New Exhibition: ‘Under the Surface’ Paintings and Carvings by David West

Big Fish by David West © Maisie Hill 2017

Big Fish by David West © Maisie Hill 2017

For the very first time, Under the Surface brings together 70 of David West’s most important works from both private and public collections.  Spanning 60 years, it reflects the different strands of his development as a painter, sculptor and craftsman, deftly illustrating the progression and interaction between his use of paint and wood, in what is a landmark exhibition for this Dorset artist. 

Born in 1939, David West went to Sutton and Cheam School of Art (1956 – 1958) and Camberwell School of Art (1958 – 1960) where he studied painting and printmaking.  However, West found the emphasis on accuracy which was a feature of his student days too restrictive, and on leaving Camberwell he began to explore his love of decoration and strong pattern.

In the 1960s his work took an unexpected direction as he began to explore flexible ways to construct paintings within a three dimensional framework, which led naturally on to painting on wood.  Initially, wood was a substitute for canvas, but he soon became interested in its possibilities, and gradually there was more constructing and carving and less painting.

Gig and Fish by David West © Maisie Hill 2017

Gig and Fish by David West © Maisie Hill 2017

His carved wooden models are full of acute observation and humour, and reflect the strong interest West has in architecture, and the self-contained world within buildings.  His dolls houses were inspired by watching his daughter’s imaginative play, and the idea that within the basic structure of a house is a place where imagination can be released.

Some pieces portray actual houses, such as Parnham House and Forde Abbey, others are pure inventions.  Later models include a shop and theatre, and Dorset County Museum is lucky enough to have The Spode Set, a miniature theatre carved in wood based on the ‘Spode Italian’ ceramic design.  West’s woodcut prints became a natural extension of his carving.

West’s move from London to Lyme Regis in 1981 inspired in him a love of the Dorset landscape and coast, and a fascination with the ebb and flow of tides and water.  This influence can be clearly seen in his work as he began to carve sculptures based on walks along the beach at Lyme Regis.  He has taken an active part in life in Lyme Regis, and in the 1990s had a significant role in the restoration of the Town Mill, where there is a room named after him.

In fact, it was the commission to carve and gild a set of organ pipe shades for St Michael’s Church in Lyme Regis which led to using gold leaf to develop the 200 drawings inspired by his trip to Japan in 2008.  Variations of footpaths, waterfalls, fishponds and mountain streams are among the many gilded carvings and woodcut prints in the exhibition.  These were followed by works related to the Dorset landscape and coast, a series of gilded carvings, ‘Night Waves’ and ‘Moon’, combining influences from both Japan and Dorset.

Dorset County Museum is pleased to be welcoming David West back following a successful exhibition at the Museum almost 30 years ago.

This exhibition is supported by the Mansel-Playdell & Cecil Trust and PGP

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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Spotlight Exhibition: MIX: artwork by Maddy Down , Helen Francis and Peter Runeckles

End of Summer by Maddy Down

‘End of Summer’ painting by Maddy Down

From 4th February 2017 to 25th March 2017, The Dorset County Museum will host an temporary exhibition showing the work of three local artists.  They all have a long association with the Museum through their voluntary work in various departments. 

Maddy Down, Helen Francis and Peter Runeckles work in a wide variety of styles and media including oils, watercolour, pastels, textiles and enamels.  They have arrived at this point on their creative journeys by very different routes.

Maddy Down‘s interest in painting was prompted by gaining a degree in Art History at Winchester in 2001.  She was brought up in the Yorkshire Dales but has lived in Dorset for 45 years. The Dorset coast, cliffs and landscapes are her inspiration.  She conveys what she feels rather than a purely literal response.

Helen Francis trained at Loughborough College of Art gaining a BA (Hons) in Textiles specialising in embroidery.  After graduating she worked at the Hampton Court Palace and the Victoria and Albert Museum as a textile conservator.  An interest in historic needlework and costume continues through her work as a volunteer at the Museum.

Influenced by her garden, flowers and everyday objects Helen makes still life pictures using fabric, paint and thread.  Layers of dyed silk are used to create depth and intensity of colour.  Mark making with hand and free machine embroidery are added to accentuate the design.

