Become a Friend of the Swindon Museumand Art Gallery

For only £15 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

Monday, 26 August 2019

Lunchtime talk about Connections an exhibition by Group 7 exhibition

This group exhibition brings together the artists of group 7, who have a strong commitment to the media of drawing, painting and printmaking.

They share an interest in abstract and expressive painting with a strong use of colour. The exhibition showcases their recent work, allowing visitors to discover this fascinating art ensemble for themselves.
The group comprises Brian Bishop, Fran Donovan, Martyn Brewster, Ursula Leach, Bonnie Brown, Peter Symons and Michelle Griffiths, all of whom are based in the South of England.
Sophie Cummings, curator at the museum recently gave us further insights than provided by the excellent handout into this exhibition by looking at the exhibition as a whole and then discussing artists work in turn.
I took a few photos of Sophie talking about the work and this one below of the audience
Sophie gave an excellent talk on the exhibition
This is a general view, and after writing the blog post the first time, I decided I'd better go round again and take more photos of each artist's work

Going round the exhibition as most people seem to do, in an anticlockwise direction, we start with the work of Brian Bishop, seen below:
 Brian's work is probably the brightest of all the artist's work in the exhibition, this use of colour is explained in detail in the handout accompanying the exhibition, written by Michelle Griffiths
 Above is one of Fran Donovan's landscapes, a screenprint, 'Across the Ridgeway' which I feel conveys textures of the Ridgeway rather well. There are a group of 4 of Fran's landscapes in the exhibition below:
 The next artist featured on the tour round the exhibition in an anticlockwise direction is Bonnie Brown, she is quoted as saying 'Light, its effects and qualities of transience, fragility and hope, inform the work.'
 Above is 'Night Tracks Fragment 4', oil on paper, and below another piece by Bonnie Brown
 The next artist is Ursula Leach whose painting below is titled 'Path', it's carborundum and hand colouring
 This picture below is one by Peter Symons titled 'Jetty series 6 No 29 and is mixed media on paper.
 Here it is with two others.
 We then move round to Michelle Griffiths work, she says 'In my own work, I explore the way colour can contribute to a visual language that works as a metaphor for personal experience of, and observation of personal dispositions, relationships and behaviour.'
 Here's a close up of one of 'What's Next?'
and finally the work of Martyn Brewster
 and the fantastically electric blue painting
This exhibition runs until 7 September, do go and have a look if you can, and make a note of the dates of the
Next lunchtime talks:
20.9.19 Touring the Swindon Collection
11.10.19 Ken White: Railways and Landscapes
18.10.19 Touring the Swindon Collection
22.11.19 Time for tea
20.12.19 Hit Repeat
More details on the website



Friday, 23 August 2019

Children's Summer workshops

It's been really great that the Friends have been able to sponsor and support the fabulous children's workshops. I've called them summer workshops, but in fact they are  holiday workshops, with some during october half term and the Christmas holidays. It's been an absolute pleasure as well to help out at the workshops, and see children and their parents interacting and enjoying the activities. There's a flyer to let you know when the next workshops are being held, and full details are on the museum's website
I'm going to add photos taken at the gargoyle workshop; this was a fantastic event with parents and children often quite reluctant, initially, to really get stuck into the clay, and spending time instead reading the information sheet and discussing where they had seen gargoyles. Everyone did end up with their hands covered in clay, and really enjoyed the experience
I took a few photos of gargoyles made
they were the result of quite a lot of work
as you can see
with some more complicated than others
Yesterday's workshop involved making a model of a volcano, with plenty of opportunities for bright colours and flames coming out of the top. Mostly a cleaner activity, although there was glue available, and the combination of glue and tissue paper can be quite messy.
Here are just some of the resulting volcanoes:
 Some of the volcanoes were decorated as enthusiastically on the outside as on the inside
 with two halves of the inside being a bit different









 this one below had a large structure coming out of the top
This year people have been asked to fill in a feedback sheet, here are some of the lovely things people said about the workshops:

"Excellent again, very friendly and my boy really enjoyed it"
"Good fact sheet"
"We had a lovely time"
" Very pleased children loved it!"
" We had lots of fun and will be back"
"Very good, my three year old really enjoyed it"
"Staff were friendly and helpful"
"Excellent ideas which can also be used at home"
"Would definitely recommend to friends"
''Keep it up, kids loved it''
''Staff were extremely approachable, helpful and friendly, to both adults and children''
''We had a great time, we would really love to see Swindon based history such as the railways''. ''Thanks for a great day''
''This is the second one we have been to, local, value for money, had a lovely time. Will come again''
''Thank you for providing these educational but fun activities for the children during the holidays''. ''Much appreciated''
There are other activities available in the art gallery to encourage children to look out for certain things in the pictures, and then to draw their own picture. There's also a trail of 10 items to find around the museum. Details on the website.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Lunchtime talk about Touring the Swindon Collection: 60 years on

The lunchtime talks which accompany exhibitions are usually given by curator Sophie Cummings and give a wonderful insight into the thinking behind the title, and the reason for bringing together these particular works and displaying them in a certain way. This exhibition brings together 44 works which toured the country in 1959, along with some more recent acquisitions. There are more information panels than is often the case because visitors have said they very much enjoy finding out more about the history of paintings.
Here's the 'title wall'
and Sophie just visible above and below talking to about 20 of us
Two shipyard paintings,  John Nash, Dredgers, Bristol Harbour, 1924 on the right
This is a dated looking watercolour by Leslie Kent, 'Home before the Storm', a watercolour painted c 1950, purchased 1951. I've included it because it's so atypical of the Swindon Collection.
Below, another watercolour by Philip Wilson Steer, 'Boats in Harbour' painted in 1920, and presented by the Contemporary Arts Society in 1946.
Below one of the H.J.P.Bomford gifted works by Henry Moore, entitled 'Three Women and a Child', 1944, donated 1946
And last but by no means least, another of the Bomford gifted works in 1946, by Jankel Adler, 'Composition' produced in 1943
There's a lot of reflection so it's difficult to see, but do go and look at the exhibition if you can. There's an information panel on Jankel Adler, and various other artists.

Private View of Touring the Swindon Collection, 60 years on

The Friends of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery exists to support the work of the museum, specifically as a registered charity we raise money for purchases, restorations, new works, exhibitions and currently the children's workshops. We also help publicise the museum, and many of us volunteer on the front desk, and act as assistants in the workshops, additionally we hold at least 10 talks each year and this year are we have organised 5 trips. We felt invitations to Private Views would be a really good selling point to encourage more people to join the Friends, and so we very pleased to be able to extend an invitation to all Friends when the current exhibition in the main gallery was launched.
To join the Friends, please go online: www.friendsofsmag.org or pick up a form from the museum. 
Here's the information on Touring the Swindon Collection 60 years on from the website:

'In 1959, the Swindon Collection of Modern British art began a tour of 16 towns and cities of the United Kingdom.
From Falmouth to Sunderland, Southend-on-Sea to Bolton, thousands of museum visitors were introduced to paintings by Paul Nash, LS Lowry, Gwen John and Graham Sutherland. This new exhibition celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of this tour, which introduced the people of Britain to Swindon’s remarkable art and established the reputation of the ‘Swindon Collection’.
This exhibition brings together the 44 works of art sent ‘on tour’ in 1959 and presents them alongside some of the most important acquisitions we have made in the decades since. The exhibition explores the history of the collection and the ambitions and challenges of touring so many pictures to so many places.'
We gathered in the gallery, had drinks and at 6.30pm there were speeches from Curator Sophie Cummings, and magazine editor, Sue Pycroft. Erik Burnett-Godfree was to have given one of his fabulous insights into a painting at 7.15pm but was unable to do so.
What follows are so rather dark photos taken in the gallery:













Details of our September private view will be sent to Friends soon.