Dixon’s Gavel Bash!

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Aug 28 2016

Buddy Holly and Waylon Jennings by Simon Dixon

Nick Toovey will once again be wielding his gavel on contemporary art, but instead of hosting a self-representing artist sale, he will be conducting a contemporary art auction to raise funds for a much loved and celebrated Brighton-based artist, the ‘daddy’ of pop art, Simon Dixon, on Thursday 29th September at the Naked Eye Gallery in Hove.

'Dixon' by Antony Micallef

'Dixon' by Antony Micallef

A host of artists originating locally but of national and international renown have donated works to raise funds for Simon’s therapy and care in his battle against cancer. The auction includes works by Antony Micallef, Simon Dixon, Sarah Shaw, Ian Hodgson, Chris Kettle, Charlie Day, Tori Day, Paul Ostrer, Sam Hewitt, Jim Sanders and Graham Carter. The auction will be a rare opportunity to buy works of art from a gallery with the price tags decided by the bidders and buyers.

Auctioneer, Nick Toovey, said ‘I can’t wait! The auction includes works from so many of my friends from the Toovey’s contemporary art auction days, not least Simon himself, who really needs some help with what he is going through at the moment.  I love the community spirit of the art world and this auction exemplifies it.’

On the evening of the sale, the ‘Tree of Temptation’ will offer luxuriant treats donated by local artisans and businesses to buy and take home, but with a twist – find out more on the night!

Artwork offered for the sale can be previewed from 3rd September at the Naked Eye Gallery, 5 Farm Mews, Farm Road, Hove, BN3 1GH, where the auction itself will be conducted by Nick Toovey Thursday 29th September. Doors open at 7pm with the auction starting at 8pm. If you can’t make the auction but wish to try and buy, there are other ways to bid. Please ask for more details at the gallery.

Please visit the Facebook event page for further information.


Pots to make you smile on the Arundel Gallery Trail

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Aug 26 2016
Each dog is individually modelled with its own character

'A Parliament of Dogs' by Josse Davis, each dog is individually modelled with its own character

What could be a better August Bank Holiday weekend treat than visiting potter, Josse Davis, at the Duff Gallery, Tarrant Street, Arundel, as part of the 2016 Arundel Gallery Trail.

Potter, Josse Davis with Stanley the dog and his ceramic sculpture ‘Parliament of Dogs’

Potter, Josse Davis with Stanley the dog and his ceramic sculpture ‘Parliament of Dogs’

The Arundel Gallery Trail is now in its 28th year and coincides with the Arundel Festival. More than 150 artists will be exhibiting in over 60 venues in and around Arundel.

Josse Davis has exhibited every year.

This talented potter feels a great connection with the countryside around Arundel. He explains that walking with his dog, Stanley, gives him time to imagine, away from the everyday.

As I approach the Duff Gallery I catch sight of Josse and Stanley beside his ceramic sculpture ‘Parliament of Dogs’. Wit and storytelling are at the heart of his work. He describes his pleasure in making the dogs. Each dog is individually modelled with its own character. Josse says “I add the eyes last – it gives them such life. These Raku ware dogs come out of the kiln when the glaze is still molten. The glaze cools suddenly and it shatters giving a crazed appearance.”

My eye is taken by a beautiful stoneware charger decorated with a shoal of Mullet. Josse smiles and describes how Stanley enjoys a morning swim. Sometimes they find shoals of Mullet in the Arun “You see them, hundreds thick, on a hot day as they swim up river. They light up the muddy river with their shades of blue, silver and greys.” The translucence of the scene he describes is perfectly represented in the dish. ‘Mullets’ has long been a term used for those born in Arundel.

