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.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

I think that I may have mentioned before that I am easily distracted.
So although it had been my intention to show some RELIQUARY pieces that have been arriving,
I got distracted.
For some time now I have been intending to put some beautiful pictures on the blog of different
artworks that have been "tucked away" for our opening, but with so much happening in a short space
of time this has never come about, until today.

I have mentioned the amazing paintings that we have received from the French artist Anne Bachelier.
Well to my great delight she has created another 'Reliquary' painting for the opening,
at the moment it still lives in France but tomorrow it will be on its way to us.
This was enough to have me excited, but my good fortune doesn't stop there.
I have been corresponding with another French artist,
Christine Aurel-Petit.
She has sent me a book of her paintings that I love and which are very different to anything we have shown before. Today she has said that she will try to have two paintings here in time for our opening.
To say that I am excited about what will be on show would be something of an understatement.
I can't wait.

Unfortunately I do have a tendency to think that everything on show is mine, and it is with mixed emotions that I understand that it isn't when pieces find new homes.
But, for a moment in time everything is mine.
So I will look forward to receiving "my" new paintings.

The gallery opening is going to be a little unusual for us, as normally it is an "exhibition" that we invite people to but this time the invitation is almost for two events.
The RELIQUARY exhibition plus the opening of our new space.
Because at last we do have "space" this means that everything will be different.
So even though the exhibition will be under way it will also give people, who usually only attend exhibitions a chance to see the varied art that we show on a daily basis.
This is the reason that I am showing the art above.
Only the painting by Anne is specific for the exhibition, the others are things that I have held back
plus of course the new paintings by Christine.

Two of the above are by another female artist.
Jane Lewis.
Someone who creates the most magnificently disturbing pictures that I have come across,
for me it is immense personal pleasure that at last a few pieces by her are upon our walls.

The last picture is equally unusual.
'The Angels of Salthouse' by Alan Page.
Salthouse is a location in the county of Norfolk, and the church exists as in the painting.
The meaning of the host of Angels surrounding the church I don't understand.
But it is said, that the graveyard is very large and extends towards the sea which means that there is space for many lost souls within it.
Who knows? I don't care I just love it.
It is beautiful, very simple yet it is easy to get lost for a long time staring at it, and becoming part of it.

So Above are:

Anne Bachelier
Christine Aurel-Petit
Jane Lewis
Alan Page

Saturday, 26 May 2012

"Kids, what are they like"?
Those 'wizzkid' youngsters at Blogger almost stopped me writing this.
They used to say "if it ain't broke don't fix it".
To someone like me, it now seems it's a case of "lets **** it,  just because we can and they pay us".

Which is obviously a sign of my age or their admittance that it wasn't very good before.
Anyway, lets give it a go,
although I'm not going to use any of those fantastic new templates and stuff,
they weren't there when I needed them, and having to "make do" then, I will continue doing so.

Back to the real world.

Which of course is not true as I do appreciate more and more that "my world"
is not really the "real" world and for that I am very fortunate, and I never forget or cease to think
"how lucky am I"?

With the fast approach of our opening exhibition things are becoming a little bit fraught, and I confess
at the moment I just can't imagine how everything will be completed and ready on time for 
June 10th.
But, somehow I just know that it will be.
This is only because there are people involved who I know I can rely on, and that is a blessing.
Getting the building finished, decorated, and ready to hold an opening exhibition is a "full on"
experience, but, at the back of my mind I have had the concerns that I might be let down by artists.
Why? You might ask.
Because I haven't had enough time to correspond with them, and to remind them how important this is to us as a gallery. Normally I would be in contact with all artists involved in an exhibition to discuss
and plan things, but this time I have had no time to do that and it has concerned me.
I need not have worried.
Different artists from around the world [literally] have been in contact and at the moment there is a wealth of beautiful artifacts on there way to us.

In fact they are not all "on route" as some arrived here today.

Margaret Brampton delivered her beautiful, gentle Reliquary's.
Some in my opinion the best she has made, although she has never made a bad one.
In all honesty, Margaret was the biggest inspiration behind our opening exhibition.
I am not only a great admirer of her work but also her 'blog', where she spends more time promoting the work of others rather than her own.
That is a rare thing, and I have been the lucky recipient and reader of her trips to different museums,
where she photographs the wonderful creations she admires.

Her words, work and photographs inspired this opening exhibition.

From her inspiration I became excited and that excitement took me to many destinations around the globe, and to my amazement I found many artist who were creating Reliquary's.
As a result I have had lovely conversations with people that I have never met but who are creating incredible art that can only be described as a "Reliquary".

