Submission Deadline Extended For Local Makers’ Market

 

There is still time to get involved with The New Art Gallery’s Local Makers’ Markets for 2017.

We are looking for fantastic designer-makers and artists to apply to take part in The New Art Gallery Walsall’s 2017 Local Makers’ Markets. Celebrating the wealth of talent in the region, and offering Christmas shoppers the chance to buy something unique, the Gallery will be hosting local makers during two weekend Festive Markets this November and December.

Submissions must be entered by the end of November 5th.

For details on how to apply, please follow this link.



by Gemma Cornish

PEOPLE’S CHOICE Artwork in Focus – Autumn

Mary Fedden (1915 – 2012), Flowers in Tuscany, oil on canvas c.mid 20th century was the People’s Choice winner for the theme of Flowers and Still Life

 

 

Mary Fedden is well known as a still life painter. However, what can at first appear simple and effortless belies her skilled use of carefully considered composition, her particular choice and juxtaposition of objects and her impressive understanding of colour. What excited Fedden was the actual process of painting; her exuberant manipulation of paint is often not apparent in reproductions of her work.

 

Acquired for the Permanent Collection in 1960 from the Royal West of England Academy, with whom she had a lifelong association, Flowers in Tuscany is dated mid 20th century. Another painting by Fedden, Flowers on a Tiled Floor 1956,* which depicts a very similar arrangement of flowers and a mountain back drop, may provide a clue to a more exact date when the former was painted.

 

Fedden travelled extensively, particularly in France and Tuscany, producing many sketchbooks full of ideas, and Flowers in Tuscany probably resulted from one of these trips. Italy must have been a special place for Fedden, as it was there, in 1949 that she holidayed with a friend from the Slade School of Art (where she had studied), the artist Julian Trevelyan, following the breakdown of his marriage. It was on this trip that the pair fell in love and on their return, Fedden joined him at his home and studio in Durham Wharf, where she lived and worked for the rest of her life.

 

Trevelyan, who was predominantly a printmaker, had a profound effect on the development of her work, as did the artists Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Ben and Winifred Nicholson, and Christopher Wood with their use of flattened picture planes, separation of still life objects and interpretation of colour. Trevelyan, who was linked to the Surrealist movement, encouraged Fedden to flout the rules of perspective and exploit disproportion in her work; large and small objects appearing transposed in scale and often it takes on a dreamlike quality.

 

Flowers in Tuscany is typical of her still life studies in that it is positioned in front of a landscape, revelling in the contrast of disparate elements. In this painting Fedden experiments and pushes the boundaries of perspective; a classical urn appears in profile whereas the table top is tipped vertically towards the viewer, creating a large round shape on which to anchor the vase of flowers, echoing the circular motifs of the chair back, the curves of the vase and the blousey blooms spilling out of it. These in turn, contrast with the overlaid verticals of the chair rods, which are repeated by the gateposts in the background, linking the whole composition. The chair is more abstract shape than an accurate rendering, it is a suggestion for the viewer to complete.

 

For Flowers in Tuscany, Fedden has worked in oil paint on a canvas which she probably stretched and primed herself, something she used to do at this point in her painting career. Her method of working would often involve her sketching in the basic structure of a composition and building up the initial image using turpentine thinned paint, before applying numerous layers of thicker paint. The enjoyment she got from this process is evident in her energetic brushstrokes and confident handling of the paint.

 

The differing thicknesses of paint are clearly discernible in this work. Occasionally the canvas peeps through and the under painting is visible; thinner, almost transparent paint such as used on the chair back contrasts with the texture of the brush marks where she has laid down the undiluted oil paint. Her use of sgraffito on the ribs of the vase and red flower boldly tears through the impasto to expose the support beneath. Flowers in Tuscany is an example of her earlier more soft edged style, where the outlines of her objects are less defined, something she wished she could recapture in her later, more mature work.

 

The vivid Mediterranean blue colour which predominates Flowers in Tuscany evokes Southern European skies and is used throughout the painting, linking the whole composition. In contrast, the bright pink and red of the trumpet flower at the forefront of the arrangement catches the eye, inviting the viewer into the painting.

The rolling mountains in the background stand out against the deep blue sky but elements of this blue are also incorporated. The area to the right of the table shares the same colour palette as the mountains but is made distinct from them due to the change in direction and style of mark making with much shorter, vertical staccato brush strokes. There is a stillness to this right hand passage of the painting which counterbalances the busyness of the floral arrangement.