A stoneware charger titled ‘Mullet’ by Josse Davis

A stoneware charger titled ‘Mullet’ by Josse Davis

I comment that his exceptional work is that of a potter, an artist, working at the height of his powers. Josse responds “I’ve reached a point in my work in which I’m comfortable not to have to keep searching for new glazes. My Raku and Stoneware glazes don’t let me down, which allows me to concentrate purely on the design and gives my craftsmanship a fresh confidence.” He concludes “I like to think my work makes people smile.” I agree. Josse Davis’ ideas always have a hint of wit about them.

There are bowls and dishes painted with witty scenes and individual dogs too. Prices range from £30 to £4500.

Exhibiting print maker, Melissa Alers Hankey in the Duff Gallery

Exhibiting print maker, Melissa Alers Hankey in the Duff Gallery

Josse Davis is exhibiting with his partner, Melissa Alers Hankey and Victor Stuart Graham.

The Arundel Gallery Trail is open 2.00pm to 5.30pm during the week and 12 noon to 5.30pm this Bank Holiday weekend. It provides an exciting opportunity to enjoy and buy art from leading Sussex artists like Josse Davis. For more information on exhibiting artists and this celebration of Sussex as a centre of art go to www.arundelgallerytrail.co.uk.

By Rupert Toovey, a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington. Originally published in the West Sussex Gazette.

POTS TO MAKE YOU SMILE ON THE ARUNDEL GALLERY TRAIL

What could be a better August Bank Holiday weekend treat than visiting potter, Josse Davis, at the Duff Gallery, Tarrant Street, Arundel, as part of the 2016 Arundel Gallery Trail.

The Arundel Gallery Trail is now in its 28th year and coincides with the Arundel Festival. More than 150 artists will be exhibiting in over 60 venues in and around Arundel.

Josse Davis has exhibited every year.

This talented potter feels a great connection with the countryside around Arundel. He explains that walking with his dog, Stanley, gives him time to imagine, away from the everyday.

As I approach the Duff Gallery I catch sight of Josse and Stanley beside his ceramic sculpture ‘Parliament of Dogs’. Wit and storytelling are at the heart of his work. He describes his pleasure in making the dogs. Each dog is individually modelled with its own character. Josse says “I add the eyes last – it gives them such life. These Raku ware dogs come out of the kiln when the glaze is still molten. The glaze cools suddenly and it shatters giving a crazed appearance.”

My eye is taken by a beautiful stoneware charger decorated with a shoal of Mullet. Josse smiles and describes how Stanley enjoys a morning swim. Sometimes they find shoals of Mullet in the Arun “You see them, hundreds thick, on a hot day as they swim up river. They light up the muddy river with their shades of blue, silver and greys.” The translucence of the scene he describes is perfectly represented in the dish. ‘Mullets’ has long been a term used for those born in Arundel.

I comment that his exceptional work is that of a potter, an artist, working at the height of his powers. Josse responds “I’ve reached a point in my work in which I’m comfortable not to have to keep searching for new glazes. My Raku and Stoneware glazes don’t let me down, which allows me to concentrate purely on the design and gives my craftsmanship a fresh confidence.” He concludes “I like to think my work makes people smile.” I agree. Josse Davis’ ideas always have a hint of wit about them.

There are bowls and dishes painted with witty scenes and individual dogs too. Prices range from £30 to £4500.

Josse Davis is exhibiting with his partner, Melissa Alers Hankey and Victor Stuart Graham.

The Arundel Gallery Trail is open 2.00pm to 5.30pm during the week and 12 noon to 5.30pm this Bank Holiday weekend. It provides an exciting opportunity to enjoy and buy art from leading Sussex artists like Josse Davis. For more information on exhibiting artists and this celebration of Sussex as a centre of art go to www.arundelgallerytrail.co.uk.

Rupert Toovey is a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington - www.tooveys.com – and a priest in the Church of England Diocese of Chichester.

Image 1: Potter, Josse Davis with Stanley the dog and his ceramic sculpture ‘Parliament of Dogs’.

Image 2: Each dog is individually modelled with its own character.

Image 3: A stoneware charger titled ‘Mullet’ by Josse Davis.

