Art

Somerset Art Weeks

Living in the countryside, away from big city culture and Art hubs can sometimes seem like i’m in a black hole of creativity… Luckily there is Somerset Art Weeks! Two weeks where artists open their studios to the public and the county of Somerset comes alive with a creative energy and buzz.

*All artist links are at end of post. Title image by Jane Philips (title unknown)

The garden at the Lord Poulett arms, Hinton St. George, Somerset

Although on for 2 weeks, with other travel and work commitments, I was only able to visit a couple of studios but they didn’t disappoint and really opened my eyes to an artist community that I had no idea existed here.

The beautiful Somerset countryside

Set in the South West of England, Somerset is a beautiful part of the country, with beautiful scenery and good weather (most of the time!). It also has great links with Europe, easily accessible from Bristol, and is only a couple of hours from London. I’m a city girl at heart but as i’m discovering more and more small scale artist communities surrounding me here I feel i’m adapting to the rural pace!

Deluge, acrylic mixed media on board by John Gammans

Thingvellir, acrylic on board by John Gammans

Pioneer, acrylic on board by John Gammans

Latitude, acrylic and mixed media on board by John Gammans

As someone who enjoys travel I am particularly drawn to pieces that reflect this, especially if they are linked in some way to places I have already visited, stirring nostalgic memories and really leaving an impression of place and or culture. This was the case when I experienced the impressionist/abstract mixed media landscapes/skyscapes of John Gammans, over in Martock. This series draws on a trip to Iceland (specifically Þingvellir national park) as well as weather patterns, truly capturing the rough and rugged landscape and weather, with his embodying and effortlessly reflective style that captures the sensory experience of place.

Double Bud in steel by Chris Kampf (CK Garden sculptures)

Stem Ginger in steel by Chris Kampf (CK Garden sculptures)

Jungle Feet in steel by Chris Kampf (CK Garden sculptures)

Sculptor Chris Kampf creates rustic outdoor pieces from steel, taking influence from nature. Working from his studio in Martock (which he was sharing with John for this event), his work is beautifully representative of natural forms found in fauna. His interpretation of these often delicate forms, showcase a captured moment that sit within an ever changing backdrop seamlessly.

On Eggardon Hill (unfinished), oil by Jane Philips

A toe in the water, Emma Barnett

Still Life with Blue Jug, mixed media by Mary Stack

In the picturesque village of Hinton St George I found the studio housing the work of Jane phillips, Mary Stack and Emma Barnett. A charming mix of landscapes, mixed media still lifes, atmospheric seascapes, as well as sculpted bronzes fill the space. Usually the thought of a still life conjures up memories of high school art classes and countless hours of mundanely capturing vase placement! So, I was pleasantly surprised to be drawn to the mixed media pieces by Mary Stack. Using layers of paint, paper and text, with washes of colour and ink, she gives this traditional medium a new lease of life.

WATER-MEADOW-WOOD installation at the Octagon Theatre, Yeovil

One aspect of Somerset Art Weeks that I really enjoyed was the number of community and small group projects on display. This sense of working together and transferring skills, especially in youth projects, was a lovely addition to this event. Showcasing not only established artists but new upcoming talent is a great way to encourage others to get creative! I managed to see the final instalment of the group show; WATER-MEADOW-WOOD, born from results created when artist Elizabeth Jardine worked with family groups and schools, on themes aimed to explore elements associated with Yeovil Country Park.

WATER-MEADOW-WOOD installation at the Octagon Theatre, Yeovil

It was a lovely collection of work across the board, with something for everyone. I look forward to exploring further, what other artistic gems I can unearth next year!

 

John Gammans – link to website

Chris Kampf – link to website

Jane Philips – link to website

Somerset Art Weeks – link to website

 

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