 

The flowers sit brazenly in their vase; a joyous celebration of the surrounding earth’s spoils, the dark centres of their elliptical vortices staring out of the picture plane. Tall skeletal seed heads provide a pathway from the foreground to the hills in the distance behind them. A further visual link is provided by the fluid loop of bright blue paint which dances across the blooms. At first it appears to be a part of the under painting, but on closer inspection it shows itself to be a later addition, painted after they were completed. A very definite statement, it sweeps across the trumpet flowers, weaving in and out of them like the after image left by a child’s sparkler.

Finally, barely perceptible, two ghostly figures stand near the open gate. The colour of the baked mountain earth, they are almost on the point of becoming part of the landscape. The woman on the left holds onto the gate, there is a tension in her arm which appears to be supporting her weight as she leans towards her companion, whose right arm encircles her waist in a subtle act of balancing. Her striped dress mirrors the gateposts next to her. They provide the only clue to who the flower gatherers and arrangers might be in a scene otherwise devoid of human presence.

 

Mary Fedden was a trailblazer becoming the first female tutor in the Painting School at the Royal College of Art (from 1956 to 1964), teaching a golden generation of artists including David Hockney and Patrick Caulfield, and was elected a Senior Royal Academician in 1992. During the 1960s and 70s her work was somewhat eclipsed by that of Trevelyan’s, but subsequently her reputation has justifiably grown.

 

Fedden’s long painting career has resulted in a large legacy of work. She painted every day, it was what she loved to do, and continued to do, right up until her death at the age of 96 in 2012. Her work could be described as a celebration of the everyday, but it is one in which she elevates the ordinary to the extraordinary.

 

*Christopher Andreae, Mary Fedden  Enigmas and Variations, Lund Humphries, 2007 p.52

 

Andrea Tibbitts, Gallery Assistant

October 2017

 



by Chris Wilkinson

To celebrate the release of Loving Vincent an animated feature

To celebrate the release of @LovingVincentUK – an animated feature that explores the life and controversial death of one of the world’s best loved artists, Vincent van Gogh – we have two pairs of tickets to the live satellite premiere and Q&A on Monday 9 October at the @lightwalsall. 

 

To enter just tell us which Van Gogh work hangs in our gallery! 

 

GOOD LUCK… (p.s. our website is a treasure trove of information!)

 

 

Terms and Conditions

  1. Entrants must be aged 12 and over.
  2. One entry per person. 
  3. Competition closes at 12pm on 5 October.
  4. The winner will be notified via Facebook or Twitter.
  5. There are two pairs of tickets to see Loving Vincent with Q&A at Light Cinema Walsall available to win.
  6. There is no cash or prize alternative.
  7. Transport to and from the cinema is not included.
  8. By entering into this competition you are giving permission for your entry to be used on all Loving Vincent social media platforms and associated publicity.


by Chris Wilkinson

Local Makers’ Markets – Stall Holder Applications 2017

 

We are looking for fantastic designer-makers and artists to apply to take part in The New Art Gallery Walsall’s 2017 Local Makers’ Markets. Celebrating the wealth of talent in the region, and offering Christmas shoppers the chance to buy something unique, the Gallery will be hosting local makers during two weekend Festive Markets this November and December.

 

We are looking for applications from a range of creative disciplines including, painting, sculpture, jewellery, photography, lighting, textiles, stone carving, fashion, glass and more.

If you already sell your products or are looking for the perfect opportunity to launch yourself into the creative market, we want to hear from you.

 

Local Makers Market

Celebrating the wealth of talent in the region and offering Christmas shoppers the chance to buy local bespoke and handmade products. Join us on Saturday for a full programme of free demonstrations by the makers.

Saturday 2 December, 11am-5pm

Sunday 3 December, 12pm-4pm

 

New for 2017

Local Makers Market: Young People’s Addition

Showcasing the local young creative talent

Saturday 18 November, 11am-5pm

Sunday 19 November, 12pm-4pm

 

How to apply for a stall:

To apply for a stall at either of the Makers Markets please download the relevant application form below:

 

TNAGW-Makers-Market-Application-Form

TNAGW-Makers-Market-Young-Peoples-Edition-Application-Form

 

For further information or enquiries, please contact Catherine James, catherine.james@walsall.gov.uk or 01922 654411.