Peter Runeckles has been painting since his school days when he was taught by R B Talbot Kelly the wildlife artist.  Since then he has worked independently producing paintings and sculptures.  He also joined a print making group at Bournemouth Art College.  Peter’s works in this show include paintings in oil and acrylic, Humbrol enamels, water colours, etchings and screen prints.   Peter has exhibited previously in Poole, Bournemouth and Dorchester.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

St Ives and British Modernism: The George and Ann Dannatt Collection Exhibition extended to 23rd January 2016

Denis Mitchell, Selena, 1969, Pallant House Gallery, The George and Ann Dannatt Gift (2011)

Denis Mitchell, Selena, 1969, Pallant House Gallery, The George and Ann Dannatt Gift (2011) PHG © 2015

Dorset County Museum is pleased to confirm that the current exhibition St Ives and British Modernism: The George and Ann Dannatt Collection has been extended and will run until Saturday 23rd January 2016.

Director of Dorset County Museum, Dr Jon Murden commented “This has already proved to be a very popular exhibition, and I’m really pleased that it will be staying in Dorset for three extra weeks, giving locals and visitors alike the chance to come and see it.”

Ancient Landscape by George Dannatt - Dorset County Museum © 2015

Ancient Landscape by George Dannatt – Dorset County Museum © 2015

Marking the centenary of George Dannatt’s birth in 1915, the exhibition explores one of Dorset’s most significant art collections – that assembled by George and Ann Dannatt.
The collection includes a largely unseen and newly conserved group of paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints by key figures associated with the St Ives Group of Artists in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, including Terry Frost, Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon, Ben Nicholson, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and John Tunnard.

The collection is one of the most significant private collections of its type, not least because Dannatt was a friend of many of the artists, and was himself an abstract artist. A selection of his own works will be included in the display, as well as archival photographs of the Dannatts with their artist friends and rare artists’ books and illustrated volumes. In addition to the St Ives Group, the collection includes works by artists associated with a poetic strain of Neo-Romanticism in Britain, including Paul Nash, David Jones, Prunella Clough and Keith Vaughan, as well as interesting prints by international artists such as Jean Arp and Eduardo Chillida.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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The Place of St Ives by Brandon Taylor, Professor Emeritus of History of Art, University of Southampton

Ancient Landscape by George Dannatt - Dorset County Museum © 2015

Ancient Landscape by George Dannatt – Dorset County Museum © 2015

On Thursday 10th December at 7.30pm, Dorset County Museum invites you to come to an interesting and informative talk about British modern art which complements the current temporary exhibition at Dorset County Museum, St Ives and British Modernism: The George and Ann Dannatt Collection.

The talk will consider the character of ‘The St Ives School’ of painters and sculptors during the 1940s and 1950s, the nature of their links to the coastal environment, and the relation of their work to transatlantic and European tendencies of the day.

Professor Taylor is currently a visiting Tutor in History and Theory of Art at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford. His latest publications are After Constructivism (Yale University Press 2014) and St Ives and British Modernism (Pallant House Gallery Chichester 2015).

This talk is on Thursday 10th December 2015, Dorset County Museum, 7.30pm
(doors open at 7.00pm) and is open to everyone and is FREE of charge, although we do encourage a donation of £3 to cover costs.

For further information and other forthcoming events contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

New Exhibition: St Ives and British Modernism: The George and Ann Dannatt Collection

Denis Mitchell, Selena, 1969, Pallant House Gallery, The George and Ann Dannatt Gift (2011)

Denis Mitchell, Selena, 1969, Pallant House Gallery, The George and Ann Dannatt Gift (2011) PHG © 2015

Opening on Saturday, 3rd October 2015 and marking the centenary of George Dannatt’s birth in 1915, this new exhibition at Dorset County Museum will explore one of Dorset’s most significant and discerning art collections – that assembled by George and Ann Dannatt over a period of 50 years at their modernist home on the Dorset-Wiltshire border.

Left as a gift to the Pallant House Gallery, the collection includes a largely unseen and newly conserved group of paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints by key figures associated with the St Ives Group of Artists in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The featured artists include John Wells, Terry Frost, Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon, Ben Nicholson, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and John Tunnard. The artist Turner visited St Ives in 1811, and the modest Cornish fishing port has been a hub for artists attracted to the quality of light, mild climate and beautiful coastal scenery ever since.

