‘Beyond the Glade’
‘Past and Present’
The annual meeting was well attended by members who were able to hear presentations from the Chairman and officers about the activities of the Society over the past year. The Grange remains very popular with visitors, with an average of 950 per month over the course of the year. Popular events were the May Open Houses, and the continuing “Cinema By The Sea” exhibition in the Museum. The Windmill was also well visited on Open Days with over 600 visitors this year, including some school parties. There was general support for the extension of the Windmill lease from BHCC when it runs out in 2021, though the details of the new lease have yet to be fully agreed. Concern was expressed about possible threats to the Kipling Gardens from reduced funding by the Council, and to the possible developments in the village including St Aubyns.
The Chairman, Chris Davidson, presented the plans for 2016-7, which include support for the Parish Council’s Heritage lighting scheme in the village, renovation of the old Nicholson Studio, currently used by St Margarets Primary School and the siting of a new Blue Plaque to Rev Hooker at The Grange. The Chairman also congratulated the team responsible for maintaining the Grange Gardens, which has received the first prize for the second year in a row for the best Community Garden in the Brighton In Bloom competition.
The full report for 2015-6 is available to read here
THE GRANGE ART GALLERY 3- 15t NOVEMBER.
The Society of Sussex Painters, Sculptors and Engravers was founded in 1924, around the time that the Bloomsbury Group began, and their first exhibition was in 1925 at Worthing Museum of Art. And it was in the same gallery that they celebrated their 90th anniversary with an exhibition in 2014.
The SSP have frequently exhibited at The Grange Art Gallery, and in November they will present a diverse range of work from fifteen to twenty Sussex artists, each contributing up to five pieces of work.
“There is no ‘house style’ in the SSP,” says Barry Hinchliff, the society’s president, “but perhaps because of our proximity to London or even Ditchling and Charleston, together with an excellent College of Art in Brighton, the work of members has always been fresh, lively and contemporary.” He explains that the title of the society covers the disciplines in most of their exhibitions; incorporating abstract and mixed media painting, oils, acrylics,water colour, print-making and sculpture in various media.
Barry has had a long association with the Grange Art Gallery. In 1993 when The Rottingdean Preservation Society took over running the Grange, Barry was co-opted onto their team to be the gallery’s first curator. A role he had for eighteen years. And although he is still painting he is now retiring as the SSP President. “I would like to hand over the mahl stick to someone else.”
For information on SSP membership, contact Helen Armstrong on
01273 881304: or email firstname.lastname@example.org
“In my latter years, I have travelled extensively, and have become fascinated by the predominant colours in different landscapes; for example, the red/brown vastness of the Nullarbor Plain in Central Australia, the black lava fields of Hawaii, and the haunting pale blues and greens of the Alaskan glaciers.”
Rob Upward’s words give the title to his exhibition: called “High and Low”, because his paintings show varied colours and landscapes from mountains to sea.
Rob was born on the Isle of Wight, but has lived in Saltdean for many years. His working life was in Special Education, for twenty years he was head teacher of a Brighton Special School. He admits that he had no formal art training beyond A-level, but spanning these working years painting was always a hobby, a form of relaxation; he describes himself then as a Sunday Painter. But with retirement, came more time to take his art work more seriously.
“I learnt new techniques, styles, used a range of media. Although I have worked in water colour and gouache, I have found the immediacy and vibrancy of acrylics best suited to my painting. More recently, I have attended a series of life-drawing classes to include, where appropriate, the human figure in my landscapes.”
This will be Rob’s fifth one-person show at the Grange Art Gallery. He has also had exhibitions at the Crypt Gallery in Seaford and in a Brighton coffee shop in the Laines. He says that he has been particularly influenced by the French impressionists, and the Canadian group of seven artists. But essentially, he now tries to paint the world, and more recently the people in it, as he sees it.
“I paint because I have to, it’s a compulsion – more than a hobby.”
In October and November, the Grange Art Gallery opens its doors to wide ranging and thought provoking exhibitions. Prepare to have your ideas and perceptions challenged…..
6 – 18 October. Rob Upward. “High and Low.”
This is Rob Upward’s fifth one-person exhibition at the Grange Art Gallery, and he has called it “High and Low”, because his thirty paintings look at landscape from mountains to sea. “I have become fascinated by the predominant colours in different landscapes; for example, the red-brown vastness of the Nullarbor Plain in Australia, the black lava fields of Hawaii.”
20 October – l November. Amanda Davidson. “Imagination. Dead Imagine” (Samuel Beckett)
Amanda Davidson is a published children’s book illustrator, author, who works mainly in pen and ink, watercolour, oils and acrylic. In this exhibition, shared with Vince Donlin, they explore the meaning of self, perception, bereavement, imagination, love and life in paint.
