Sunday, 2 January 2011

Hidden Portraits - Exhibition Preview

One of the great fascinations of our visual lives is people watching. Many of us spend time concerned with our own appearance and even more time observing the looks, movements, and perhaps the aura of other people. 'Hidden Portraits' considers what lies behind the exterior and investigates the concealed person.

The artists in this group show present many portrait and figurative styles, from the photorealistic to the abstract. There are also different interpretations of the theme; some artists look deep into facial detail and others show a faceless image and sugest a narrative from shape, colour or texture. Artists featuring in the exhibition are:

Alice Jones - sleep patterns are depicted in beautiful sensitive drawings. The images are biographical and expose what happens in one of our most private and intimate states of being.

Carl Melegari - deep textural layers and a calming palette are used to create an aura that surrounds unknown people. An identity emerges and a story develops that is very personal.

Russell Oliver - a combination of tightly painted realism and abandoned use of brushstroke and palette creates balance and conflict. The concealing of identity through foreground 'noise' and abstraction is in contrast to the precision on less important data, raising the question of how we identify people.

Harriet White - technically brilliant photo-realistic painting technique is combined with an eye for important detail to create the personality of the subject. Over scaled images encourage us to look beyond first impressions.

Paul Fenwick - there is an intensity in these portraits that creates an immediate impact. Beyond the colour is another story being told that challenges our obsession with first impressions.

Emily Kirby - emotion explodes from the expressions of the subjects. The vibrant colour and simple but significant lines leave us in no doubt about the high drama of the message.

Richard Twose - a remarkable talent for seeing beyond the surface and extracting the complex characteristics of people. Through using his daughter and her friends as subjects for this collection, we see familiar contradictions of teenage confidence, angst, and vulnerability.

Paul Bennett - a delicate touch with a powerful impact. These sad and somewhat tortured portraits are aesthetically beautiful with a simplicity of line that creates emotional intensity.

Jo Jones - bronze resin sculptures that are packed with expression using simple but striking lines and shapes.

Ulf Mark Pedersen - we welcome back a very versatile artist, who this time turns to video to interpret our theme with two 'people watching' films.

For details of more of our portrait and figurative artists, see our online portraiture brochure. As well as producing existing work, many artists apply their talents to commissions. Each artist works in a different way, so please contact us for more information on commissions.

'Hidden Portraits' opens on January 13th and runs through to February 27th.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year - 2011 preview

A very Happy New Year to all friends of View. We hope your year will be as busy and fulfilling as we're planning ours to be. Here's a brief update on what we have scheduled for the gallery in the first half of 2011.

Last few days of our 'best-sellers' exhibition

Our current show 'Here and Now' closes on January 9th. There are a few wonderful paintings and beautiful editioned bronze or resin sculptures available by four of our best-selling artists.

The private view photos are on our Facebook pages and you can hear what Catherine Knight and Amber Merrick-Potter have to say about their new collection at Vimeo. We've switched to this site for our videos because it is dedicated to quality creative video.

Coming Soon - Hidden Portraits

Our next exhibition celebrates the talents of a group of artists who interpret the theme of portraiture in many different ways; from photo-realism to abstract and from painting to video.

'Hidden Portraits' opens on January 13th with the private view (invitations will be sent to subscribers shortly). We have published a review of the show on a separate blog. Details of all our portrait and figurative artists can be seen in an online catalogue.

2011 dates for diaries

The first half of 2011 is busy with new exhibitions, collaborations and exciting events:

'Hidden Portraits' private view - January 13
'White Colour' opens - March 3
International collaboration show (title TBA) - April 21
Bristol Affordable Art Fair - May 13 to 15
UPFEST 2011 launch night - June 3

Watch out for more details on these events and other news on our blog or, to be sure of staying up to date, follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

'Here and Now' exhibition preview

Celebrating two years in the life of View, we welcome back four of our most popular and successful artists with new collections especially for our show.

There is a dichotomy in the meaning behind the show's title. On the one hand, 'Here and Now' boldly suggests that, for these emerging artists, their time has come. They will be enjoying their second or third show at View and have enjoyed continued rave reviews and commercial success.

There is also a contrary meaning to the title, where the artists appear to go to another time or place to seek inspiration for their work. Whether it be a historical place, an inner retrospection, or pure fantasy, they take you away from here and now before returning with something new to reflect upon.

