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4 August 2012

Parsley's most wanted 2012!

The wait is almost over! 42 days to go until Somerset Art Weeks: Open Studios 2012!
15th - 30th September
Get your FREE guide (featuring over 200 venues!) available at arts venues, galleries, theatres, arts centres, libraries and assorted shops and cafes throughout the land.
Alternatively, you could request a copy to be sent to you or download the pdf version on our website. For details of how to do this and more click on the link here:

In fact, whilst you're here, you can start planning your art weeks visits right now, with my own top twenty selection of arts weeks venues for 2012! Truth be told it wasn't easy to whittle it down from around 40+ venues I originally circled as being of interest, so I've included an extended list at the end of this post with even more venues that I'd like to visit. As ever, these represent my own interests and opinions and I would strongly recommend everyone having a look through the guide and picking out the artists/art forms that appeal to them (there's plenty to choose from!) Besides, some of the best arts weeks venues I've ever visited, have been the ones I accidentally come across on route to somewhere else. So, please enjoy this selection. I hope it inspires you to get out there and visit the fantastic artists we're lucky to have here in Somerset!

 Venue 19: Noah's Ark Studio (Irene Jackson and Christine Farnworth) - Baltonsborough
Printmaking, multi-media techniques, drawing, painting and photography at this venue. Sounds great to me! Thought the images at this venue looked interesting.
  Venue 25: Red Brick Building (Paul Branson, Richard Pelham and Julie Avenell) - Glastonbury
Many tales of the arts have been told of a red brick building in Glastonbury. This is a new educational centre for the arts that I have heard of, but yet to have visited. So really intrigued about this venue.
 Venue 29: Mark Hey - Lower Godney, Wells
This place is and I quote, 'full of collective strangeness' and cider (what a combination!) Categorised in the guide as a mixed media venue this studio bakes its own bread, makes its own beer, cider and larger. This sounds wonderful to me!
Venue 38: Chris Lee - Wells
Exquisite architectural drawings from this Urban artist.
Venue 54: Pete Beer, Guitar Maker - Axbridge
The great thing about Open Studios is the chance to see the 'working' practice of artists and makers in Somerset, so how cool to see a guitar maker and their studio.  
Venue 63: The Old Manor Gallery (Malin Basil) - Brent Knoll
Trompe l'oeil still life paintings. I've always liked Magritte and Surrealism and it looks like there are echoes of those in this work.
  Venue 102: Rachel Waldock and Lucy Large - Near Watchet
I came across this venue last art weeks, whilst on a tour of the Watchet/Minehead area and really enjoyed the work here. Its a great venue too. Looking forward to going back again this year.
  Venue 115: Andrew Davey - Minehead
Eat your heart out Jasper Johns! These abstract/representational paintings by Andrew Davey look really dynamic and exciting. I'll be interested to see what scale they are on?
  Venue 125: Jane Mowat - Waterrow
Hand-printed woodcuts inspired by stories and folklore as well as inspiration from the wood and the woods themselves! Special evening events and installation (a hand carved 4-poster bed) made by the artist in the wood above at Chipstable on WED, FRI and SUN 6-8pm with music, singing and storytelling. AND...artist, Liz Fathers, will have some naturally built nests in the woods as well! 
  Venue 130: Gordon Field - Culmhead
This studio is AMAZING! I've had the pleasure of visiting it before and it is full of wonderful art works, natural and man-made objects, curios and things to discover. Definitely worth a visit!
On Sat 22nd - 5pm there will be a fire sculpture event to celebrate the Equinox
Sun 23rd - 2pm there will be an artist's walk through the Otterhead landscape
  Venue 138: Studio Open: Artists Exchange/Studio Works (Hacker Farm, Eunju Yoo, Hazel Holman and Sebastian King, David Davis and Chantelle Henocq) - The Brewhouse Theatre and Arts Centre
 Eunju and Hazel will be based at The Brewhouse during art weeks interacting with the public and making new work (performance/film/felt/embroidered works) in response to those meetings. Plus you get to see Sebastian King's photos (as featured in this year's Open Studios Guide) in the flesh accompanied by commissioned poems by David Davis.
  Venue 140: Gary Dickins - Taunton
If interesting, rich, aged and weathered surfaces, painterly techniques and textures are your thing, then these mixed media paintings are for you! Making use of found materials, from rusted metal, felt and leather to velvet, wound dressings and wallpaper the abstract surfaces in Gary's paintings are very tactile and evoke connotations of history and alchemy. Great stuff! 
  Venue 141: Gill Jones and Nigel Banks - Somerset College (Conference Centre), Taunton
Not, exactly a studio..but a great exhibition space located in Somerset College's Conference Centre. Featuring Nigel's intricate and painstakingly hand made collages and Gill's prints/mixed media and photography of the human body.  
  Venue 159: The DB Group - Mark and Tracy Nesbit - Langport
See Mark's coloured and textured paintings that use plaster and chemistry to create their rich, dynamic surfaces and Tracy's mixed-media craft items as well as conceptual art. Viewers to this venue be sure to ask, what the 'DB' in 'The DB Group' stands for...
Venue 174: Unravelled (Leah Hislop, Bryony Tidball, Nina Gronw-Lewis) - Cotley Nr Chard
Its the return of the Tithe Barn! The infamous Tithe Barn, Cotley, Nr Chard makes its fourth Art Weeks appearance this time hosting a weaving of installations, sculpture and thread. Worth visiting alone to see this work in a unique and unusual context that is the Tithe Barn. A specially created venue for this year's art weeks.
Interactive weaving wall (open daily)
Weaving workshops on weekends- bring textiles from your past
Saturday 22nd storytelling - weaving words and spinning yarns 6pm
Sunday 30th Leah Hislop site specific installation will be finished and revealed 11-6  
  Venue 188: Lopen Farm House (Pauline Rook, Anna Howie, Steve Payter) - South Petherton
Looking through the guide this venue stood out to me purely for the visual images (of which one of three is shown here) which look like excellent examples of photography.