Image 4: Exhibiting print maker, Melissa Alers Hankey in the Duff Gallery.

POTS TO MAKE YOU SMILE ON THE ARUNDEL GALLERY TRAIL

What could be a better August Bank Holiday weekend treat than visiting potter, Josse Davis, at the Duff Gallery, Tarrant Street, Arundel, as part of the 2016 Arundel Gallery Trail.

The Arundel Gallery Trail is now in its 28th year and coincides with the Arundel Festival. More than 150 artists will be exhibiting in over 60 venues in and around Arundel.

Josse Davis has exhibited every year.

This talented potter feels a great connection with the countryside around Arundel. He explains that walking with his dog, Stanley, gives him time to imagine, away from the everyday.

As I approach the Duff Gallery I catch sight of Josse and Stanley beside his ceramic sculpture ‘Parliament of Dogs’. Wit and storytelling are at the heart of his work. He describes his pleasure in making the dogs. Each dog is individually modelled with its own character. Josse says “I add the eyes last – it gives them such life. These Raku ware dogs come out of the kiln when the glaze is still molten. The glaze cools suddenly and it shatters giving a crazed appearance.”

My eye is taken by a beautiful stoneware charger decorated with a shoal of Mullet. Josse smiles and describes how Stanley enjoys a morning swim. Sometimes they find shoals of Mullet in the Arun “You see them, hundreds thick, on a hot day as they swim up river. They light up the muddy river with their shades of blue, silver and greys.” The translucence of the scene he describes is perfectly represented in the dish. ‘Mullets’ has long been a term used for those born in Arundel.

I comment that his exceptional work is that of a potter, an artist, working at the height of his powers. Josse responds “I’ve reached a point in my work in which I’m comfortable not to have to keep searching for new glazes. My Raku and Stoneware glazes don’t let me down, which allows me to concentrate purely on the design and gives my craftsmanship a fresh confidence.” He concludes “I like to think my work makes people smile.” I agree. Josse Davis’ ideas always have a hint of wit about them.

There are bowls and dishes painted with witty scenes and individual dogs too. Prices range from £30 to £4500.

Josse Davis is exhibiting with his partner, Melissa Alers Hankey and Victor Stuart Graham.

The Arundel Gallery Trail is open 2.00pm to 5.30pm during the week and 12 noon to 5.30pm this Bank Holiday weekend. It provides an exciting opportunity to enjoy and buy art from leading Sussex artists like Josse Davis. For more information on exhibiting artists and this celebration of Sussex as a centre of art go to www.arundelgallerytrail.co.uk.

Rupert Toovey is a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington - www.tooveys.com – and a priest in the Church of England Diocese of Chichester.

Image 1: Potter, Josse Davis with Stanley the dog and his ceramic sculpture ‘Parliament of Dogs’.

Image 2: Each dog is individually modelled with its own character.

Image 3: A stoneware charger titled ‘Mullet’ by Josse Davis.

Image 4: Exhibiting print maker, Melissa Alers Hankey in the Duff Gallery.


The Art of the Studio Potter

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Aug 18 2016
Four graduated jugs by Alison Britton

Four graduated jugs by Alison Britton

This week I am returning to ‘The Bishop Otter Art Collection: A Celebration’ exhibition at Chichester University to rediscover their remarkable British Studio Pottery.

A Bernard Leach stoneware jug

A Bernard Leach stoneware jug

The collection includes Modern British paintings as well as studio ceramics, sculpture and tapestries. Visiting professor Gill Clark explains the philosophy behind the collection “Sheila McCririck and the Bishop Otter College Principal Betty Murray founded the collection in the years after the Second World War. They both believed in the civilising influence of art and the educative value of its ability to challenge.” With this philosophy behind the collection it is un-surprising that the Bishop Otter teaching college should have also collected the work of artisan, art potters.

Britain led the world in the field of studio ceramics in the 20th century.

