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’.
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’.
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 (!).
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.
In addition there are a sprinkling of talented overseas artists like the Portuguese photographer Virgilio Ferreira and US artist 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.
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.
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.
- Elizabeth Price wins £60,000 Contemporary Art Society Annual Award (akickupthearts.wordpress.com)
- Virgilio Ferreira – Uncanny Places at High House Gallery (akickupthearts.wordpress.com)
- Griffin Art Prize 2013 Touring Venues Announced (akickupthearts.wordpress.com)
- Contemporary art in London (paulsmith.co.uk)
Virgilio Ferreira – Uncanny Places at High House Gallery
21 October 2013 § 1 Comment
High House Gallery always seems like a secret shared by juts a few. Tucked away in a pretty as a picture Cotswold village (with, I am delighted to say, the obligatory historic Cotswold pub) it is a delight to be able to see the finest quality contemporary art unecumbered by the hassle of parking restrictions, city noise, busy traffic and free from pompous, self-important gallery assistants. This month Portuguese artist Virgilio Ferreira has been selected for a wonderful solo show, his clever takes on city life providing an excellent contrast with the leafy gallery location.
Ferreira deals with the uncanny and intangible. His light-as-a-feather photography weaves in and out of focus, playing with perception and sight. Looking to capture impressions that are vague or intangible, he includes notions of social and everyday life. Creatively exploring the analogue photographic process Ferreira attempts to deny any fixed reality or a the vision that is offered by the camera. Aesthetically, the images have many similarities with qualities of painting or drawing.
Deliberately using a process which is difficult to control he simultaneously articulates many tools and elements during the capture of the image. These include: experimenting with focus, or the lack of it, multiple layers, obstructions, appearances and disappearances, as well as liquid colours. He explores the representativity of the invisible and creates atmospheres with subjective impact on reception, challenging the nature of perception.
Ferreira states that “Feelings and perceptions are developing into a more fluid, less concrete state, made of blurred realities. It seems that there is a growing sense of doubt about how to live in this era of uncertainty.
“People fascinate me and what emanates from them, such as behaviours, emotional expressions and gestures, cultural codes and the spiritual quality of being. There are people that attract me and make me stop, regardless of photographing these individuals or not. In general I spend a lot of time watching the other and myself.”
The works are reasonably priced – immaculately mounted and framed and in small editions they start at less than £1000. High House are not yet required to charge VAT so you effectively can immediately save about 20% – at this price Virgilio Ferreira is well worth a much closer look.
Exhibition runs until Sunday 3 November 2013 / Thursday – Sunday 11am – 5pm
High House Gallery, Main Street, Clanfield, Oxon OX18 2SH
t 01367 810126 m 07951 681571
Virgilio Ferreira was born in Portugal currently attending MA Photography University of Brighton. He has taken an advanced course on Cinematographic Photography, at the International School of Cinema, the Higher Photography Course at the École des Arts Paris as well as the Porto Technical School of Photography. He lives and works between UK and Porto. He has has thirteen international solo exhibitions in the last six years. He was winner of the 1st International Photography Prize, Encontros da Imagem, Portugal and of the FNAC New Talent Award, Portugal.
High House Gallery. Founded in 2011 by Martin Jenner and situated within a grade II listed Victorian mansion and recently-restored formal gardens located in the Oxfordshire village of Clanfield, the gallery promotes only the best in critically-engaged contemporary art. The innovative exhibition programme features both solo shows and curated group exhibitions from an international roster of gallery and invited artists.