The name Beth Carter is now synonymous with 'collectable' as she has developed a large following of her instantly recognisable creatures in beautiful sculptures and drawings. Beth introduces new characters in both media for this show and the imagination and quality continues to be stunning.

The stories in Catherine Knight's faceless landscapes conjure up numerous personal images where the past meets the present. Her personal relationship with the history of the subject brings a real and haunting quality to the delicate painting. Click here for video.

There seems to be no limit to the depth of thought and emotion in the self portraiture of Fran Williams. This new collection of paintings provide the next stage of an autobiographical journey of personal expression through her art.

Amber Merrick-Potter wears her artistic heart on her sleeve. She describes her paintings with the same passion that oozes through the vibrant colour and abandonment of brushstroke in her painting. Each piece is an emotional roller-coaster in its production, evidenced by the depth of layers, textures and composition. Click here for video

These very different artists create work of unique beauty that initiate intriguing stories and stimulate deep emotion. The art is also immediately accessible and has stunning aesthetic quality that grabs your intention and draws you in before capturing the imagination.

The relationship with the art that follows provides a longevity that belies its inanimate form. As I write this blog, I look across at my Minotaur Reading sculpture and paintings by these artists... my mind wanders into other times and places before returning to here and now with a new experience.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Sylvie Broussine - Art Commentator

Sylvie Broussine visits View and comments on the 'Dreaming Out Loud' exhibition.

In this latest exhibition View Art Gallery has combined five artists who, in very different ways, come together to convey their own interpretations of the sub-conscious and inner workings on the mind. The beauty of an exhibition like this is that whilst walking around, new perspectives and forms shoot out at you unexpectedly.

Take the artist Damian Daly for instance. His enigmatic, detailed piece ‘Fall of the Rebel Angels’ was at first something I saw as uplifting. I felt he was conveying a modern pseudo-religious piece using a mystical world as his subject. It wasn’t until closer inspection that I realised Daly had created what I felt to be a modern apocalyptic scene, not dissimilar to the hell-ish pieces of Hieronymus Bosch in the late fifteenth century. Suddenly, my understanding was challenged, and rather than the dream-like quality I had originally read, I felt something more nightmarish in its place.

Daly’s work constantly demands our attention when we are stood in front of it. In this piece he plays around with patterns, creating the illusion of symmetry in a work that might be better described as ‘organised chaos’. The colours he chooses for the background depict a calm, heavenly scene, whilst the more sinister black and red ‘Rebel Angels’ spiralling around the piece work to change it into something more restless. I feel this art is the perfect example of what this exhibition is all about. This image makes real the multiple layers that lie within our sub-conscious and only comes out during dreams. Just as our sleep can bring confused thoughts and feelings to the surface, so does Daly’s art on canvas.

Another example of Daly’s work where this is apparent is ‘Secret Sisters’, a multi-panelled large scale drawing, sectioned into twelve separate boards. When first appreciating the work, I reacted strongly to the appearance of a wolf-like animal centred between the two girls on either side, their hair forming a collar for the beast. It wasn’t until I read the title that the symmetrical, dancing adolescents appeared to me. By virtue of this doubled layered effect, the creature in the middle evokes a more sinister side to the piece. In fact Daly claims the creature is not necessarily a wolf, but as with all his work, this depends on the interpretation given by his audience; perhaps the fact that I noticed it before the two girls says more about my sub-conscious than anything else.

The power of the piece is emphasized by the black and white, graphite form of the work. Whilst speaking to other viewers it becomes apparent that the numerous possible perspectives, along with Daly’s clear talent, make his work truly interesting. Rather than give you any detail about the various interpretations of this, or any of his other work on show at View, I feel Daly’s work is best appreciated via your own analysis, not to be mislead by anyone else’s. With an exhibition focused on our inner thoughts and feelings, viewing this art is very much a personal experience, and viewers are encouraged to develop their own understandings. So rather than me tell you more, I think it is better for you to go visit and experience it for yourself.

Sylvie Broussine

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

'Dreaming Out Loud' exhibition preview

'Dreaming Out Loud' is a show full of unconscious moments of genius, surprises, even accidents. Six artists share a common process where the subconscious has influenced, or even taken over, to create art that tells a story from deep within.

In this new collection of work, there are recognisable forms and themes that emerge from the abstract. These have been allowed to materialise through a variety of unusual processes, such as drawing blind, creating chemical reactions, and painting in a trance-like state. There is rarely a start, middle and end; the life of this artwork goes on beyond the physical process and continues to evolve with every new viewer's interpretation.

