Galleries - July 2015

art West Country arts and crafts across the region JULY 2015 GALLERIES CORNWALL AND WEST COUNTRY C5 There was a time when art in the West Country seemingly stopped at Bath and Bristol and didn’t really start again until you got to Truro in Cornwall. That has long since changed, with Devon and its beautiful county city Exeter leading the way in the ever burgeoning and adventurous public and private gallery scene, as well as excellent galleries now in most of the major centres. Key to this renaissance has been the major refurbishment of the town’s Victorian Venetian- style public gallery, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum. We reviewed their exhibition of Devon-based abstract painter Benedict Rubbra (organised by Deborah Wood, now working online as The Art Room – Topsham) in the May issue: ( ) . This show is on until 2 August and if you haven’t seen it yet, make a point of going – he is a greatly underrated figure. There is plenty more to see here – among them currently is a survey of the city’s major 18th C. portraitist Francis Hayman and ‘Quay Views’, an historical exhibition of topographical views of the town’s ancient waterway and canal system. Venturing a few miles south- east of Exeter to the stunningly beautiful Jurassic coast, is the resort town of Budleigh Salterton, and the Brook Gallery run by Angela Yarwood. The gallery specialises in 20th C. prints and studio ceramics, and operates to an extremely high level while still being remarkably user-friendly, and running workshops for children. A recent show was dedicated to the prints and ceramics of Bruce McLean for example, while the current exhibition looks at the work of two leading printmakers of the next generation, Mychael Barratt and Trevor Price. Canadian- born Barratt, currently President of the Royal Society of Painter/- Printmakers, has a passion for literature, theatre and film, all subjects which find their way into his exuberantly witty prints on narrative themes drawn from Shakespeare to Pop culture and seemingly everything in between. Price, the RP’s Vice-President as it happens, is a different kind of artist altogether. He focusses on drypoint and etching processes, his rich and technically brilliant prints of still-lifes, interiors and figure subjects drawing on a wide range of modernist influences, from the surrealist to the cubist. It is well worth exploring a few miles further east along this world-heritage coast, to the small fishing village of Beer where one of the longer- established galleries in this part of the world, M arine House, is still going very strong. Its constantly changing selection of some 100 or so largely West Country based artists provide an excellent overview of the region’s wealth of artistic creativity. Something of that is also to be found at the beautifully run public space, the Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton. Their current summer show, the Evolver Prize 2015, is sponsored by the publishers of the eponymous Wessex Arts and Culture Guide, in which some 50 selected regional artists, photographers and designers, both amateur and professional, compete for a prize of £500 and having their work published on the front of Evolver’s July/August edition. With all the work for sale it’s another very good way to ‘buy local’. Into Dorset, first stop is the wonderfully thriving little port and foodie haven, Lyme Regis which is now catching the art bug, with the big Town Mill Galleries complex. First opened in 2010, it has been going full blast since last year. Situated in a series of converted mill buildings just above the town’s iconic harbour, this members-led, not-for-profit trust runs two large spaces with a series of frequently changing exhibitions by mostly local artists and crafts people. What energy, what enterprise! Moving a few miles further east along the A35 coastal road, a visit to Artwave West at Morcombelake is always rewarding. This gallery has a good reputation for its thoughtful mixed exhibitions of artists whose work moves between figuration and abstraction. Their current show ‘Adoration of the