 

 



by Chris Wilkinson

Rachel Goodyear Limited Edition Prints

Rachel Goodyear’s gorgeous print lithographBlack Holes is now available exclusively in the Gallery Shop.

 

A limited edition of 50 with 10 Artist’s Proofs and each signed by the artist, are available to purchase for £250 (unframed). All proceeds support the Gallery’s programme.

 

To purchase a print, please call the Gallery reception on 01922 654400 or email:  info@thenewartgallerywalsall.org.uk

 

 

Image credit:  Rachel Goodyear, Black Holes, lithograph, ed of 50, 10 APs, 42 x 29.7 cm, 16.5 x 11.7 in. Courtesy Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London. Copyright the artist.



by Chris Wilkinson

Walsall Council delighted by £3.5m Arts Council England funding for NAG

(Tuesday 27 June) Arts Council England (ACE) announced that it will be investing an additional £170m outside London between 2018 and 2022 which includes funding of £3.5m for Walsall’s New Art Gallery. This investment, as part of its new National Portfolio, will support the delivery of art and culture to Walsall residents and continue to encourage visitors to come to the town from the West Midlands region and wider.

 

Councillor Sean Coughlan, Leader of Walsall Council said:

 

“I am delighted that Arts Council England recognises the national importance of the New Art Gallery with its £3.5 million National Portfolio Organisational offer for 2018-2022. Being offered every single pound that we requested is a significant vote of confidence in the New Art Gallery and our future plans for its sustainable management. With the potential of a Commonwealth Games just down the road 2022, I’d like to think we can showcase Walsall on a global stage.”

 

“I made it clear when setting our budget earlier this year that we never intended to close the Gallery. Instead, given the ongoing pressures to local authority funding, we needed to be more imaginative and certain about how we operate and fund such facilities. Taking a long term view of the budget over a four year plan has allowed us to do just that.”

 

Photo:  Councillor Ian Shires, Portfolio Holder for Community, leisure and culture and Stephen Snoddy, Director, The New Art Gallery Walsall

 



by Chris Wilkinson

PEOPLE’S CHOICE ARTWORK IN FOCUS – Summer

Dod Procter (1890-1972), The Quiet Hour, oil on canvas, 1935 was the People’s Choice winner for the theme of Flowers and Still Life 

 

 

Dod Procter often painted subjects that other artists overlooked such as children, flowers and domestic scenes.  The setting for The Quiet Hour is the kitchen of Dod’s former home at Myrtle Cottage in Newlyn, Cornwall.  The Welsh dresser in the painting is decorated with various pieces of china which Dod was fond of collecting and would often decorate herself.  The young girl in the painting is Polly Walker, daughter of a local artist and friend of Dod’s.  This kitchen scene can be found in many of Dod’s work such as Kitchen at Myrtle Cottage (c.1935), in which Polly also appears, which is in Tate’s Collection.   Dod was influenced by the Impressionists particularly Renoir, and later critics would call her our own ‘English Renoir’.  The style of the Impressionists is reflected in this painting with its use of light and colour.

 

Dod Procter was born Doris Shaw in 1892 in the middle class area of Tavistock.  She was called Dod for short and continued to use the name all her life as she enjoyed its ambiguity.  After her father’s death in 1907 the family moved to the thriving art colony in Newlyn, Cornwall; it was here that Dod at the age of 15 enrolled in Stanhope Forbes’ School of Painting.  The Newlyn Art Group became known for their depiction of the local fisherman and their families, capturing the harsh realities of their lives, not a romanticised view.  In 1912 Dod married another Newlyn artist, Ernest Procter, and they travelled to many exotic places together, such as Africa and the West Indies; painting many of the local people in their vibrant costumes.

 

Dod painted soft nude figures mainly of women and children, they would become known for their simplified forms and realistic quality.  This can be seen in her most famous work Morning (1926) also in Tate’s Collection.  http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/procter-morning-n04270

Dod also enjoyed painting flowers and scenes from her garden; she applied the same sculptural quality to her flowers has she did to her figure paintings.  Her travels abroad also encouraged her to paint many exotic flowers.