Suzanne Partridge builds a relationship with each of her paintings, without prior thought or planning. The palette is selected from mood, and layers of paint are applied and removed repeatedly until the end result represents the emotions and thoughts she was experiencing.

In Damian Daly's paintings and drawings, initial whimsical ideas form characters that develop on a journey of story telling. Initially, innocent fairy-tale characters are influenced by personal associations and then latent meanings emerge and numerous characters evolve over long periods.

Spontaneous, improvised, unpredictable. Harry Simmonds uses a multitude of unusual techniques to create raw images of portraits in his paintings. He only allows split second glimpses of his model to create components of a painting , which are then assembled to show the important memorable elements and discarding the waste of conformity.

Ann Goodfellow returns to View with a new collection, building on her sell-out show earlier this year. Her sculptures are 'drawn' using only the sense of touch and unusual markings emerge on beautiful self modelled ceramic bodies.

Photographer Charles Emerson uses ink, water and flowers to experiment with the boundaries between photography and painting, but without the use of digital manipulation. There is a sense of theatre in the process as ink is added to submerged flowers and a unique moment is captured in the 'performance'.

Installation and video artists Becky Kidson exhibits 'Fortress', where a search light emits abstract patterns that dance around the room from a honeycomb of taleidoscopes. The projections try to distract our attention from what is locked away in the centre of the fortress.

If we could build pictures from our dreams and capture the moments as they happen, we would be sharing our inner most hidden thoughts. We could translate the surreal and cryptic images into a visual expression. We could dream out loud.

'Dreaming Out Loud' runs from September 16th to November 14th 2010

Visit for artist profiles and images of their work.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Feedback and debate

We appreciate feedback and we love a good debate. The great thing about discussing art is that there are no right and wrong opinions. Everyone's view is valid, no matter how diverse or extreme. At a recent private view I over heard an in-depth discussion about a painting that was being described as "Goya meets Michael Jackson". I also heard someone remark angrily "that's shit, I couldn't be paid to put that on my wall". Love them both.

When we put on an exhibition at View, the first thing we aim for is high impact. Of course we need to sell art to stay in business, but it is a secondary consideration when selecting work and curating exhibitions. First and foremost we have to be stimulated by the art, provoke a strong reaction, and enjoy the viewers' response.

Some people like to comment directly to us when they visit the gallery and that is very much appreciated. But for many, a gallery can be an intimidating place (we really hope ours isn't) and so we offer a number of ways of commenting on what we do. There is the comment box at the end of every blog, Twitter messages, postings on our Facebook pages, or comments on the work published on Flickr and YouTube. Whatever your preference, we hope you can spare a few minutes to tell us what you think - about what we do, don't do, or anything art related.

By the way, the picture above is of Sarah, our gallery manager, and she'll hate me for putting her photo on this blog. This is often how an artists feels when they are putting their art on display for everyone to critique. Some enjoy the attention and some are more reserved, but without exception they all crave feedback, both good and bad - indifference is the biggest insult of all.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Haiti Benefit Exhibition

We are proud to be hosting an exhibition which has the dual benefit of introducing some unique international artists whilst supporting a very good cause.

The Haiti Benefit Exhibition at View will be on from 22-25 July before it embarks on a UK tour. We are delighted to be the first venue to show these talented artists from Jacmel, Haiti, and launch the travelling exhibition. The vibrant colours and free expression in the abstract compositions relay messages of sadness and hope.

Earlier this year we all heard of the devastating effects of the earthquake in Haiti. One of the victims was an art community centre called FOSAJ, causing damage to buildings and death. The founder, Patrick Boucard, has set up a relief fund to help rebuild the centre so it can support the resident artists and the many handicapped and homeless people who benefit from their work. Follow the links for more information on FOSAJ and the Haiti Relief fund.

We at View were touched by the stories the art tells and impressed with the strength of expression in the painting. This is evidenced in the pain of the figure in the painting above, 'The Flight for Forgiveness' by Haiti artist Narbal.

We may not yet know the names of all the exhibiting artists, but they deserve a mention. The exhibition will include paintings by:

Prince Luc
Destin Domond
Rose Marie lamour
Desire Obelto
Jean Garibaldi
Marc Arthur Lamitie
Eddy Prevot
Jean Paul Sylvaince

We hope many people can enjoy the work and support the foundation in the 4 days of the show.