Ancient Landscape by George Dannatt - Dorset County Museum © 2015

Ancient Landscape by George Dannatt – Dorset County Museum © 2015

The collection is one of the most significant private collections of its type, not least because Dannatt (1915 – 2009) was a friend of many of the artists, and was himself an abstract artist. Born in Blackheath, London he became a chartered surveyor and freelance music critic. From 1948 he started to visit Dorset taking photographs while roaming the coast with his old artist friend John Wells. The photographs proved inspirational to his work, and many of them are held at Dorset County Museum.
In 1993 Dannatt exhibited at Dorset County Museum in association with his book ‘One Way of Seeing’. In Dannatt’s Artist’s Statement for the exhibition he explained “Every artist creates through a process of abstraction from what he sees. One of the significant influences in my work is that of the form and pattern in landscape. This influence, more fully and more slowly

evolved in my later work, found its beginnings in my response to the Wessex and Cornish scene. Where the work becomes purely abstract, where colour and texture are intrinsic, the forms still derive from this same experience.”

Dorset County Museum is lucky enough to own two of Dannatt’s paintings, Ancient Landscape 1982 and Poundbury Landscape, Dorset 1997. These will both be included in the exhibition along with a wider selection of Dannatt’s works, as well as archival photographs of the Dannatts with their artist friends and rare artists’ books and illustrated volumes.

Dannatt also spent time in Wiltshire before heading down to Cornwall in the early 1960s where he began to paint seriously. From 1970 to 1983 he was a regular exhibitor at the St Ives Penwith Gallery and from 1973 he also exhibited at the Newlyn Art Gallery. In addition to the St Ives Group, the collection includes works by artists associated with a poetic strain of Neo-Romanticism in Britain, including Paul Nash, David Jones, Prunella Clough and Keith Vaughan, as well as interesting prints by international artists such as Jean Arp and Eduardo Chillida.

This exhibition at Dorset County Museum will run from 3rd October 2015 to 2 January 2016.  Standard museum admissions apply.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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British Museum Curator to give talk on Ice Age Art

Ivory Swimming ReindeerIn 2013 the British Museum staged a unique exhibition of Ice Age Art, created between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago. It presented masterpieces of sculpture, ceramics, drawing and personal ornaments from all over Europe. These striking objects are now the subject of a fascinating talk at Dorset County Museum by the exhibition’s curator, Jill Cook.

Jill Cook

Jill Cook

Jill is a Senior Curator and Deputy Keeper of the Department of Prehistory & Europe at The British Museum. She is an archaeologist whose interest in archaeology began in Dorset as a teenager when she volunteered on Roman villa excavations at Dewlish. At university the subject of her dissertation was Edward Cunnington and his excavations of Dorset barrows. Since then, she has specialized in the deeper history of much earlier periods, investigating the archaeology of human evolution, as well as the history of archaeology.

During her talk on Ice Age art at Dorset County Museum on 5th December, Jill Cook will show some of the masterpieces from the exhibition such as the British Museum’s mammoth ivory sculpture of a pair of swimming reindeer, plus the oldest known sculptures, drawings and musical instruments from Europe. Far from being simple objects from a remote time, Jill will explain how these works of art are important clues about the evolution of our brains and the development of modern human societies.

The talk starts at 7.30pm and entry is FREE. The doors will open at 7.00pm and all donations to cover costs will be welcome. For further information visit www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or telephone the Museum on 01305 262735.

Outstanding exhibition ‘The Heart that Fed’ in last two weeks at Dorset County Museum

The Hearth that FedWith only two weeks to go before it ends, don’t miss a final opportunity to visit the current exhibition at Dorset County Museum: The Heart that Fed.

The exhibition features the work of two Dorset artists – Nell Race and Angelika Seik who first met in 1998. Some years later they met again – Nell moved to Corfe Castle in 2005 and found her house was just a five minute walk from Angelika’s.

Painter Nell Race explains, “During one Dorset Art Week we both opened our studios and arranged a Prize Draw between us to pull in the crowds – it worked really well and we have been wanting to exhibit together ever since.”  They now meet regularly to talk about current work and projects, but painting and sculpting still consumes the major part of their days.

The exhibition showcases the work of these two artists who have sculpted and painted all their lives, without a break. Sculptor Angelika Seik said, “We are two women and two mothers who have brought up families but have never abandoned a shared profound and essential need for artistic expression.” 

The title of the exhibition, The Heart that Fed, is a quote from Shelley – it captures the transformation that takes place from an initial feeling for a subject through the artistic process into a piece of art. Nell’s abstract paintings shown alongside the striking figurative sculptures made by Angelika create a truly powerful show.

The Heart that Fed runs at Dorset County Museum until 1st February 2014. Entry to the exhibition is free and many of the pieces are for sale. The Museum is open from 10.00am to 4.00pm, Monday to Saturday.

