Welcome to the Gallery

Imagine is set in the Suffolk village of Long Melford.
This is an attempt to record the daily trials, tribulation and pleasure of running an art gallery.

Monday, 14 February 2011

All or nothing.
It seems to be the case with almost everything in life
but at the moment I am referring to life in the gallery.
After an unprecedented fantastic start to the year I had started to find myself in the position where I was thinking "we could run out of art".
This is something that "couldn't" happen as we always have twice as much as we can show at any given time, so I suppose what I mean is the more unusual collectible pieces.
Although I don't want to sit on the fence and decide what is or not collectible.
What I am trying to describe are the different objects/art that I love but which I have recognised are perhaps a little too unusual, or only for the discerning taste.
Here I go again.
What I am trying to say is that the things that I love I have come to understand are a little unusual, and in fact you can't buy them elsewhere.
A strange thing is people love to buy what they have seen elsewhere, they start to believe that
this must be good because they have seen it before.
Don't ask me to explain it, I'm just an idiot who loves unusual things that you can't find elsewhere.

So it seems that my beautiful "things" are being recognized for the for the incredible art that they are, and suddenly the demand for them has gone beyond anything that I have experienced and it had started to play at the back of my mind that maybe "things are selling too fast".
What a dilemma!
I'm sure that if you spoke to any shop holder at the moment then this would be a dream come true. After all they only have to pick up the telephone and order "more of the same".
It doesn't work like that for us.
I love everything here and I really want it to sell, both for us and the artist, but when it does I always feel a sense of loss, and then the worry.
"How am I going to get "anything" to replace that?
These times are the best and the worst.
So having spent the past week worrying as I watched more and more pieces disappear,
then thinking "how can I replace them", nature has stepped in.
"Human nature", that is.
Different people have called me asking "are you OK or do you need something new"?
"Yes please", has been my reply to everyone.
So now I find that my cup may soon overflow [impossible].
New art from people like Paul Priest, Lucinda Brown, Gaynor Ostinelli, Tamsin Abbott.
All at once, plus the expectation of new pieces by the famous sculptor Emma Rodgers.
Add to this an imminent exhibition with sculptures by Anne Morrison and paintings by Lindsey Carr, I'm suddenly back where I want to be.
Too much beautiful work with not enough space to display it all.

On top of this, in the background have been some things "bubbling away", or to be more precise orders for various unusual sculptures from Karen. Her sculptures are always in demand but this is the first time that we have had a 'backlog' of commissions for her.
Time has been pressing as different buyers needed their sculptures by definite but different dates, which have all been drawing closer, and closer.
Unfortunately because of the distance between us Karen and I meet only a few times a year, but this meeting couldn't be put off any longer. So we arranged a "collection".
That of course is an artistic term for "meet you halfway down the A1 at a service station".
It's such a high life in the art world, I have just come to love motorway coffee.

This meeting was different, not only was I collecting pre-sold commissions but Karen had also decided to "have a play" and to give me some new things that she was "mucking" about with.

They were a breath of fresh air, so innocent yet beautiful.
Being a girl from "up't north", she had made me some northern wildlife sculptures.
I suppose they could be southern wildlife but these all had "attitude" and reflected the area where she lives.
An ex-mining community. Not "ex" by their choosing but by the decision of the past Tory Government under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher.
The time when there was a war against miners and the union that represented them.
I don't need to record my own memories of this as it is all now history, but sadly the unemployment that followed isn't.
Where she lives is a very sad "ugly" but "beautiful" location.
It is a photographers dream.
Watching the "old boys" sitting outside their allotment sheds, or releasing their racing pigeons, or even just pushing old prams along the road laden with salvaged building materials, wonderful but a sad place.
The reminder of a life gone by, what was a vibrant community now just a place of mass unemployment.
It is in this environment that Karen works, with a house and garden full children, animals and love. It is full of life and happiness, which is why they have so many visitors.
The door is never locked and when pushing it open you have no idea who might greet you.

Her latest creations are "animals of northern England".
I have them here.
They are totally innocent, devoid of any pretension and are made "because I wanted to".

