Become a Friend of the Swindon Museumand Art Gallery

For only £10 a year, you can become a Friend and come along to our talks, join us on trips out to places like The Royal Academy and Pallant House Gallery, there's always something going on. To become a Friend or find out more about us, go to the website www.friendsofsmag.org

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Cicatrix Exhibition

The Cicatrix exhibition in the main gallery opened with a Private View on 13 October, this was followed by a Clark Holt sponsored evening a week later, and then there was an evening organised by the Friends when Katie Ackrill walked around the exhibition with artists Prudence Maltby, Susan Francis, Henny Burnett and Caro Williams
I took photos at each event which I'll share with you below.
 They're in chronological order, so we're starting with the PV where the wine was donated by the Australian High Commission
 There were speeches and lots of people
 It's almost possible to see the High Sheriff, Nicky Alberry in the blue dress talking with Sophie Cummings on her left as you look at the photo.
 And then there was the Clark Holt evening:
 Sophie and Jeremy Holt exchanging a few words
 before Sophie led the gathered people around the Cicatrix exhibition starting with Henny Burnett's 100 Wiltshire Towers
 and moving onto this large, expressive painting by Australian artist, Sophie Cape
 and then to Prudence Maltby's drawings
 and Catherine Farish's images of indigenous Canadian soldiers photographed before they came to train on Salisbury Plain.
Next photos taken at the Friends' talk the following week, strangely these are the best photos, if I'm allowed to say that. I hope people get this far!!!
 Above talking to Susan Francis about her film and the other things around it, and below talkign about the remarkable photos of indigenous Canadians wearing headresses
 another view of Prudence Maltby's drawings
 and I like this photo through the branches
 here's Caro Williamd explaining about her bird song installations
 and finally some time was spent explaining which pieces the artists had chosen to go on display on the grey wall from the Swindon Collection to accompany the Cicatrix exhibition. Caro Williams particularly likes the Captain Cook painting by Patrick Hayman, when he landed in New Zealand, the noise of the birds was so great, he had to sleep on the ship to escape the noise. Caro can be seen below talking about the painting.
If you haven't yet seen the exhibition, it's well worth a visit.
There's also a lovely reference to the exhibition on the council's website.

Visit from the Victoria Art Gallery Friends

Approximately 25 Friends of the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath visited Swindon Museum and Art Gallery on Monday 24 September, the morning started with coffee and cake, the remnants of which can be seen in the second photo. Curator Sophie Cummings began by explaining the history of the Swindon Collection and then talked about a few of the paintings in the current exhibition: 'Art and Conflict: works from the Swindon Collection'

 Sophie then  moved on to the Cicatrix exhibition. Cicatrix means scar of a healed wound and is a 'centenary project which reflects the story of Wiltshire during World War I'. It features work by artists Prudence Maltby, Susan Francis, Henny Burnet and Caro Williams
 Above Sophie is talking about the 100 Wiltshire Towers by Henny Burnett
 and then moved around the gallery
 talking about all the pieces. There are laminated information leaflets about  each artist and their work available in the gallery.
 Everyone then had about half an hour to wander round the gallery before being joined by 7 of our Friends at Jack's Bistro just round the corner form the museum.
 I took a few general photos
 which I've included in case people want to see themselves





We had a really enjoyable time and hope to arrange a reciprocal visit before long. I'm meeting Fiona Pollard, events organiser of the Friends and Chair of the Friends of the Victoria Art Gallery next week so hope to come up with a date soon.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Unveiling a New Painting and Celebrating 25 years

