Up Close and Personal: Contemporary Reflections on Ancient Wessex

Chris Miller © 2012

Chris Miller © 2012

Deep personal experience has prompted surprising responses by 24 contemporary artists to Dorset County Museum’s rich collection.  The exhibition – Encounters – which opened at the Museum in February, appeals to a wide audience, both young and old.  It contains an fascinating range of concepts in a variety of different, and in some cases highly unusual, media.

The members of Wessex Contemporary Arts have worked with the Museum’s support to present works that are both a response to the collections and a development of their own working practice. The archaeological holdings of the Museum have, not surprisingly, been the focus of the largest number of artists.

There are several workshops and ‘meet the artists’ events scheduled throughout the spring months to bring the Encounters concept alive and encourage a greater understanding of how contemporary arts can be part of everyone’s experience.

The artists, all from Wessex Contemporary Arts, will be there personally to talk about their work between 10.30am and 12.00pm on 4th and 11th April. Come along to meet them, hear about their work and find out what inspired them.  Some of the artists are also running workshops to encourage tactile engagement with processes and concepts that are at the heart of Contemporary art.  The next of these,  an experimental drawing encounter with artists Jindra Jehu and Louise Roll, takes place at the Museum on Saturday 30th March between 10.30am and 12.00pm.  This is excellent value at just £3.00 per person, it is suitable for all ages and there is no need to book.

On Saturday 27th April Bill Crumbleholme is holding a workshop for adults on Neolithic Grooved Ware Pottery, and on Saturday 11th May Susan Hughes is running a portrait drawing workshop – this activity is suitable for adults and children over 13.

Both activities cost £7.50 per person and advance booking is essential – contact the Museum Shop on 01305 756827 for further details and to book.

Encounters: Wessex Contemporary Artists meet Dorset County Museum runs until 7th June 2013 and entry to the exhibition is free.  For further information pick up an exhibition leaflet at the Museum shop or visit the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org.

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New Exhibition: The Past Made Present at Dorset County Museum

Great British Summer by Louise Roll © 2012

Great British Summer by Louise Roll © 2012

Encounters: Wessex Contemporary Artists meet Dorset County Museum.  At last, an exhibition of contemporary art that can be accessed and enjoyed by all. 

Works by a total of 24 artists are displayed in the exhibition which opened this Saturday at Dorset County Museum.  At the exhibition preview over 200 people enjoyed exploring the new works of art, many displayed alongside artefacts from the Museum’s unique collections.  Jo Saurin, one of the artists and a curator of the exhibition said, “This is not an exhibition designed to intimidate the visitor but to encourage them, through encounters with fragments of the past, to unearth buried memories and make them contemporary. Encounters focuses on shared ancestry, poignant memory and loved landscape and there are links throughout with objects and ideas held by the Museum.”

Jon Murden, director of Dorset County Museum said, “This is one of the most challenging exhibitions we have worked on for some time, but also one of the most fascinating.  For me, the mixture of brand new works of art displayed alongside the iconic artefacts which inspired them is particularly interesting.”

The artists, all from Wessex Contemporary Arts, will be there personally on three mornings to talk about their work – come along between 10.30am and 12.00pm on 21st February, 4th and 11th April to meet them, hear about their work and find out what inspired them.  Some of the artists are also running workshops to encourage tactile engagement with processes and concepts that are at the heart of Contemporary art.  Obfuscation is not part of this exhibition.  Pleasure, recognition and personal involvement is.

The Museum’s archaeology collection has been the focus of the largest number of artists with the Dorset landscape, the coast and Maiden Castle close behind.  Poetry, library books, farming, mourning jewellery and fresco painting have also inspired other parts of the show.  Another strong category explored by some artists is enquiring into the whole concept of the Museum itself.  Visitors will see how this examination of these collections has led to the creation of many original works of art from richly coloured paintings inspired by ancient pottery to delicate bowls beautifully crafted from leaf skeletons, fish scales and other natural objects.

Encounters: Wessex Contemporary Artists meet Dorset County Museum runs until 7th June 2013 and entry to the exhibition is free.  For further information pick up an exhibition leaflet at the Museum shop or visit the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

Events: Encounters: Wessex Contemporary Artists meet Dorset County Museum

WESCA, a group of contemporary artists, respond in diverse ways to encounters with Dorset County Museum

Great British Summer by Louise Roll © 2012

Great British Summer by Louise Roll © 2012

At last, an exhibition of contemporary art that can be accessed and enjoyed by all!

It focuses on shared ancestry, poignant memory and loved landscape. No need to be intimidated, there are links throughout the exhibition with objects and ideas held by the Museum and the visitor is encouraged to explore their own memories that have a constant bearing on how we live today.

The artists will be there personally on three mornings to talk about their work – come along between 10.30am and 12 noon on 21st February, 4th and 11th April to meet them, hear about their work and find out what inspired them.  Some of the artists are also running workshops to encourage tactile engagement with processes and concepts that are at the heart of Contemporary art.  Obfuscation is not part of this exhibition.  Pleasure, recognition and personal involvement is…

Chris Miller © 2012

Chris Miller © 2012

The archaeological holdings of the museum have been the focus of the largest number of artists.  The Dorset landscape, particularly the coast and Maiden Castle is another popular subject.  Poetry, library books, farming, mourning jewellery and fresco painting are also part of the show.  Another strong category explored by some artists is enquiring into the whole concept of the Museum itself.  The experience of encountering fragments of the past, unfolding in the viewer buried and evocative memories, is made contemporary.

Encounters: Wessex Contemporary Artists meet Dorset County Museum runs from 16th February to 7th June 2013.  Entry to the exhibition is free.  Details of events associated with the exhibition are available on the Museum website and from the Museum Shop.