23-15 November. Society of Sussex Painters
“The work of members has always been fresh, lively, contemporary” says Barry Hinchliff, the society’s president. And this year’s exhibition will show the work of fifteen to twenty Sussex artists, each contributing up to four pieces of work. The society was formed i 1924. Since then, they have had annual and bi-annual shows, very often at The Grange.
17 – 29 November. Jim MacAirt. “Zen TV”
“We are mesmerized with phones, i-pads and widescreen tvs. I see that we are trapped in devices,” says Jim MacAirt. In this exhibition, he offers an antithesis to today’s intense preoccupation with watching. showing abstractions, images that require no dialogue or theory.
An exhibition by SARA HILL
Sara Hill is a local artist. She attended Eastbourne College of Art and Design from the age of sixteen. She continued to paint when she left, but also spent time as a band photographer and promoter, designing logos, posters and record sleeves.
For over twenty years she has had many exhibitions, some solo, which have had local press coverage and her appearance on local tv and radio. She has also had exhibitions in London and as she says “from Southwold to Edinburgh”. A visit to Berlin resulted not only in sales but two successful exhibitions.
However, appreciation of Sara’s art is not limited to the world of art galleries. Some of her pastels were commissioned by BBC 1 for the “Randall and Hopkirk Deceased” remake. And some abstracts were used in an ITV production of “The Shell Seekers” starring Vanessa Redgrave. Her paintings also featured in the BAFTA award winning BBC2 sketch show “That Mitchell and Webb Look”. And Disney commissioned two of her paintings for a programme on its’ ITV children’s channel.
Her solo exhibition at The Grange Art Gallery in August consists of about forty paintings entitled “The Sea Calls My Name”. For, as she says, “My work is a mixture of seascape, figurative and abstract oils on canvas, colour energetic and thought-provoking.”
Mick Bensley was born in Sheringham, on the north coast of Norfolk. “I spent my formative years on the beach and developed a profound understanding of the sea’s many moods, adverse weather conditions and the desire to capture it in paint.”
This love of the sea is the focus of his exhibition at the Grange Art Gallery of maritime paintings, including some of rescues here on the south coast; the Rottingdean area; and nine porcelain plates of a fictitious village entitled “Journey through the Village”.
Mick studied at Norwich School of Art, and worked in London for fifteen years as a graphic designer and illustrator. But, in the late sixties he read a book which fired his imagination. Cyril Jolly’s book about the lifeboat legend, Henry Blogg of Cromer.
Motivated by its’ descriptions of feats against overwhelming odds and the selfless courage of the men who crewed the lifeboats, Mick produced his first watercolours of maritime rescues. “You can’t fail to be awed and inspired by these men,” he says. “Their selflessness and their courage was, and still is, exceptional. And in the early days, they were doing this in open boats powered only by sails and their own brute strength at the oars.”
Throughout the seventies, he continued to paint maritime watercolours and oils and 1980 returned to Norfolk to paint professionally.
His work involves a great deal of meticulous research, reading RNLI report and records dating from 1824. “From that I research the lifeboat, wind force, wind direction and start with a thumbnail sketch.” This thumbnail sketch forms the basis of a finished painting.
Today, Mick lives and works overlooking the sea at Rottingdean. “I’ve always liked painting the sea in all it moods and the more I read, the more I thought that the stories of these lifeboatmen and their heroic rescues were great subjects.”
“What a delight to be in William Nicholson’s house, one of my favourite painters.”
The words of Chris McEwan, an artist, who in June and July took part of the “Ways of Seeing” exhibition at The Grange Art Gallery.
He paints with watercolours, pastels and acrylics and takes inspiration from the South Downs’ landscape. “It is a spiritual thing, quite mystical. Downland and farmland are pure abstract…I am mesmerised in a country where time has stood still.”
At the age of eleven, Chris went to Brighton College of Art for Saturday morning lectures; and eventually studied there full time. Later he taught there for eighteen years, and ended his career as senior lecturer at Kingston University, teaching illustration and graphic design.
Today, he lives in Lewes with his wife, Carol Lawson, an artist whose work is also motivated by the downs and local history. But Chris has roots in Rottingdean. His great-grandparents once owned a hotel on the site of what is now The White Horse. Before that, they were involved in horse racing, had a hotel at Newmarket, and worked there for King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.
Chris says he has already filled a sketchbook with drawings of the house and gardens of Nymans, where he and his wife will have an exhibition in 2017.
Meanwhile, students still come back to see him and he says it is a privilege being with the young. “It still never ceases to amaze me that they still wish to be in the company of a very old man!”