if its raining.

Me outside Liz Gregory's shed

"My shed is a homage to the one you can see across the field. It is made from the monumnet fence that we decorated in 2008. I want to paint the inside in a similar way with colours adn images inspired from all the things that are found in sheds. Please come and paint a stripe in the shed. I've been painting from two old farm sheds over the last year. Inside these sheds I've found objects: abandoned, forgotten, dusty and rusty, and these objects have become the basis for my prints."-Liz Gregory"Please Shed before entering"Tim Martin's Sheds
"The shed theme for me has manifested itself in several ways from a series of landscape paintings made in a shed last year to 'Shed Gateway' and 'Heartseaese', two works made from stakes designed to change colour when viewed from different sides."-Tim Martin Gordon Field's 'Shed of Curiosities' is awesome!
"The 'Shed of Curiosities ' is a purpose built shed which after the 'Sheds' project will then become my Zen thinking-shed. Now it is full of work and is a smaller version of a previous art weeks installation. The 'Shed of Curiosities'. The black exterior is inspired by the fisherman's sheds of the South East coast and my newly converted studio."-Gordon Field

Gordon Field's 'Shed of Curiosities' (detail)-

Of course there would be tools, its all about the tools!

Tim Martin's shed for a single tool, but what tool I wonder....

Its Liz Father's piece, 'The lambing shed'

"Farming is an important part of the Blackdowns way of life. through imaginative play we are able to develop an insight into the work and routines of the farming year." -Liz Fathers
Cousin-it takes a ride on Andrew Bell's mechanised shed (it was exhausting!!)
"Oyster fisherman in Arachon, France clean off their brushes on the side of their sheds after painting their boats. The resulting effect is unintentionally artistic. My shed is inspired by those I saw in Arcachon. I am intrigued by mechanisms that operate by unusual forms of power, particularly if they are a bit like the creations of Rowland Emett. Such a mechanism opens the door of my shed, if you pedal hard enough." -Andrew Bell
(and if you're like me and wondered who Rowland Emett is then click on this link and all will become clear:
I was also thinking of Heath Robinson as being similar too.

For more details about visiting SHEDS please look in the SAW catalogue under venue 102 or click on the link below:

SAW Roadtrip: Day one - Porlock and around there abouts

(above) Some of Jenny Barron's paintings in the Old Church at Old Cleeve -Featuring, tools and more! A great location and good variety of painting and some printmaking and sculpture on offer.
Venue 83
This post would probably do better with the title, 'So much art, so little time!' as Sunday saw my family and I visit seven arts venues around the Minehead, Porlock region. Compared to last years art weeks which were open studios this years SAW format means that there are often a lot of artists exhibiting together in one place (which is better in my opinion as it means you get to see more work). The below is a collection of images from that days viewings, with a little bit of commentary. Hopefully you might find it useful as it provides a route of venues that you can visit. This journey is from Taunton to Porlock along the Minehead road. Enjoy!
(above) A familiar art weeks visitor inspects Lucy Large's work at Castlake Farm.
Venue 90
(above) I know it isn't the 'art' but can't resist taking photos of dusty old tools that you find at so many art weeks venues. These are from Castlake Farm
Venue 90
Hannah Bishop's installation about the shops vs. the architecture of Brighton city centre at Castlake Farm (please note dear Waterstones colleagues that this drawing features us)
Venue 90
(above) One of the best venue locations ever (you have to visit to see what I mean)! This wall features work from Angela Wood, Len Payne and Richard Beart.
Venue 87 (above) Harbour Studios at Porlock Weir
Venue 88(above) Never been to Porlock Weir before, but its a really beautiful place (and that was when it was raining!) Plus it is seriously worth checking out the Miller's (as in the Millers antique guides) hotel there as inside it is one of the most quirky, lavish and antique filled places I have ever been to. (above) Porlock Weir and a Christopher Jelley 'Story Walk' venue. Those of you with a smart phone head to this location (one of three) for a site specific story walk around Porlock Weir.