Become a Friend of the Swindon Museumand Art Gallery

For only £15 a year, you can become a Friend and receive links to our Zoom talks. To become a Friend or find out more about us, go to the website www.friendsofsmag.org The Museum and Art Gallery at Apsley House has been closed for 2 years. Please sign the petition: https://www.change.org/SaveSwindonMuseumandArtGallery

Friday, 4 February 2022

A Celebration of Colour: A Display of Artworks and Ceramics in the Civic Offices

Since Monday 31 January, there has been a display of artworks and ceramics in committee room 3 on the ground floor of the Civic Offices, it's open to all, so please do go and have a look. I visited on Monday when there was no overhead lighting, the 8 artworks were only lit by light from the ceramics cases. I thought Gillian Ayres might have been upset to see her painting 'Florestan', a wonderfully bright and vibrant piece barely discernable in the gloom, on the right in the photo below. Interestingly, the camera phone brightened the room up so it doesn't look as dark as it was at that time.

The painting on the left is Nicholas Horsfield's 'Oval 1979 Evening, Downstream towards Vernon' 1979. Both paintings presented by The Contemporary Arts Society.

There are 3 cases with ceramics in them
on slightly different themes related to the celebration of colour theme. I haven't got a list of the pieces, although in the cabinet above, Kate Malone's jug bottom left really stands out
There are some lovely ceramic pieces in the exhibition
It would be very good to have a guide to our ceramic's collection, something some members of the Friends would be amply qualified to put together.

Here are the rest of the artworks:

Above, an old favourite on the right, Mark Lancaster's 'Cambridge' , 1969, purchased in 1971, partnered with a new acquisition by Emily Drake.
Above 'Sunset Over Essex' by Pen Dalton, a gift from the artist through the Centre for British Painting in 2013
Above left 'Drift' by Julie Umerle, also a gift from the artist through the Centre for British Painting in 2013, and on the right 'Burnt Gorse' painted in 2011 by Simon Carter, a Gift from the artist through the Centre of British Painting
This painting  is 'Three Over Two' undated by Andrew Crane, a gift from the artist through the Centre for British Painting in 2013. Analysis of the artworks appears on the labels beside each one, so it's worth having a look. 
Members of the Friends are still reeling and express disbelief that Swindon Borough Council closed down the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery for good before they had a credible alternative. I receive emails about that, here's the latest one received this week:

'Yes, Apsley House Indeed. We can't believe it's gone or why it is that we have such an uncultured council. Massively depressing for Swindon's art community after so many years of promise of a new building. It's the sting in the tail (of the croc??) this substitute of a museum by bite sized outreach exhibitions that won't attract attention, only pointing up the fact that they have no home.'

I emailed a friend who I knew had been, she said: Visited the Civic Offices yesterday. 'Thought the ceramics were fantastic but as you say it’s difficult to see the paintings in the gloom.  The room is on the north side of the building, no chance of the sun getting in at the moment, so not sure why both blinds and curtains were closed. The view is of a maintenance yard and van parking so perhaps the aim was to blot that out. Wondered whether the overhead lights should have been switched on - possibly not suitable but if they are covered by diffusers they might be OK.' 

With a town over almost a quarter of a million people, the fact we no longer have our museum and art gallery is a disgrace.


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