Saturday, 4 July 2015

Fresh Air

Last week, with stitching friends, I visited Fresh Air, a fascinating collection of sculpture in the beautiful gardens of The Old Rectory in Quenington, Gloucestershire. Organised by the Quenington Sculpture Trust, it is a biennial exhibition of mostly professional work.

The exhibits included works provided expressly for this exhibition alongside a small number of pieces which form the permanent collection of David and Lucy Abel Smith, the current owners of the Rectory. It was a fascinating and varied exhibition encompassing work which ranged from the sublime to the humourous, but all of it thought-provoking. I've included here a very small selection of the many works that spoke especially to me, for one reason or another.

This one, Flight by Matt Durran in glass on steel rods, as its name suggests, represented airplanes and nestled enticingly in amongst the delphiniums. Like many of the other pieces in the exhibition, it seemed to echo the plant forms of the garden, the plane shapes for me strongly referencing leaves.


This, Chain Stitch by Helen Pailing, was one of very few obvious nods to stitch and embroidery. Made of land coil pipe and orange rope, it was an amusing investigation of giant 3 D chain stitches draped over a tree. 


 I particularly enjoyed 15 Degrees by Chris Eckersley. From every direction it was striking and the angles of the powder-coated steel plates were fascinatingly unexpected. Was it representing pages in a book, exploring the possible abstract interplay of angles, or some other thing altogether? Whatever was going on in the mind of the sculptor, it drew the eye from a long distance away and, close-up, provided fascinating variations in the angles of the plates.


I found something very different indeed hiding in a cool summerhouse in the garden (very welcome - it was an extremely hot day). This installation, Precyzyjna Sztuka by Polish duo Radek Rudniki and Jakub Hader consisted of lights projected onto sections of what appeared to be broken breeze blocks that had been randomly painted with white paint and then piled on top of one another. In complete darkness except for the projected lights and accompanied by specially composed music by Rudniki, it was most effective and I stood and contemplated the subtle interplay of light and music for some time. Since the interest in this work consisted mainly in the changing light and the music, this photo really does not capture its true essence but I include it as it has stuck resolutely in my memory. It is interesting that the exhibition catalogue doesn't feature a photograph!


Another favourite of mine was Upside Down Again by Norwegian artist Hilde A Danielsen. This was a beautiful work constructed of Nordic pinewood and metal fasteners. It consisted of a long series of wooden rectangles each slightly off set from the one before to give a beautiful and satisfyingly sinuous external form. I so enjoyed both the external shape and the structure when viewed from within that I've included photos of both.



There were so many more that I could have included in this selection, but I finish with something very different - a piece of colourful and eye-catching yarn wrapping. Entitled Summer Collection by Julie Ball, it was a collaborative project between the artist, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Cheltenham, and young people working with NADFAS. I include this in a further nod to textiles and stitch but mostly because I so enjoyed the obvious pleasure and enjoyment of all those who participated and the naive nature of much of the knitting and joinings - so very different from all the professionally executed work in the exhibition.


This exhibition sadly closes tomorrow but I would strongly recommend keeping an eye open for the next one in the same venue in two years' time. I will certainly be going.

I feel I have been away from my blog for oh so long - a recent holiday in Devon, a trip to Surrey to help our son and his family move house, a short visit to our daughter and her family and the Pixeladies PSE1 course have all been taking up my time ... and now there is the Wimbledon Tennis and then another trip away to visit friends in France at the end of next week.

Lovely though all this is, I'm beginning to suffer blogging and stitching withdrawal symptoms. I haven't visited my favourite blogs for so long I can't imagine what everyone has been doing and I have scarcely sewn a stitch for weeks which always makes me feel restless. I hope there will be a little time this week to catch up ...




8 comments:

  1. Gorgeous shot of the inside of 'Upside Down Again' ! Looks like a fabulous exhibition. Thank you so much for sharing this, which I would not otherwise see ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to hear from you after my long silence. I haven't been a very good blogger recently!
      This was a fascinating exhibition with such a diversity of works. Looking at my selection , I've chosen mainly abstract pieces, as I so often do.

      Delete
  2. une belle exposition..le bois et l'arbre..les deux sculptures que j'aime.spécialement....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Une belle exposition dans un beau jardin anglais - une visite très agréable.
      Le bois était ma sculpture préférée. Je l'ai regardé pendant beaucoup de minutes ... et je suis revenue deux fois. C'était fascinant - les angles et les formes, à l'extérieur et à l'intérieur - magnifique!

      Delete
  3. What an awesome exhibit! Reminds me of The Garden of Cosmic Speculation in Scotland ~ have you seen that? If you haven't, you'll have to make a field trip there and let us know about it! Hugs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi connie. Many thanks for your comment. the answer to you questions is no - I haven't visited The Garden of Cosmic Speculation - but your question had me scurrying to look it up - and Oh my! What an amazing-looking place. We will certainly have to plan a trip there. As you probably know, we often visit Scotland and drive up the M6 and past Gretna Green so a side tour to Dumfries would be fine ... next year perhaps?

      Delete
  4. You have had some interesting trips, it's good to have a break. Thanks for your comment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've had some great trips this year - and one more to come. Then it'll be time to be home for a while. There is much to be done ...

      Delete

Hello and thank you very much for taking the time to leave a message on my blog. Every comment is welcome and I will try to answer you as soon I can.