One such person is Sim Taylor who arrived today with his sculptures.
I will talk more of him and his work when I have photographed it, but I fear that no photographs will capture the "magnificence" of his creations.
But, more later.

So not only did I have the arrival of Margaret and Sim's work in one day, I also had confirmation that
other pieces of art were on their way from France, America and even Alaska.

Not bad for a gallery in rural Suffolk, but not something that I take lightly at all.
These are "world stage" artists and I consider myself very, very fortunate.

So the work above that doesn't belong to Margaret is by three different artists.

Anne Bachelier, the French painter.
Anne to my great amazement and delight asked "could she contribute a Reliquary painting"?
I'm still getting over the shock and delight of such a request.

Another is Daniel Essig, the famous and so incredibly talented "book maker" from America.
His work has long intrigued and delighted me, so to think that some will be on show here is such an
incredible personal pleasure. Plus he is such a nice man.

Lastly, but by no way least is Stephen Godfrey.
A ceramist who lives in Alaska.
The very thought of showing an artist from there, "here" in rural England leaves me feeling numb.
Although it is hard to find much of his work on the Internet, everything that I have seen I have loved
and it became something of a personal crusade to track him down and to ask him
"would he be involved"?
He is.

Today he told me that after the snowiest winter on record spring has at last arrived, the trees are budding and the snow is melting from the trails.
He attached a picture of one of his favourite places 'Matanuska Glacier'.

Even though here we have had a hot English summer's day I find it moving to think that we are all so close and connected by the love of and the creation of art.
Thank you.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

I really did intend to spend a little more time writing my blog but I hadn't expected to write again so soon after my last post, after all "once a week" would be lots by my standards.
But, different art and pictures of promised pieces keep arriving and I want to share some of the excitement that I am feeling, so here is something new.

As I explained even though we are now open work on completing the building still continues.
I had anticipated having a "grand opening" almost immediately but fortunately Irene is a little more realistic and she tries to temper my enthusiasm with an occasional reality check.
This has been one such occasion.
She persuaded me that my ambition of having an opening within a week was just
"a little bit" unrealistic.
"You know what you are like, you will never be happy. It will be a case of, that's not right,
let's re-do that, I want to think that through, lets move that, rebuild this.....etc, etc".
It's horrible when someone knows you too well.

So it was decided to put back the opening to a date when we felt that we should be 'really' finished
and happy with everything.
That date will be June 10

I have had planned for sometime an exhibition with the title
I have searched and have found many descriptions for this word, for me the one most apt is :
"a container for relics".
But I also like to think of them as just being a precious container, preferably with something
mysterious, ancient or magic within.
But then a vase could also be found with the same description.
Whatever way you think or choose to describe a Reliquary, that is going to be
our first exhibition in the new gallery.
In fact we decided to make it the "grand opening".
Of course we will have many unrelated works of art on display at the same time
but it seemed the ideal timing for the exhibition.

There will be several artists working in different mediums contributing their very own interpretation
on the subject, all of them different and exciting.
Today I started to receive photographs from different people involved and although I hadn't
intended to show anything yet I just couldn't resist sharing this unusual contribution.

It has been created by a partnership, Jan & Jon Mayle.
Some people may remember the very unique and unusual nursery rhyme clock
that Jon created for us a while ago. Well this is equally as unusual.
A silver spoon inside a box.
OK, so that is not so unusual but it is when you know of the origins.
The silver spoon was created by Jon, it is totally unique but not entirely original.
The original version of this spoon was buried underground,
not just underground but underground and inside a ship.
The famous 'Sutton Hoo' burial ship.
Once thought to be a Viking burial ship but more recently believed to be the resting place of the
Anglo Saxon King, Raedwald.
Along with his ship there was a fantastic hoard of treasure, included amongst the relics was a
silver spoon. 
Inscribed on the spoon was the name PAULOS.

Using original archaeologist drawings and exact measurements, Jon created an exact replica.
By itself a little piece of history and highly collectable.
Added to this Jan [a ceramic sculptor] created a Reliquary to hold the piece.
Complete with a silk bag decorated with Celtic designs.
For me there combined talents have not only created something beautiful, but also a work
that describes my interpretation of the exhibition title.

I will show other pictures of contributed work, but this is a start.
Not a bad one.