 

In 1935, Ernest died at the age of 49.  Dod’s work then began to change; her paintings became hazier with a softer focus, this is reflected in her work called Spring Flowers which is also currently on display in the collection galleries as part of the People’s Choice exhibition.  Dod’s work achieved great success; she became a Royal Academician in 1962.  She was often described as a real character, eccentric, stubborn and always enjoyed being the centre of attention.  She had long legs, short black bobbed hair, dark eyes and brilliant skin.  Hannah Gluckstein described her as “having great charm, a keen sense of humour and always ready for an adventure”.  Dod’s work began to slip in to obscurity as public taste began to change.  However, she still carried on showing her work at The Royal Academy every year, where she was fondly remembered as always wearing her famous black Spanish hat.  She died in 1972 at the age of 82.

 

The Quiet Hour is one of my favourite works in the Permanent Collection.  The young girl looks so quiet and content just reading her book, which is something that I often do myself.  I love the way the light picks out all the different colours in the painting, from the yellows in the table cloth to the blues and pinks in the young girl’s hair.  The kitchen scene feels so homely and comforting; I could easily see this hanging on my own kitchen wall.

 

Julie Jones, Gallery Assistant

June 2017

 

 

The Quiet Hour by Gerald Kells

 

she leans out bored

in her pastel blue kitchen,

book propped on milk jug

speckled with the sea

 

 

she rests on one elbow,

a boy-thin haircut –

dress cropped for summer

just above the knee

 

 

she’s bored of children

clambering up mountains,

no longer exciting

as they once used to be

 

 

her mind drifts to futures

far beyond schooldays

and wild declarations

of who she wants to be:

 

 

a woman who’ll return,

her gaze unsparing

on the cold calm of childhood

before she was free

 

Gerald Kells is a writer and poet from Walsall and member of the Walsall Arboretum Poetry Group

 



by Julie Brown

Dementia Awareness Week at The New Art Gallery Walsall

The New Art Gallery Walsall is proud to be a Dementia Friendly venue and this week we hosted the launch of Walsall in Our Words, a scrapbook aiming to capture memories of Walsall from residents living in care homes settings. The book contains photos and stories from residents from Aldridge Court, Kelvedon House, Oak Lodge, Richmond Hall, The Cottage Nursing Home, The Arboretum Nursing Home, Waters Edge and The Watermill.  This project was facilitated by the Care Improvement and End of Life service which offers support for care homes across the Walsall Borough and is a collaboration between St Giles Hospice and Pathways 4 Life funded by Walsall CCG.  The scrapbook is on display in our Scenes of Walsall exhibition in The Family Gallery until it closes on Sunday 16 July.

 

On Tuesday we also hosted the Walsall Borough Dementia Cafes for a special reminiscence session and members participated in sharing their memories of Walsall and contributing to our display bunting.

 

This Saturday 20 May, we will be celebrating traditional toys with a Peg Doll-making workshop in The Family Gallery between 1-3pm, free, drop in, all welcome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image credit Emily Pardoe-Billings, launch of the Walsall in Our Words scrapbook



by Chris Wilkinson

PEOPLE’S CHOICE ARTWORK IN FOCUS – Spring

Frank Holl’s Ordered to the Front has proved to be the most popular artwork in our People’s Choice.

 

Ordered to the Front began as an illustration for The Graphic magazine in January 1879, entitled ‘Summoned for Active Service’.  It illustrated the everyday impact of war on troops and their families.  A detachment of Highland soldiers put on a brave face, while mothers, wives, sweethearts and children are in various states of anxiety.  The accompanying text read: ‘He is aware that every bullet has its billet, but hope springs eternal in the human breast and he somehow feels that whatever may happen to others he will be spared.  But with the soldiers’ womankind – with his wife, his sweetheart, his poor old mother – it is far otherwise.  In their ears the blare of the war trumpet reverberates with the dismal clang of a funeral knell.  Not for them the excitement of the fight; they must stay at home and weep in silence for their departed warrior.’   The illustration showed text behind them on the wall, not visible in the painting, which read ‘Daily Telegraph The Afghan War’ revealing them to be the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders going to fight in the Second Anglo-Afghan War, fought between the UK and Afghanistan from 1878-1880.  Holl painted the subject for the 1880 Royal Academy exhibition, where it appealed enormously to the public due to its patriotic subject matter, the brightly coloured regalia of the troops, and their brave stoicism.  The painting in our collection is a reduced replica of the original, painted the same year.  The fate of the painting which was hung at the Royal Academy is unknown.

