Exciting Contemporary Art Arrives in the Cotswolds

20 November 2013 § 2 Comments

‘Exciting’ and ‘contemporary art‘ are not words that you would usually associate with the word ‘Cotswolds‘ – Land Rovers, Labradors and Leaders of the Conservative party perhaps come to mind more readily. Other than a mere handful of galleries in Oxford and Bristol the whole region has a desperate dearth of places where one can reasonably claim to be able to enjoy the type of contemporary art which one could genuinely define as being ‘innovative’ or ‘fresh’.

Jonny Briggs

Jonny Briggs

Fortunately this has now changed. The new owners of an historic grade II listed Victorian gothic mansion (apologies for the mouthful, but that’s exactly what it is) have opened a new contemporary art space, High House Gallery. For the last 18 months they have been bringing all that is innovative and interesting from the London art scene out in to the (contemporary) artistic wilderness that is ‘Poshtershire’.

Adeline de Monseignat

Adeline de Monseignat

Located in Clanfield, close to the border between Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire the indoor space has a rotating exhibition programme whilst the formal gardens have hosted garden displays of contemporary works – do not think stone and bronze, instead how about concrete, glass, steel and whalebone (!).

Rinko-Kawauchi

Rinko-Kawauchi

Exhibitions so far have mostly tented towards the pick of recent graduates from top London art colleges such as Chelsea, St Martins, Goldsmiths and RCA. Lindsey Bull, Gabriella Boyd, Tom Howse and  are excellent examples of HHG artists that should go far.

Gabriella Boyd

Gabriella Boyd

In addition there are a sprinkling of talented overseas artists like the Portuguese photographer Virgilio Ferreira and US artist Andrew Leventis.

Andrew Leventis

Andrew Leventis

Furthermore the gallery not only consults on all aspects of contemporary art but holds a stock of top international artists. Quality pieces are currently available to buy from the likes of George Shaw, John Stezaker, Ryan McGinley and Mariah Robertson.

Mariah Robertson

Mariah Robertson

The big news for the start of next year is that the opening exhibition of the 2014 season features a touring version of the highly regarded Griffin Art Prize. Fitting well with the gallery ethos it is limited to recent (5 year limit) graduates. The shortlist for the prize is currently on show at the Griffin Gallery in West London. For those who have not been able to see the show there its excursion out to the Cotswolds is well worth catching.

Griffin Art Prize

Griffin Art Prize

Visit the High House website to register for news of new exhibitions and events by email, Facebook or Twitter.

Griffin Art Prize 2013 touring show is at High House Gallery 16 January – 16 February 2014.

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young gods at the griffin gallery

21 January 2013 § Leave a comment

For those not acquainted with the recently-opened Griffin Gallery it is a great new space on the ground floor of Colarts in West London. A manufacturer of artists products – Winsor & Newton, Liquitex, Conte a Paris being examples – they are also keen supporters of contemporary art in the UK.

Steven AllanIts current show, Young Gods, is taking place simultaneously across two locations in west and east London. Selected and curated by Zavier Ellis, director of Shoreditch gallery Charlie Smith and co-founder of The Future Can Wait, the exhibition will be a multi-disciplinary presentation of London’s most exciting graduates from the summer of 2012.

Griffin GalleryFocusing on the theme of artists’ materials at the Griffin Gallery, this exhibition includes four painters in Steven Allan, Andrew Leventis, Sikelela Owen and Sheila Wallis and there is not a weak link between them. Allan actually emerged on the scene a couple of years back – his striking large format canvases featuring bizarre scenes enacted by inanimate objects like bananas and pots. Saatchi liked them enough to buy and he is now a well-established presence in a number of good London galleries with a price tag that reflects this.

Andrew LeventisIn complete contrast Leventis, a Goldsmiths graduate, paints small scale, finely rendered canvases that feature enigmatic everyday interiors that also engage with the histories of art and television. Here The Dreaming is an almost photographic rendering of a dimly lit unmade bed marked by its mysterious absence of a person.

Sheila WallisSheila Wallis works are tiny – a few inches across – but are immaculately painted in a monochrome palette appropriate to the, deliberately contrasting, historical source images.

Sikelela OwenThe last painter, Sikelela Owen makes loose, figurative works of family and friends that hark back to early Modernist paintings with an undefined and exotic mystery.

Last but not least in this excellent small show sculptor George Rae has recreated his life-size clay tree Quercus Robur inside the gallery. Cracking and disintegrating it bemoans the loss of craft in contemporary art.

I can highly recommend a visit, and if the quality is anything to go by the second half of the show at Charlie Smith should be well worth a trip.

Young Gods is at the Griffin Gallery and Charlie Smith until 16 February 2013

 

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