I am pleased to announce that following the flood last December, the gallery has been re-fitted and is finally ready to re-open. It has been a challenging few months dealing with the enormous damage caused by the flood, but we’ve made it through, we’re back in the game and are keen to get back on track! The re-launch will be on Wednesday 7 June, and it would be a pleasure to see you all there to help celebrate the gallery’s survival. The first exhibition is ‘The Wild Wood’, a show about how imagination colours perceptions of reality. It will feature the work of three international artists: Stephen Walter, Carolein Smit, and El Gato Chimney.
Stephen Walter’s drawings are grand and complex like the world they seek to master. In ‘The Wild Wood’ we are pleased to present the first exhibition of his new forest drawings. Much like Stephen’s well-known maps, they use the image of a physical place as a frame for an abundance of mark-making. Large and ambitous, these works grapple with a complexity that seems infinite whilst still giving each detail its own importance. By rendering his imagery through such intensity, and by making even the smallest twig or branch the object of care and attention, Stephen’s works come to represent a terrain that is as much psychological as it is physical.
Carolein Smit’s sculptures come from the magical world of myth and folklore, drawn from the centuries-old archetypes that inhabit our story-telling past. The Medusa from Greek mythology, the sacrificial lamb, or the Borometz from medieval travellers’ tales of the Orient: in Carolein’s work these misty memories come to life with the vividness of jewels, invigorated with a sense of theatre that make them seem like cameo appearances on an imaginary odyssey. Exquisity worked, precious and brilliant, Carolein’s sculptures bring out into the light some of the most fascinating and enduring elements of our shared imagination.
El Gato Chimney’s paintings depict magical birds as if they were bag ladies or hobos, inhabitants of an endless forest given over to perpetual wandering. Compulsive hoarders, they carry their worlds on their backs, craving the comfort of everyday objects until they become patterned by their cargo. Their hybrid adornment is reminiscent of syncretic saints and shamans, where each fabric is imbued with a sense of meaning and hope. The fires that surround these birds echo this most basic of instincts: to fetishise objects, giving them meaning beyond themselves, and carrying them with us as if we were keeping a flame alive.
‘The Wild Wood’ opens on Wednesday 7 June, 6:30 – 8:30. It would be lovely to see you there to help celebrate the re-launch of the gallery.