The British ceramics tradition is tied up with the vernacular. From medieval times its production has been widespread and diverse.

The artisan artist is at work in studio ceramics. Form, colour and decoration come together creating objects which are not only beautiful but, very often, useful as well. This is very much in the tradition of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement.

A Lucie Rie stoneware bottle

A Lucie Rie stoneware bottle

Bernard Leach (1887-1979) is considered to be the most influential potter of the 20th century. He was born in Hong Kong and lived in Japan and Singapore. The Japanese tradition of artisan artists was fading when Leach decorated his first pot there in 1909. In 1920 he returned to England with the Japanese potter, Shoji Hamamda. Bernard Leach was persuaded to set up his workshop in St Ives. His lectures and writing would have a profound influence on a generation of British potters. Gill Clark points out that Norah Braden was the college’s first specialist pottery tutor and that she had been a pupil of Bernard Leach. His work is represented in the collection by the beautiful stoneware jug seen here.

Bernard Leach was initially critical of the work of Lucie Rie (1902-1995) but they would become great friends. In contrast to the influences of the rustic folk tradition and Chinese Sung apparent in Bernard Leach’s work Rie’s pots have a metropolitan, modernist quality. She enjoyed turning on the potter’s wheel but despite her remarkable control her pots never seem tight or mechanical. The beauty of her vases and their exceptional form cause your heart to quicken. It is readily apparent to the eye why she transformed modern ceramics.

Other studio ceramic gems in the collection and exhibition include the Sussex based ceramicist, Eric Mellon’s (1925-2014) ‘Horse and Rider’ dish. His years of research and experimentation into ash glazes brought him international recognition both as an artist, ceramicist and scientist. For Eric his art was his calling and vocation.

An Eric James Mellon ‘Horse and Rider’ dish

An Eric James Mellon ‘Horse and Rider’ dish

Alison Britton’s (b.1948) sharp-edged clay jugs seem to depict different facets of a landscape which in turn include human figures, trees, fish and insects. Their decoration has an immediacy reflecting Britton’s spontaneous method of drawing in response to the asymmetric planes of the jugs.

‘The Bishop Otter Art Collection: A Celebration’ runs until 9th October 2016 at the University of Chichester Otter Gallery and Pallant House Gallery. Gill Clarke has published an insightful accompanying book about the collection and its formation which is on sale at both venues. For more information and opening times go to www.pallant.org.uk and www.chi.ac.uk/current-exhibitions/bishop-otter-collection-celebration.

By Rupert Toovey, a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington. Originally published in the West Sussex Gazette.


Christopher Wood – a Sophisticated Primitive

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Aug 05 2016
Christopher Wood, ‘China Dogs in a St Ives Window, Pallant House Gallery

Christopher Wood, ‘China Dogs in a St Ives Window, Pallant House Gallery

A major exhibition on the artist Christopher Wood (1901-1930) has just opened at Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery. Curated by Katy Norris, it explores the complex life and importance of this ‘sophisticated primitive’.

Katy Norris has delivered an exemplary exhibition which highlights the influence of continental artists on Wood and his pivotal position in the Modern British Art Movement as he navigated a path between the representational art of the Victorian and Edwardian periods and the new abstraction of the 1930s.

The exhibition charts the chapters of this talented artist’s all too short life.

Christopher Wood, ‘Self-Portrait, 1927’, Kettles Yard, University of Cambridge

Christopher Wood, ‘Self-Portrait, 1927’, Kettles Yard, University of Cambridge

The twenty year old Christopher Wood arrived in Paris in 1921 where he met Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau and others. He was also influenced by the Post-Impressionists including Vincent Van Gogh and Henri Rousseau. He wrote to his mother in 1922 explaining how these artists endeavoured to interpret their subjects as though ‘through the eyes of the smallest child who sees nothing except that which would strike them as being the most important.’ Seeking this essential view of the word lends an intensity to his work.

