Today I have been on an art hunt – it’s a bit like a bear hunt but without the bear. Instead there are foxes, badgers, sheep, birds and insects..
I’ve been to a pop up exhibition in the dining room of two Herefordshire artists Shannon Donovan and Andrew Eastwood. The thing about this event is that it perfectly illustrates the situation for artists in rural locations when it comes to showing their work.
I have shown in around a dozen exhibitions in the area and been to several as a visitor. I’ve been pondering the plight of many rural artists in getting work shown. Quite often it’s a case of all dressed up and nowhere to go! In straightforward terms we have many talented artists in the area –often they are attracted here by the beauty and tranquillity of the area. With rural beauty also comes limited cultural experiences and high costs of travel. Whilst the local networks amongst artists are healthy the opportunities to show and sell work are limited.
The galleries that do exist are good and events such as the open studios bring in lots of visitors. But on the whole artists struggle with the isolation of being a long way from a large hub of creative activities.
Discovering Shannon and Andrews’ home-based exhibition is really refreshing. Shannon explained how they moved to the small Herefordshire town a few years ago. As they were decorating their dining room they decided to put up a hanging rail for their own pictures, then thought they should put some good lighting in. They soon realised that they had actually created a gallery space in their own home.
Shannon and I talked about the need to create your own opportunities as an artist, and to work inclusively involving other artists and networks. The temporary exhibition is in its second month. It opens Friday to Sunday and features a guest artist. The house, a former butcher’s shop, in part prompted the gallery name – The Leg of Mutton.
I’m really behind Shannon and Andrew in their proactive approach to showing work and to making art accessible. The gallery is light and the work well curated, there is a warm welcome and great affordable art on sale. Looking forward to next months’ Leg of Mutton show!
Shannon works with ceramics, her current work incorporates casts of animal skulls – found whilst out walking (hence the animal reference above!) and juxtaposes animal form with floral pattern finished and glazed to a really high standard. shannon-donovan.com
Andrew Eastwood experiments with the delicate properties of porcelain dealing with representational objects (birds included) and abstract pattern. The works are presented in deep beautiful box frames. andrew-eastwood.com
Guest artist Jane Tudge makes beautifully haunting and delicate images in wax. Works are both large and small and Jane is now producing 3D work in wax also. The subject matter involves memory and include delicate lace, children’s clothing and insects.