Thursday, 26 February 2009

the open west 2009

Caroline and I have been up to the Summerfield Gallery this afternoon (at the University of Gloucestershire's Pittville Campus), to see part of a new show, called the open west 2009. It's rather good.

As wide a variety of contemporary art as you could wish to find is well shown in a wonderful space. And it's not just a case of never mind the quality: feel the width, as the finish of most of the work is excellent.

In the background of my snapshot you can see Soo Jung Choi's "Romeo and Juliet", a charming and thought-provoking essay on a familiar theme (acrylic on canvas). (Foreground: the exhibition's hard-working organisers, Sarah Goodwin and Lyn Cluer Coleman.)

"Romeo and Juliet" rubs shoulders with Clara Clark's "train", a large, noisy, primitive-looking sculpture ("chicken wire, paper, sawdust, wood, motor, pulley"); whilst around the corner you find Jessica Harrison's stomach-churning, almost pointilliste "Monster" ("fly legs on paper").

Yesterday, I visited the other venue where the show is up, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum. What impressed me there was the lyricism of Anna Bush Crews' film "Seapot 24 (the spout)", and the extraordinary concentration of Thurle Wright's paper constructions. Not that I would want to buy one.

You can catch the open west 2009 anytime over the next five or so weeks. By the way, some male artists have been selected also!

What a rare joy to find such ambitious displays in Cheltenham!

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