Monday, 14 May 2012

It would be nice to say that "things are back to normal",
that wouldn't be true as we have much to get finished before we hold a "Grand Opening".
But at least now that the doors are open it has allowed a small opportunity to catch up on with many neglected things. One of these has been showing the new and varied pieces of art that have been arriving.
Many times I have had the thought "I must show this on the blog", but time and many jobs hasn't allowed that to happen, but the thoughts have still been there in my mind.
In particular there has been one artist whose work I have really wanted to share,
an artist from France, her name is
Anne Bachelier.
A name almost as romantic and mysterious as her paintings.
Anne is a very well known and is collected worldwide, amongst her many achievements there is one that had really excited me.
She has illustrated an edition of Lewis Carroll's
'Alice in Wonderland'.
It is not hard to understand how such a marriage came about as with all of her paintings,
each individual piece is a story by itself, and her illustrated version of the book truly is a work of art.

I can't tell you just how happy I am to have her paintings to exhibit, I never dared to hope or expected to be able to persuade Anne to let us show her work and I truly thought that it was something that wouldn't happen, especially taking into account that each of us can hardly speak the others language.
So, maybe it was just meant to be.

Luckily her paintings don't need any interpretation, and I think to try and give one would be a shame
as each holds a story from our own imagination. 

Friday, 11 May 2012

This time a lot 'really' has happened since the last post.
We have moved to a new home, or rather the gallery has a new home
The new home is not actually new as like our last premises it is a very old building, but it is new to us.
The move has been "on and off" for nearly nine months and we had resigned ourselves to the fact that it would never happen until a few short weeks ago when I received a call asking
"would you be interested if....................."?
As a result the past few weeks have been a whirlwind of planning, moving and decorating,
I think that it would be fair to say we are exhausted, but there is no time to rest as we still have much to do before holding the "grand opening".

It all feels very strange and a little unreal and I am still awaiting for events to catch up with me,
or I suppose what I mean is that it all feels very normal and I hadn't expected that.
I also thought that I would feel a great sadness leaving the old building.
After all it has been my home [almost literally] for nearly seven years and the events that happened there really changed my life beyond recognition.
Having the gallery has been both the best and worst thing that we have done.
It has taken an awful toll on both our personal and financial lives, but for me it has become my life.
I often think back on my pre-gallery life, I think about the different places that I worked at, and the time
invested in making other people and companies successful regardless of the needs of my own family,
whose only demands were to see a little more of me.
So with having a place of my own, 'Imagine Gallery', I certainly wasn't going to start slacking and taking it easy as this time "it was personal".
It has been bloody hard, a lot of worry but a lot of fun.
But I certainly don't miss the old building.

Anyway, about the "new" building and why we moved.

Although everyone who visited seemed to love our old space,
for a very long time
we have felt that we had out-grown it.
Yes, it was full of beautiful and exciting works of art of all kinds, but, it was starting to feel too full.
Without a doubt art of all kinds needs a space of its own so that it can be viewed in isolation
and for a long time our space was becoming smaller.
Here we were a gallery in a rural area outside London showing different art from well known and even famous artists, all of them fighting for enough space.
Of course, this is how it seemed to me. Actually the artists who travelled [sometimes from Europe] to
see us all liked the place and would tell me "it is different".
So who knows?
All I am certain of is that we felt that it was time to grow.

So, as a result Irene has moved her framing business from Lavenham and now we are together in a
larger building which we feel has the room for us to grow and to bring to fruition some long held dreams and plans.
We initially dreamt and talked of having a gallery 40 years ago, now perhaps at last we can bring our
combined visions together and create a special place.
Of course for us whatever happens it will always be special.

With the help of some good friends we have worked non stop for two weeks to have the gallery
open for this weekend.
It is by no means finished but at least it is open for "business as usual" [or nearly as usual].
Different works of art have been arriving constantly for the past month, so many artists have tried to help and support our move by creating new pieces in time for us to show.
Many others will be wondering what has happened as almost all of my correspondence has stopped as
I have had so little time. So if anyone thinks that I have been ignoring them,
perhaps they will understand why.

Tomorrow will be our first day of opening, only a small part of the building is ready and the rest will need another couple of weeks work before we are ready to show the public but it will all be ready and beautiful in time for our first exhibition.

So below are just a few snaps that I have taken this afternoon.
The displays are still a little disjointed and things will definitely be moved around over the coming days
especially when we start completing the different area's on the first floor.
Oh, I didn't mention that we have a terrace on the first floor where I hope in time to have few pieces outdoor sculpture, plants, tables and chairs [ready for some sun].
Who knows?

We have the plans and the dreams, at the moment these are the pictures of today's reality.