 

Frank Holl (1845-1888), Ordered to the Front, 1880, oil on canvas, 75 x 64 cm

 

This is the first time the work has been displayed at The New Art Gallery, as it normally resides in the Mayor’s Parlour within Walsall Town Hall, and has done since the 1930s.  The painting was one of thirteen works originally part of the collection of local industrialist and magistrate George Gill which were loaned to the town by his daughter, Mrs Frederick Lonsdale Allen.  After she passed away they became the property of her husband, and on his death in 1954 the works were removed from the Mayor’s Parlour to be auctioned in Birmingham, with the rest of the collection.  The paintings were offered to the corporation for £598, but this was more than the council was willing to pay, their maximum offer being £300.  The works went to auction, however the council was in the end able to purchase ten of the paintings for only £170, including the Holl.  (Another of the group acquired was The New Keeper by Charles Burton Barber, also on display in the People’s Choice exhibition -depicting a young boy, surrounded by spaniels, dressed up in the garb of a gamekeeper.) The works purchased formally became part of Walsall’s Permanent Collection, which this year celebrates its 125th anniversary, and now numbers over 3000 works of art in its entirety.

In the 1960s the Australian Water Polo team visited Walsall and on attending a Reception in the Mayor’s Parlour saw Ordered to the Front.  It was recognised as being the companion piece of a painting in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne – Home Again, which had been commissioned by Sir Thomas Lucas, the original owner of the painting.

http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/4057/

 

One of my first jobs here as Curator was to oversee the loan of Ordered to the Front to the Watts Gallery in Guildford, Surrey, which hosted a Frank Holl retrospective exhibition called Emerging from the Shadows in 2013This exhibition helped re-establish Holl’s reputation as one of the great painters of the Victorian era.  Holl had been accepted to the Royal Academy schools aged 15, and won a gold medal for historical painting in 1863.  From 1864 onwards he regularly showed at the Royal Academy for the rest of his life.  In 1878 he was elected to the Academy and in 1883 became a Royal Academician.  Holl was greatly admired by another of our collection artist’s, Vincent van Gogh, who wrote enthusiastically about Holl’s work and collected his wood engraving illustrations which appeared in The Graphic.  Van Gogh’s Sorrow in our Garman Ryan Collection presents a sombre, tragic female character, and Van Gogh was influenced by Holl’s representations of the reality of working class urban life and the vulnerability of women and children.  Van Gogh described Holl’s work The Foundling in his letters ‘This shows several policemen in waterproof capes who have taken up a child left as a foundling between the beams and planks of a quay beside the Thames.  Some curious onlookers watch, and through the fog one sees the grey silhouette of the city in the background.’

 

The obvious empathy in Holl’s portrayals of the struggles of the working classes struck a chord with his audience.  Holl’s work was highly respected during his lifetime and his authenticity in portraying the tragedy of loss and parting, such as in Ordered to the Front, were popular with the general public since these bleak themes were sadly subjects they could relate to.  Having come from an esteemed family of engravers, Holl was skilful in his handling of light and dark in his painting, which was influenced by Dutch genre painting, with its directness and simplicity of subject matter.  Holl was a leading painter in the social realist movement of the 1860s and 70s, but when this style went out of fashion in the 1880s he became a pre-eminent portraitist, who was inundated with commissions. Northern masters such as Rembrandt, shaped the direction of his portraiture.

His work is represented in collections such as Tate, the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Collection, Queen Victoria having commissioned him in 1871 to paint No Tidings from the Sea, from Holl’s first hand observations of a fishing village, and the palpable grief felt in a fisherman’s cottage by his family when he is found drowned at sea.  It is thought overwork contributed to Holl’s death at the age of 43 from heart failure.  He created such an accomplished body of work in his short lifetime, who knows what he may have gone on to achieve. His early death undoubtedly led to a decline in his reputation, but it is heartening that the quality of his work has stood the test of time, and that the British public are still interested and appreciative of his output today.

 

Julie Brown, Collections Curator

April 2017



by Chris Wilkinson

The Silver Threads Tapestries go on tour of the Borough

Celebrating 25 years of bringing community arts to the Borough, The Walsall Silver Thread Tapestries project has produced 11 tapestries illustrated by artist Hunt Emerson and hand stitched by an army of needlework volunteers from the local community. They have stitched over 12 square metres over the last 8 months.

Representing the Borough of Walsall, each tapestry features Walsall’s living history and diverse geographical communities.  ‘Silver Thread’ highlights Walsall’s prominent people, places and events.

 

For a full list of venues and tour dates, please go to the Creative Factory website for details www.creativefactory.org.uk



by Chris Wilkinson