Christopher Wood’s first trip to Cornwall in 1926 affirmed the artist in him. It was during this visit that he painted one of his most iconic and finest pictures titled ‘China Dogs in a St Ives Window’. This playful painting brings together the naïve style which Wood had developed in Paris and a playful lyricism which imparts his sense of new-found freedom.

The quintessentially English scene is inspired by Victorian Staffordshire ceramic dogs. The Spaniels are framed by the chair and window. The composition leads our eye to the steamer and lighthouse in this primitive, artistic interpretation of St Ives harbour.

Christopher Wood depicts himself in a harlequin-patterned jumper in his 1927 Self – Portrait. There is an introspective intensity of emotion apparent in his face as we observe him. It is as though we are looking out of the canvas upon which he stands to paint. The influence of the untrained, candid representations of Post-Impressionist, Henri Rousseau can be seen here.

In the summer of 1928 Christopher Wood returned to St Ives with the artist Ben Nicholson. Whilst there he discovered the work of the self-taught painter and former fisherman, Alfred Wallis. Wood took on Wallis’ iconography depicting the Atlantic fishing industry and coast. Wood’s brushwork appears intuitive and spontaneous.

Christopher Wood, ‘Harbour in the Hills, University of Essex

Christopher Wood, ‘Harbour in the Hills, University of Essex

Wallis’ influence is particularly apparent in ‘Harbour in the Hills’. Painted in 1928, the sea is depicted as swirling bands of light greys and charcoals which contrast with the intensity of the green hills.

In his youth in Paris Christopher Wood had become addicted to opium. By now his life oscillated between his intense social life and solitary periods of painting.

Christopher Wood, ‘Dancing Sailors’, Leicester Arts and Museums Service

Christopher Wood, ‘Dancing Sailors’, Leicester Arts and Museums Service

In the summer of 1930 Christopher Wood painted his final series of some forty pictures at Treboul in Brittany over a period of six weeks. They depict an idealised view of these Breton seafarers, their customs and spirituality. This is captured in ‘Dancing Sailors’. Wood’s addiction lends a pulsating intensity to the painting.

Shortly after completing these works Christopher Wood tragically took his own life when he jumped in front of a train at Salisbury station.

Katy Norris’ superb monograph ‘Christopher Wood’ provides an insightful companion to this outstanding exhibition and is on sale at the Pallant House Gallery Bookshop.

At its heart the exhibition explores Christopher Wood’s pervading interest in Primitivism in the context of his life. It examines the international and domestic influences on his work, and how his faux-naïve style would contribute to the journey towards more progressive forms of modernism in art in 1930s Britain.

‘Christopher Wood: Sophisticated Primitive’ runs until 2nd October 2016 and brings together often rarely seen works – what a summer holiday treat!

For more information on current exhibitions, events and opening times go to www.pallant.org.uk or telephone 01243 774557.

By Rupert Toovey, a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington. Originally published in the West Sussex Gazette.


Celebrating the Bishop Otter Art Collection

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Jul 28 2016
Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979), Autumn Stream, undated, oil on canvas, © Jonathan Clark Fine Art, representatives of the artist’s estate, Courtesy Bishop Otter Trust, University of Chichester

Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979), Autumn Stream, undated, oil on canvas, © Jonathan Clark Fine Art, representatives of the artist’s estate, Courtesy Bishop Otter Trust, University of Chichester

This week I am in the company of Gill Clarke, author, Guest Curator and Visiting Professor at the University of Chichester’s Otter Gallery. The exhibition, ‘The Bishop Otter Art Collection: A Celebration’, is located at both the University of Chichester and at Pallant House Gallery.

It celebrates the vision of Sheila McCririck (1916-2001), whose foresight created a remarkable collection of 20th century British Art. She was supported in this purpose by the Bishop Otter College Principal Betty Murray (1909-1998).

