Search This Blog


Send Davina your news and comments

29 May 2013

Gathering of Somerset Romantics

Ignite Somerset along with ARTlife had invited Somerset artists working on projects associated with the Romantic poets to talk in front of a green screen at the Engine Room Bridgwater. The premise was simple, Richard Thomlinson of Ignite Somerset pictured above with artist Lynn Mowat, had prepped the Engine Room studio with a floor to ceiling green screen, camera, microphone, lights etc. Artists who had pre-booked a session could then make a short presentation about their practice straight to camera - the green screen would then be replaced by images of their choosing during the editing procedure.

Pictured above during filming is Alice Crane, who was talking and sewing at the same time which proved to be a trickier task than anticipated, even after years of practice - sewing that is, not just chatting!

Also attending were the three artists who are currently directly involved with producing new work as part of the re-invigoration of The Coleridge Way - pictured from left to right are

The films showcasing their particular projects, inspiration and working methods were screened during an informal lunch. The day also proved to be a great opportunity for the three to link up and discuss how their individual projects will 'knit together.' 

The Engine Room is a stunning facility and in this age of media where we are surrounded by screens at every turn, it makes the essential bridge between the artist and the technology, something which always seems to be shifting, never solid and simple like a canvas or a book. So it is great to be given such an opportunity and access to such facilities without a huge financial outlay to the artist and to be guided by professionals in their field.

Events like this are also obviously a wonderful way to meet other artists based in your region, chat over coffee and perhaps make new links and future working collaborations.

The finished films created on the day will be posted through the Ignite Somerset site.

If you would like to keep abreast of all the new artistic happenings along the Coleridge Way and their partnership with Somerset Art Works you may be interested in reading their recently launched blog In the Footsteps of The Romantic Poets

Thank you to Tracey Roberts of ARTLife for allowing the use of her photographs.

4 May 2013

Earth Air Fire Water

These two little figures are encouraging you to visit the current exhibition at
The Museum of Somerset in Taunton

EARTH AIR FIRE WATER - Somerset Artists In Their Element

Featuring the work of sixteen professional artists based in Somerset the exhibition highlights how they are not only inspired by these natural forces but also how they tame, capture and work with the elements to produce artworks - whether they be fashioning stone, controlling fire in a forge or making marks with charcoal. 

I had the opportunity to visit last week. As you walk in the show poster instantly gives the impression that here are Somerset artists 'grown up' , it's time to be taken seriously, punchingly delivering their surnames, informing you that if you don't recognise these names now, you definitely will in the future.

On entering the exhibition my eye was immediately drawn to Lyn Mowat's delicate and impossible, ethereal ladders printed onto Nepalese paper. To where would a ladder of feathers or fern leaves lead? Displayed next to her heavy oak carved woodblocks, with which she normally prints, the juxtaposition worked beautifully.

The exhibition was curated by painter and community artist Kate Lynch, many of you will be familiar with her 'muted', soft oils that document the Somerset willow growers and basket makers, or her recent study of bee keepers, so it was refreshing to see here, her strong atmospheric charcoal landscapes.

Ceramics and sculpture feature prominently in the exhibition. I particularly appreciated how  Chris Dunseath had incorporated his 3D pieces within his drawings. They brought to my mind the other worldly sketches of the Australian illustrator Shaun Tan - as here were similar forms that would inhabit similar alien worlds and yet Chris Dunseath had set them in windows overlooking  the Somerset landscape.

I thought that Tom Clark's figurative stone carvings shared similar features with the woman that inhabit Jane Mowat's prints...

An exhibition in such a clean space is far removed from the elements it wishes to celebrate and convey. For a few it it is impossible to visualise the link that some of these creations have literally been born from fire. However on Saturday the 25th May a free workshop is planned and families will be able to experience hands on activities with a stone sculptor, a metal smith and a charcoal artist - which will no doubt make the connection to the elements more visceral.

Gallery spaces can be aloof at times and placing items on a pedestal can serve to underline the professionalism and presence of a 'piece.' However on departing the cool interior of the museum into the warm sunshine Serena's willow figures are running with such joy and abandon in their fluffy trousers, that you have to smile, art can be fun and the workshops and talks planned by the museum ensure that it is accessible to all. 

The Exhibition is open until Saturday 26th July.
Open Tuesday - Saturday and Bank Holiday Mondays
10.00 am to 5.00pm Last entry 4.30pm

For further information do visit The Museum of Somerset web site by clicking here

I would like to thank The Somerset Heritage Service for allowing me to take photographs. Credits are as follows - 

Serena de la Hey
Mini Man I & II
Hay and steamed willow £1,000

Jane Mowat
Feather Ladder and Hart's tongue Ladder
Mono print on Nepalese paper £500 each

Detail of Listening to the Birds
Relief carving in Oak Not for sale

Kate Lynch
Murmuration of Starlings, Dawn Departure
Willow charcoal on paper £850

Tom Clark
Boy with Hare
Portland Stone £2,500