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14 September 2011

Darkshines at Wivey

Whilst I haven't, unfortunately gone out and seen a lot of the many art exhibitions participating in the 10 Parishes Festival this year I was fortunate enough to visit 'The Recessionists' exhibition, titled 'Fading light' with a good friend yesterday afternoon. The delight and brilliance of this exhibition is definitely in its location, a derelict, crumbling and aged second floor of the Wiveliscombe Town Hall (no not the Supermarket half I hasten to add). What makes it so special is that all the windows are nearly entirely boarded up (minus some holes and slots allowing a chink of light in here and there) making it a particularly dark space. 'Oh no, but how will we see where we're going yet alone the art work!' I hear you exclaim. Well, don't worry because that's the beauty of it, it's not so dark that you can't see where you're going just dark enough to create an atmosphere and all together fun viewing experience created by using the torches that are hanging alongside the work.
Funny, because it wasn't that long ago that I said how I'd like to have more 'art in the dark' after viewing dark pieces in the Fine Art end of year show at Somerset College and work at The Brewhouse in the 'Inna Space' festival and it would seem that I'm not alone in that opinion. Good stuff. The exhibition features the work of, Beatrice Hammond, Alan Christian Aass, Sam Jeffs, Scarlet Von Teazel, Penny Elfick, Sara Dudman, Angela Wood, Toni Davey, Andrew Davey, Nicolette Cornwallis and Eugina Bowery. Plus there's some extra surprises from Forkbeard Fantasy which I won't give away as you'll have to see it yourself.
Really enjoyed visiting this show, I feel always really inspired by the way artists adapt and create exhibitions in abandoned spaces (like the second year Fine Art exhibition in the Collar Factory in Taunton) using and working sympathetically with the space instead if trying to overly renovate/tidy it up. In example, this show, using chains to hang paintings or in other cases hanging work on walls where the paint is peeling off, yes I know its not right for everyone's work, but it definitely does suit some, perhaps too much in some cases. There is always the danger with venues like this that they can almost upstage the work leaving you sometimes thinking why not just exhibit the whole empty building as it is. When we had a show last year in a brilliant Tithe barn in Cotley, Chard we were faced with the similar problem of heaps of compliments for the building, that unfortunately weren't really matched in number by feedback of the art work. Still, on the flip side of this one could argue that it is actually the art and exhibitions in these incredibly interesting decaying buildings that brings them into the public's attention in the first place. Would I have ever seen how cool Wivey town hall was had there not been an art exhibition in there? Answer, no. Not only that but the art within these kinds of places is often hung so that tiny details that might have previously gone unnoticed or marked as 'damage' or 'in need of repair' become noticed as interesting artworks in their own right. There is something very powerful about how art can change how we interact within a space. Art invites you to start noticing things. So, it's good to have a decayed building as much as it is to have a white gallery wall every once in a while.
So, please go check it out, the exhibition is still on until the end of the week. As I have already mentioned how cool I think the venue is (and hope it is continued to be used as an arts venue), but what I haven't mentioned enough is the artists who are involved and as with all the Recessionists shows I've been to now I almost take it for granted that there will be a diverse amount of work on offer by contemporary artists working in Somerset and this show still lives up to that. I look forward to the next one.

(above) Sara Dudman(above) Andrew Davey

(above) Investigating Beatrice Hammond's painting with a torch.
(below) Scarlet Von Teazel's installation

The exhibition 'Fading light' is still on until the 16th September, 10-5pm. Please visit:

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