Visiting Professor and Guest Curator Gill Clarke in the Otter Gallery

Visiting Professor and Guest Curator Gill Clarke in the Otter Gallery

Gill Clark explains the philosophy behind the collection “Both women believed in the civilising influence of art and the educative value of its ability to challenge. To achieve this works had to be on open display, in accessible places. They were unconcerned about spiralling values and they were irritated by the constraints of insurance and security.”

The economic austerity of the post Second World War period provided the backdrop to artistic activity and educational thought. The integration of the arts and education became part of the rebuilding of Britain and was central to the purpose of the collection at Bishop Otter.

I have long been a supporter of Chichester University’s Bishop Otter Collection of Modern British Art and remark how I have always been impressed by its coherence, breadth and quality. Gill responds “Sheila McCririck’s choices were not arbitrary. Judgement always had to take precedence over taste – she never lost sight of the fact that she was buying for an institution. Her unerring eye, together with a professional and academic approach, is at the heart of this collection”

There can be no doubt that these women were making bold aesthetic choices which showed remarkable foresight. All the works represented in the exhibition are from the collection. They include artists like Henry Moore, Stanley Spencer, Paul Nash, Walter Sickert and Ivon Hitchens, alongside leading post war abstract painters such as Peter Lanyon, William Scott, Paul Feiler, William Scott, Patrick Heron, William Gear, Terry Frost and Sandra Blow.

The first painting to enter the collection was Ivon Hitchens’ ‘Autumn Stream’. Ivon Hitchens always sought to capture the essence of an object or scene. This landscape has a musical quality in its sense of rhythm, tone and movement. Indeed he famously said ‘My paintings are painted to be listened to.’ Hitchens had moved to West Sussex in 1940 after the bombing of his Hampstead home. Writing to Betty Murray in January 1951 he said ‘if there is any outcry about the picture – then let me have it back. But… I hope it will meet with general approval and be a worthy send off for your scheme.’

Henry Moore (1898-1986), Figure on Square Steps, c.1957, bronze, Courtesy Bishop Otter Trust, University of Chichester

Henry Moore (1898-1986), Figure on Square Steps, c.1957, bronze, Courtesy Bishop Otter Trust, University of Chichester

Henry Moore was also an early supporter of the College Collection and its premise that teachers should be exposed to leading examples of modern art. Initially he lent a bronze, ‘Seated Figure’, which was purchased by the college. When it was stolen Henry Moore generously sold them ‘Figure on Square Steps’, seen here, at a very favourable price.

Paul Feiler (1918-2013), Boats and Sea, c.1952-3, oil on canvas ©The Artist’s Estate, Courtesy Bishop Otter Trust, University of Chichester

Paul Feiler (1918-2013), Boats and Sea, c.1952-3, oil on canvas ©The Artist’s Estate, Courtesy Bishop Otter Trust, University of Chichester

These and other stunning works can be seen at the University’s Otter Gallery.

The display at Pallant House Gallery allows the visitor to see paintings from the collection in the domestic setting of the old house. This gives some sense of how they must have appeared to students back in the 1960s. Amongst these is Paul Feiler’s jewel – like abstract titled ‘Boats and Sea’. Its heavy blocks of colours is characteristic of his work at this date.

‘What treasures we lived with’ and ‘Amazing to have wandered past this art whilst a student’ are just some of the comments from students of the time giving voice to the quality of this collection.

Gill Clarke concludes “It’s a wonderful collection and it has been a great privilege to work with it. What a legacy Sheila McCririck and Betty Murray have left for the University and broader community.’

‘The Bishop Otter Art Collection: A Celebration’ runs until 9th October 2016 at the University of Chichester Otter Gallery and Pallant House Gallery. Gill Clarke has published an insightful accompanying book about the collection and its formation which is on sale at both venues. For more information and opening times go to www.pallant.org.uk and www.chi.ac.uk/current-exhibitions/bishop-otter-collection-celebration.

By Rupert Toovey, a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington. Originally published in the West Sussex Gazette.