The hazards of waiting for paintings to arrive

Ever met the stress an artist feels when their paintings do not arrive as predicted for an exhibition? I have. Now I understand.

When the first delivery date whistled past, Katie began to call. At first hesitant, but then insistent, tracking down the human voices behind the automated systems. As the exhibition came closer the calls became more frantic, and the results more erratic.

“A problem with them.” “Charges to pay.” “Looks like they’re in Frankfurt.” “Oh, they’ve been returned to sender.”

Nooooo! How do you hold on to your sanity? At last the words came. “They will be delivered tomorrow.”

The wash of relief, of love and forgiveness … but only one arrived. More calls. More strain. More van space needed. “Tomorrow.”

And finally, miraculously, they appeared. Just in time.

The artist was my niece, Katie Simpson, invited, along with other young artists, to take part in a one night only exhibition, organised by Fauna Brewing, to raise funds for conservation charities in Africa. The setting in Arundel Castle at night, was dramatic, and so were the paintings. Katie’s cheetah is painted with the red earth of Tsavo. Her wild dog was watching us as we came in.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

A stroll around The New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham

The New Ashgate Gallery, right on the edge of the car park we used, had its lights on, and was clearly open, so in we went. The gallery was packed, not with people, but with eye stopping art and colour.

We stepped through the entrance door to see this wall of Graham Dean’s work. When we looked more closely we could see the emotion contained within each apparently simple image. Even the paper added to the sensual complexity, particularly in the large central work, which was made up of several different sheets, with the head having a rough edged section of its own.

There were other pieces by the same artist, at various points around the little gallery. I found each fascinating, and the longer I looked the more I felt I could see.

The gallery also had works by other artists, including an exhibition by Virginia Ray. Her landscapes are very different, with a moodiness I loved.

Beside her art was a vivid display of ceramics, and crafts in different materials. We looked and admired, then walked away to circle around the little gallery, before returning to look and enjoy again.

If you happen to be in Farnham, Surrey, with a little spare time, the Graham Dean and Virginia Ray exhibitions are there until 4 March 2023.

In case you would like to learn more about Graham Dean, here is a link to a written interview on his website.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

The Photographers’ Gallery – London

The Photographers’ Gallery, in the Soho Photography Quarter in London, is a brand new space to me. In case it might be to you, here’s a little more about its history.

The gallery opened in 1971 in Covent Garden, and was the first space in the UK dedicated solely to photography and photographers. The founder was Sue Davies OBE (1933 -2020) who, for many years, played a crucial role in building the community of artists and enthusiasts around the gallery, and in raising money to support the exhibitions. As the gallery grew so did awareness of the power of photography. Sue Davies was the director until 1991.

In 2008 the gallery moved from Covent Garden, and after a bit of re-arrangement, opened in its new building in Ramillies Street in 2012. The area around it is now known as the Soho Photography Quarter (just off Oxford Street). I loved the feel of the area, and of the gallery as soon as I stepped into it.

Before my visit I did a little research into the gallery. I found this under Visitor Information on its website:

“Photography, curiosity, and respect for people’s health and safety is encouraged everywhere”

I look forward to visiting again.

Here is a link to an article about Sue Davies OBE, including a short audio

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023