Sophie Cummings, Curator at the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery contacted the Friends recently and asked if we would consider donating towards the purchase of an interesting Harold Dearden painting. We were pleased we could help with the purchase, and when the painting arrived, Sophie asked if we would like to hold an unveiling to celebrate the new addition to the Swindon Collection of Art.
We already have several Harold Dearden paintings in the collection because Harold Dearden was quite a presence in the town, this is what it says on the Sulis Fine Art website about him:
'Harold Dearden studied at the Rochdale School of Art under H. Barrett Carpenter from 1905-1910, then at the Royal College of Art, London under Gerald Moira. He was head of the Swindon Art School for over 30 years. His work is in the Museum of London and the Swindon Art Gallery.'
We held the unveiling on Thursday 16 August from 5.30-6.30pm toasting the painting while Sophie gave a short talk about interesting aspects of the painting.
 Above Stef Vincent kindly removed the cloth revealing the painting, and then Sophie pointed out that since the scene depicted Regent Circus in 1945, it gives us a fascinating snapshot of Swindon at that time.
 There was a good crowd in attendance
 and a slightly different angle including Stef and Erik Burnett-Godfree
 After Sophie's talk, we held a short commemoration of 25 years since the Friends were formed. I'd photocopied some pages from the first Journal which recorded what our Patron, Desmond Morris, had said about the art gallery being too small to host traveling exhibitions. Erik was the only person present last Thursday who admitted to being there 25 years ago, so I asked him to read out what was said in the Journal and talk about what he could remember of that night in 1993.
That was followed by a short update on future plans by Rod Hebden, Director of the Trust, who asked if people would kindly make their suggestions about where the museum and art gallery should be situated known to him via the various links on this link by 27 August. This is the consultation part of the options appraisal, so it's important people have their say.
The Harold Dearden painting was very well received by those present, and for those who weren't, it will appear in the next exhibition in the gallery which opens on 12 September, here's a photo of the painting:
Yes it's a rainy day in post war Swindon with a good feel for what it might have been like.


The Landscape Around Us!

The third Summer Workshop, this one funded by The Arts Society Kennet & Swindon, encouraged children attending to build a picture using coloured tissue paper glued to a card backing. Examples of different sorts of landscape were given on an A4 sheet, and they were surrounded by landscapes on the walls of the gallery.
It seemed that all children attending created something they were pleased with, although maybe the the concept of landscape is quite difficult to grasp as a child. I think it might be a bit like talking about the wonderful views in the Lake District to a child in the back of a car, it takes a while to understand the idea.
Creating a picture with tissue paper is an impressive skill in itself, so here are a few photos of works made on the day:
 I really like the photo above because although we avoided photographing children's faces, this girl had a face on her T shirt, giving rather a surreal effect. Children are shy of helpers at the workshops, and so it's not possible to find out much about why they produced the pictures in the way they did. Although the picture below produced by a 3 year old is entitled 'Messy Me' which gives a clue to how he felt about it.
 In the one below, the coloured tissue paper has been stuck over the frame
 and this one is constructed of screwed up tissue paper which gives a 3 dimensional, uneven quality to the picture.
 Here are siblings posing with their pictures
 and a couple more siblings
and a close up of the one on the left featuring a much loved toy
 I think this boy took the task seriously and achieved an excellent landscape.
Don't miss the final workshop this Wednesday 22 August 11am-1pm. It's entitled 'Put Yourself in the Picture!' and involves drawing a self portrait on a ceramic tile or on paper and then decorating a ceramic frame to put it in.




Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Summer Workshops

There are 4 Summer Workshops for children being held in the gallery this summer on Wednesdays from 11am-1pm, these have been funded by the Friends and The Arts Society Kennet & Swindon and have proved very popular.
Here's a copy of the flyer:
 As you can see, we've had prehistoric puppets
 and some photos I took of the prehistoric people being dressed up rather interestingly and standing in front of their dwellings.
 It's a shame it's no longer possible to photograph the children thoroughly enjoying what they were doing, but here's one holding up the puppets
 I also took some photos last week of  the fossils children made from modelling clay
 again it was a case of 'hands only'


 and with this child, they thought I wanted to photograph their hands!
The next workshop is the one sponsored by the Arts Society and encouraging children to build colourful landscape pictures.