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Saturday, 22 November 2014

The New Committee and the Next Talks

Last Monday evening, we had our first Friends committee meeting with everyone present apart from Rosemary Savage who as a new committee member had not been given much notice of the meeting, and was otherwise engaged.
It was a very rewarding meeting, members of the committee were brimming with ideas and full of enthusiasm for ways of improving the Friends.
We took a photograph of the committee, here they are:
Also a reminder that the next Friends talk is by
 Bryn Walters on 'Roman Towns in North Wiltshire' on Friday 28th November at 7.30pm.
The talk is about how the great significance of Roman Wiltshire has not been appreciated due to a preoccupation with neolithic pre-history looking at the three major towns: Durocornovium (Lower Wanborough), Cunetio (Mildenhall, the principle Roman military site after the 4th century revolt) and Verlucio (Sandy Lane).
 Tickets as ever may be bought in advance by ringing 01793 466556 or on the door. Tickets: £4.50 (£3.50 Friends price)
To book, telephone 01793 466556.

The next talk organised by the Museum and Art Gallery is
 'Modern art and images of Christmas' by Swindon Museum & Art Gallery’s Curator, Sophie, on Thursday 4th December at 7pm
This will be a special illustrated seasonal talk about modern art and images of Christmas. 
From LS Lowry’s ‘Winter in Pendlebury’ to Gerald Gardiner’s ‘Christmas Drawing’, the talk looks at the way artists have rejected, subverted and embraced the festive season in their work.
Tickets: £4.50 (£3.50 Friends price) NB. talk starts at 7pm.

Monday, 10 November 2014

All Change at the AGM last Friday evening

It was with some trepidation that I attended the AGM last Friday knowing that Paul Ricketts, Chair for the last 7 years, has now reached the limit allowed by the constitution, and therefore had to stand down. Also standing down are John Walsh, editor of the splendid Journal for the last 15 years, Judith Thomson as Treasurer after 7 years, and Gillian Bromhead who has been Membership Secretary for the last 15 years as well.
I had volunteered for the role of Chair, and was looking forward to making notes on how to run an AGM, since at the last AGM, I was too busy taking notes as Secretary to properly observe proceedings. Unfortunately Paul was unable to attend the AGM because his Mother needed his presence, so I was thrown in at the deep end and became Chair immediately.
The committee now comprises:
Chair: Linda Kasmaty
Vice Chair: Ray Ward
Treasurer: Paul Gregory
Secretary: Jane Milner-Barry
Membership Secretary: Katie Ackrill
Ordinary members:
Vanetta Joffe
Rosemary Savage
David Poulton
Paul Ricketts
Pam Little
John Walsh
Paul Ricketts and Ray Ward have agreed to edit and publish the Journal.
A formidable team whose varied talents will help drive the Friends to bigger and better things; the fact that Katie Ackrill works on reception will make it much easier for people to join the Friends.
A new role of Event's Organiser has been created, but not as yet filled, however we can discuss this at our first committee meeting with the 'new team' next Monday evening.
Following the business end of the meeting, Helen Miah gave us an update on the Museum and Art Gallery, successful Heritage Lottery Funding and Arts Council bids have enabled 2 new people to be employed- Stefanie Vincent is Collections Manager and Jon Ratcliffe is working with younger people. There are plans to work with other groups within the town, and with 3 changes of exhibition so far this year in the gallery, it's not surprising that audience figures have doubled, and they are coming from further afield.
The Heritage Lottery Funding bid for the new Museum and Art Gallery is being finalised now and will be submitted on the 30th November, more news as we have it. Exciting times ahead with a vibrant, energetic team of people at the Museum and Art Gallery to drive the project forward.
With the distractions, I only took 2 photographs:
 I took the drinks one when waiting for people to arrive, and below is a photograph taken when Dr. Mike Pringle had begun his fascinating talk on WW1

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Magnus Quaife In Conversation

On Friday 31st October, Magnus Quaife was in conversation with Sophie Cummings at an event organised by the Contemporary Arts Society, CAS and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
Before the event started, Ellen Mara de Wachter explained a bit about the CAS whose aim is to facilitate the acquisition of new work to galleries throughout the country; founded in 1910, the CAS has been instrumental in bringing 40 works of art to Swindon's collection since we joined in 1945, including Augustus John's 'Smiling Women'.
This year, the CAS donated 3 works by Magnus Quaife to our collection, and they arranged for him to come along and talk about his practice.
His practice involves an exploration of the significance and circulation of images and cultural artefacts through painting and curating.
The three pieces are watercolour paintings from the series 1968 and Other Myths were prompted by the 40th anniversary of events in 1968, and the fact that his Mother had been in Paris in 1968 when the student uprisings were taking place, and became interested in iconic images available on the internet from this time.
Above Sophie and Magnus at question time, and below the computer projecting images and 'Miss Iceland' in the background
Another one of Magnus and Sophie
The three paintings we have are below:
 They all untitled, the one above is also 'Ben'
The watercolours are in black and white because the photographs from that time were black and white.
The one above is 'Prague Tank' and 'Miss Iceland' is below
More information on the three paintings here:
I've included another picture form the series below:
It was a very interesting evening, lots of people attended and asked questions, and at the end, Magnus Quaife said what a great honour it was to have his work in the Swindon Collection.