"Three very different photographers are showing their work in Lopen, south Somerset. Pauline who works in Rural Documentary, Steve who produces photographically 'Image Art' and Anna with her fabulous images - never previously seen - of wild horses in the Camargue." -Pauline Rook
  Venue 194: Kathrin Khan-Davis - Hinton St George
'Upcycled' jewellery and gifts! This looks and sounds very cool! Plus there are workshops on Sundays if interested (booking required).
Venue 197: Jenny Mellings - Crewkerne
Photographic meets painted landscapes, I was intrigued by this image in the guide. The red looking trees, plants and landscape reminded me of the 'red weed' that takes over the Earth in H G Wells' 'War of the Worlds'. It might be completely nothing to do with that, but I like the unfamiliar-ness to the look of this landscape that I'd be intrigued to see if its continued in her other work.
  Venue 204: Hacker Farm Pop-up Museum - Yeovil
Another inventive concept from the creative minds at Hacker Farm. This time taking over empty shop spaces in Yeovil's Quedam shopping centre to create an installation that is part gallery/part museum. Interacting with Yeovil's rich history and creating new work in the form of QR codes, punk rock posters and tractor parts (that's where the 'farm' part comes in) -expect an exciting fusion of new and old coming together!  
Venue 219: Richard Pomeroy - Bruton
Large scale body-prints, paintings and drawings from Richard Pomeroy (who those of you who remember exhibited at The Brewhouse gallery earlier this year). Big, bold, contemporary and colourful, I look forward to seeing what Richard will be doing next!
Phew! And here's another twenty or so, that whilst I didn't include in the image above I'd still recommend a visit to:

‘Outside the box’ at Kings College- venue 139
‘Thread’ at Somerset College- venue 142
The Studio Diane Burnell- venue 143
Ashar Works on plaster- venue 185

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