For further information contact the Museum on 01305 262735 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

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Outstanding exhibition continues at Dorset County Museum

The Hearth that FedWith the Christmas break coming up, and perhaps a few days off, this could be the perfect opportunity to visit an outstanding local exhibition.

Dorset County Museum is currently hosting The Heart That Fed which features the work of two Dorset artists – Nell Race and Angelika Seik.  If you love paintings and sculpture this could be the ideal time to pop in and have a browse – and it’s free.

Both artists have been working in or around Dorset for over 30 years and recently decided to show their work collaboratively.  Nell uses the wall space for her paintings and Angelika the floor space, showing her sculptures on plinths. The juxtaposition between the different media, the abstract paintings alongside the figurative expression of the sculptures, creates a powerful show.

The Heart that Fed runs at Dorset County Museum until 1st February 2014. Entry to the exhibition is FREE and many of the pieces are for sale.

The Museum is open from 10.00am to 4.00pm, Monday to Saturday but CLOSED on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. For more information check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org.

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Dorset County Museum opens new art exhibition

The Hearth that FedA new exhibition opens at Dorset County Museum on 2nd November 2013. The Heart That Fed features the work of two Dorset artists – Nell Race and Angelika Seik.  Both have spent long careers exploring their art and have been exhibiting separately for over 30 years.  This is their first joint exhibition.

Nell Race’s pictures are non-figurative – they are not pictures of castles and beaches, but they do hold oblique and subtle references to the Dorset environment in which she lives and works. The paintings express the feelings and emotions which the Purbeck hills, rocks and cliffs evoke and all are integrated into her work.

Dorset has also influenced Angelika in many ways.  She gets her stone direct from Dorset quarries, and moved to the area to be near them. Angelika loves the sea and many of her works relate to it, for example Time & Tide. She is fascinated by the interconnections between the sea, the land, the people who live there and their shared history.

“We’re looking forward to the exhibition opening,” said Museum Director Jon Murden. “Both artists have a strong local following and we expect a lot of interest. It’s also a good time for people coming to the Museum to have a browse in the gift shop and enjoy our popular tea room.“

The Heart that Fed opens at Dorset County Museum on Saturday 2nd November and runs until 1st February 2014. Entry to the exhibition is free and many of the pieces are for sale. For more information check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org.

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New Exhibition ‘The Heart that Fed’ by Nell Race and Angelika Seik

Artspeak by Nell Race

Artspeak by Nell Race © 2013

Two of Dorset’s most compelling artists, Nell Race and Angelika Seik, present a milestone exhibition of paintings and sculpture at Dorset County Museum. The Heart that Fed showcases two extensive working careers spent in quiet determination which have lent each of their oeuvres an instinctive, personal signature.

Nell has been painting all her life and is a prolific and well respected painter in the Arts community. She constantly surprises with successively changing images. Her non-figurative paintings are frequently concerned with textures, juxtapositions and liminal spaces and hold subtle references to the Dorset environment in which she lives.  Works such as ‘Songscape’ and ‘Threshold’ reflect her interest in evocation through mark-making, while ‘Walk with 3H’ demonstrates a fascination with craft and design.

Time and Tide by Angelika Seik

Time and Tide by Angelika Seik © 2013

Angelika carves stone sculptures with provocative titles like ‘How many meals have you cooked in your life time?’ Her strong human themes have developed over the years into an on-going series of female forms, which combine socio-political ideas with traditional working methods. She describes these as ‘timeless universal women, who hold the fabric of our societies together’. This show will highlight a more reflective mood, showcasing her newest collection entitled ‘The Art of taking it easy’. Like Nell, Dorset has influenced Angelika in many ways. Not only does she get her stone from here, she moved to the area to be near it; she loves the sea and boats and sailing and many of her works are related to this theme.

Museum director Jon Murden said, “We are delighted to be able to host this exciting new exhibition and believe the contrast between the paintings and the sculptures will create an impressive and fascinating show.”

As artist friends, Nell and Angelika’s work and personalities complement each other. They say: “This exhibition arose out of mutual support and respect for each other’s ideas”. The title is a quote from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s sonnet ‘Ozymandias’, a text loved by both artists.

The exhibition opens at Dorset County Museum on Saturday 2nd November 2013 and runs until 1st February 2014. Many of the pieces are for sale and entry to the exhibition is FREE

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