Gallery 150

Leamington offers up nudity and vivid landscapes in night of two art show openings

What a fun night for the art show ligger in Leamington.

On Friday, Arts Trail Gallery in Regent Court, Livery Street, held a private view of a new exhibition entitled Le Maison Bleu, paintings by Bryan B Kelly, curated by Grazia Carano. I was invited to that so decided to visit. At the same time, Gallery 150, which has just moved across the street to different premises in Regent Court, held a opening night for its new exhibition, Human Spaces. I wasn’t invited to that, but as the galleries are only three doors apart, what the hell, I wasn’t going to miss it.

The exhibitions couldn’t be more different. Human Spaces, which I visited first, consists of works by seven artists, plus Kate Spence who gave a live performance in the window space at the opening. The exhibition was described as a figurative exhibition, which doesn’t have to mean naked, but that’s mainly what was on show.

Stand out works for me were Ray Spence’s series of photographs of life models, not in their ‘work’, but posing naked in more domestic situations. Alongside each was a question and answer session with the model. It’s refreshing to see the models have a voice, and also that they’re not all young and slight. Domenica, 58, lays back on a rooftop near a railway line, as the photo is taken from next door where a man cuddles his pet dog.

Anna, 45, lays on her kitchen worksurface, while Kadi, 28, is in two pictures while her partner and young child carry on with life oblivious. Cressida, 44, sits around while a man practises his French horn, and Arthur 79, poses imaginatively while a woman does the housework and makes a phone call around him. Only ‘H’, a heavily tattooed and, er, intimately pierced man doesn’t benefit us with his thoughts.

Ray’s works feel different for giving the models a voice, but there seems little new or different about many of the other works to show the theme of the nude has moved on at all, and some have odd overtones.

There are two paintings of Sophie, by Melvyn Warren-Smith, and the model tells, slightly worryingly, how she was persuaded to pose naked after visiting Melvyn and his wife at their home, but how liberating she found the experience ….

Neil Moore’s Release shows a naked woman with piles of ropes laying around her. It was a relief to see Emma Tooth’s paintings of a muscley breakdancer, complete with trousers.

By this time, at a packed opening, the gallery had run out of wine though there were still plenty of good-quality nibbles around. But there was more wine (and equally good nibbles) available at Arts Trail Gallery, though Gerry Smith who runs it suggested we visit his installation gallery first.

This is an empty shop within sight of the gallery where there’s a large window space. It’s been furnished brightly in a way which fits in with the paintings of Bryan B Kelly, which are all in very vivid colours. There were also some of Bryan’s accomplished pottery pieces on show there too, which were in more earthy colours and were rather stylish.

Paintings included The Little Red Butterfly, with the creature in the bottom left corner of the big, busy work showing purple and green fields. Four Sheep show the animals in one field, amidst a bigger landscape, and Herons Cove shows the bird on an island, again bottom left, on a huge expanse of aquamarine colour surrounded by fields.

The Little Red Butterfly by Bryan B Kelly

The Round Tower shows the uncharacteristically grey tower in a landscape, reminding me of a trip I made many years ago to Bryan’s home country of Ireland. Bryan studied textiles and garment design in the 1960s and has only begun painting in more recent years, and describes his paintings as “naïve with more than a hint of surrealism”. Some of the repetitive dots and patterns also suggest an interest in Aboriginal art too.

Anyway, wine drunk, nibbles eaten it was time to move on from Leamington’s busiest art quarter of the night after what had been an interesting, and certainly varied night.

Bryan and visitor in the installationPictures – The Little Red Butterfly, and Bryan with a visitor in the installation


Serious start to new year with Coventry and Warwickshire exhibitions

begging near covent garden car park (2)
Begging near Covent Garden car park in Leamington by Josh King

For those prone to a bout of post-Christmas depression, the subject matter of several new exhibitions in Coventry and Warwickshire may not seem like the best antidote. However don’t be put off – the standard of work on show might actually cheer you up.


Souren’s exhibition at Gallery 150 is a triumph over suffering

sourenmousavidream  Souren

A life that promised riches but was then followed by the horrors of imprisonment lays behind the works of art on show now in Warwickshire.
Souren Mousavi’s exhibition at Gallery150 in Leamington features varied works focusing on the female form, her Persian heritage and the fight for freedom.


Art show at Gallery 150 in Leamington to help Brazilian street kids

THE opening of an exhibition at Gallery150 in Leamington is always a bit of an occasion.
It’s the only gallery where you get called sir or madam as you’re handed a glass of wine, and the canapés are always beautifully presented.
But tonight’s opening was the first where at opening time the exhibition was still being hung! LSA Chair Gerry Smith, fresh back from holiday, and an able assistant were busy fixing the last digital prints to the wall as the first drinks were poured, but they were soon all in place and in a straight line too.


Quotes inspire Solihull Artists Forum show at Gallery150

A THEMATIC exhibition which stretched the artists’ creative powers is the main exhibition at the ever-busy Gallery150 in Leamington until May7.
The Solihull Artists Forum are showing Text & Texture, works by 19 members, created in response to the title. All have to be shown alongside a quote or reference which relates in some way to the work – some are fairly obvious, and some don’t seem particularly related.


Artists’ talks are new feature at Gallery 150

Gallery 150 in the Regent Court Shopping Centre, Leamington, is launching Art talks, an opportunity for people to meet the artists exhibiting at the gallery and get an insight into their methods, conception and production of art.
Two talks next week tie in with current exhibitions. On Tuesday, April 19 at 7pm Andy Farr will give a talk on his exhibition of paintings, and on Thursday April 21 at 7pm the founder of the Coventry-based Titanic Heritage Trust, Howard Nelson, will be giving a talk about his work and the trust.


Walls have wheels in Gallery 150

How do you rattle an artist? Well, I’m sure there are lots of ways, but I saw a good one in action at the latest private view at Gallery 150 in Leamington.
I was talking to painter Martin Johnson about his works (including Woodland Rendezvous, above) and he was explaining the concept behind them when one of the gallery walls started receding behind me.


Gallery 150 on to a winner with open show

Gallery 150 in Leamington, run by the Leamington Studio Artists, is halfway through its latest exhibition after a packed opening night on Tuesday.
The gallery was on to a sure-fire winner by holding Renewal (2) an open where everyone who submitted a maximum of two entries was guaranteed of having at least one of them hung in the show.


Gallery150 knows how to stage a first night

Gallery150 in Leamington upped the stakes with its private view last night.
There was a rather good buffet spread, and wine served by a bow tie-wearing, besuited gentleman who called the guests sir and madam. Impressive!
If only what was on show had managed to live up to this welcome.