Galleries - August 2013

ard, as part of a drawing club associated to the Royal Society of British Artists. With 150 members, amateur and professional, it is thriving like never before, with weekly sessions and a waiting list. To see just how good they are and to enjoy a sample of one of their sessions visit their Mall Galleries show this month (5-10 August). Summer in Millfield Squeezed for room in July, I didn’t have time to draw attention to that now staple event in the South West’s artistic life – the 24th Sum- mer Show in the Atkinson Gallery – so, if you haven’t seen it make sure you get there by 10 August. This really is a remarkable enter- prise in that it makes a conscious effort to encourage and draw in such a diverse range of good- quality contemporary work from local artists – there is nothing pro- vincial about the level of achieve- ment and ambition here. SCULPTURE PARADISES With walls, water, viewing pavil- ions and subtle contrasts between informal and formal plantings, all key elements of the Persians’ ori- ginal conception of the paradise garden, then with the addition of sculpture, all the venues we are looking at in this article must, by definition, count as paradises – and have, therefore, to be visited. moment for people to see for themselves, with the work of over 100 artists in the Bridport & West Dorset Open Studios exhibition. For full further info on the subject go to Meanwhile, just the other side of the Tamar that divides Cornwall from Devon, another enterprising artistic grouping, founded in 2003 and neatly entitled Drawn to the Valley , is also celebrating a busy month of events with a 'taster' show in which 60 of the 160 mem- bers' work will be showing in Tavistock Town Hall's Annual ex- hibition (7-11 August) and then an Open Studios event starting on 31 August for 9 days. Established as both a support network among the artists and as a means of pro- moting the Tamar Valley's attrac- tions as an officially designated World Heritage Site and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this seems a perfect matching of form and function. Larger than Life The sheer variety and richness of artistic life and activity that goes on day to day in London, mostly unacknowledged in the media, never ceases to amaze. Life- drawing is a good example – there must be hundreds of adult edu- cation and private groups who meet regularly to draw from the human figure, clothed or un- clothed. The largest and longest running is the Hesketh Hubbard Society , founded in 1930 by the eponymous Eric Hesketh Hubb- 8. GALLERIES AUGUST 13 ANTENNAE The Bridport Scene It may not have a Tate (yet!) but the Bridport art scene is unmistak- ably beginning to gather quantum mass. So that whereas, a decade or so back, the town was simply the regional focus for a loose-knit network of independent artists attracted by an idyllic landscape and, from the 1980s, by the activ- ities of Peter Hitchin’s Symon- dsbury Art College just outside town and the Oakhayes Art Residency that followed it in the same village in the 1990s, it has become something altogether more dynamic. Most significant in this perhaps was the founding of the St Michael’s Studios in an old run-down industrial estate and, in the same year, the start-up of the Bridport Open Studios event which became vital to its exist- ence. Since then everything has snowballed. St Michael’s has be- come a prosperous hub for a whole range of other creative, trade and craft practices as well, from carpentry and masonry to sign-writers and designers; the beautiful Slader’s Yard gallery opened as did the Electric Palace for cinema and music events and the Allsopp Gallery in Bridport Arts Centre has become one of the best public spaces in the region. As a consequence more and more artists are drawn to join in this vibrant life, a story well-told in artist Kit Glaisyer’s eponymous book on the subject. Meanwhile, August Bank Holiday (24-26 August) provides an excellent