We have Badgers, dressed up for a "night on the town", Robins wearing "cloth caps" and old "schoolteacher owls", all of them dressed up for the northern climate with their leather waistcoats, little scarves and polished boots.
Most amazingly of all she gave me a "Woodcock Pilot".
Never heard of it?
Nor had I, but apparently the Woodcock and the Goldcrest, both migrating birds arrive on the northeastern coastline from Europe at the same time each year .
The Goldcrest is far too small to have flown over the North Sea, so according to myth and legend they rode on the back of the much larger Woodcock, so arriving at the same time.
They were the "Woodcock Pilots".

As far as I know, but I will have to check with the 'Natural History Museum' we are the first
people to exhibit this phenomenon.

If I had time I would show more, but time I have little of so here are a very few of her
Northern Creatures.

Friday, 4 February 2011

A year ago, for the very first time we exhibited the paintings by an artist named
Lindsey Carr.
I had admired her incredible and very unusual work for some time and was desperate to get her
work here on show in the gallery. As usual I can't remember how I came to know of her and I have no recollection of how we made contact, but we did, and of course in the fullness of time she showed with us. It was a joint exhibition with another incredible artist Mark Rowney.
In fact I have a feeling that their show together might have been my first ever post and attempt
at "blogging" [or talking to myself as it now feels].
At her first showing we sold only a couple of paintings and this bothered me, but not much.
Before she left to go home I asked if she would come back in a years time and have a solo exhibition of her unusual work. Her first and our first, if you know what I mean.
She agreed, and now here we are one year later with the days to the opening racing past.

Of course as time passed we sold everything that she had shown with us, something that wasn't too hard as Lindsey has built up [in her own quite way] a massive following.
During one short year she has gone on to greater and greater things, her work is seen around the World and is in greater demand.
But, if you were to talk to her you would never know of this.
She is modest, too modest.
No, that is incorrect, she has no vanity whatsoever and produces her art because she can and she wants to. She has no quest for greatness, just to produce great art.
This she has achieved but the only person unaware of this is her, like all real artists she
"just knows it can be better".
This week she told me that one beautiful painting wasn't good enough to show and that she would have to do it again.
Really? It looked fantastic to me.
But that doesn't matter she is working to her own standards not other peoples, and that I can
totally appreciate and feel humbled by.
She is way behind with the paintings and "toys" that she had intended to produce for us,
as recently a terrible event occurred in her life.
Why she didn't call me and cancel the exhibition I will never know, but I think that she felt that she owed it to me because she understood how much I wanted to show her art.
So this week we had a "wee" chat [as she would describe it] and I now have a greater understanding of what she is trying to do for me, and with very little time to do it.
What can I say?
Nothing , or at least nothing to convey how touched by the effort she is going to.

But I think in a way the exhibition will help her and give her a focus and a goal.
She is doing something to help someone else.
That someone is me.
She didn't want to let me down or disappoint me, plus she must know that their are a lot of people who are excited and looking forward to this rare event.
So in just a very short space of time she has been producing some incredible and totally different work. As and when she could she has sent me "snaps" of work in progress.
I couldn't be more excited, if only I could afford them I would purchase everything for myself.
I truly believe that this is a young woman who is on the verge of greatness.
But don't tell her that, she wouldn't understand what you were talking about.
Her paintings have always been beautiful but the new work has a gentleness and real sensitivity to it.
As one of her collectors in America told me earlier this week,
"it is all telling a story, I want to know that story".
I think the story is there for us all to see, or at least interpret in a way that means something to ourselves.
I have put some of her snaps on our web site and the response has been incredible, in fact I am
starting to worry in case there will be nothing left unsold when we open the door for the opening.

It had originally been intended as a one woman exhibition,
but now we have mutually agreed that it will be a two woman show.
Lindsey's paintings will be shown alongside the sculptures of Anne Morrison.
Both from Glasgow and both producing moving art.
It was one piece of Anne's that has given birth to the title of the exhibition.
'Wings Of Hope'.
It so fitted the events in Lindsey's life that I could think of no other.

I will tell you of Anne soon, but firstly here is a little of what we will show by Lindsey.