23 October – 29 November
‘Of all things, living or lifeless, upon this strange earth, there is but one which, having reached the mid-term of appointed human endurance on it, I still regard with unmitigated amazement…Flowers open, and stars rise, and it seems to me they could have done no less… But one object there is still, which I never pass without the renewed wonder of childhood, and that is the bow of a Boat.’ John Ruskin
28 October – 29 November
Jørgen Haugen Sørensen, born in Copenhagen in 1934, is one of Denmark’s most esteemed and decorated sculptors and we are delighted to represent his work in the UK. Throughout
his entire artistic career he has consistently and independently focused his attention on the human condition in society and has shifted effortlessly between materials and modes
of expression within the sculptural sphere – each transformation has been mastered with continuous success.
Whilst Jørgen works in materials including bronze and marble, this exhibition – his debut at Messums London – will focus on his white clay works, one of the most basic of materials
that has always been in line with his aesthetic approach.
According to legend, God modelled human figures out of clay. He breathed life into them, let them live and will determine if they deserve to burn in hell or not.
In front of Jørgen’s work, we lose our sense of position and we experience uncertainness for
a moment as we determine if we are looking
at sculptures or if we are looking at ourselves. With the positions he chooses, the situation
of the human and the clay, Jørgen unveils the relationship between the human and his own filth. When we look at his figures, we don’t know what to see: the humanity of the clay or the muddiness of humanity. Is he presenting to us a humanity we don’t know or what we don’t want to know about our humanity?
4 December 2020 – 10 January 2021
Messums is delighted to announce representation of emerging talent Hannah Mooney. Born in Ramelton, Donegal in Ireland in 1995, Mooney undertook her Art and Design Foundation Diploma at the University of Ulster before completing her BA in Painting and Printmaking at Glasgow School of Art in 2017. Mooney will be taking part in our Emerging Talents programme following her London debut in our Artist’s Show, which simultaneously welcomes back some of our longest standing artists and announces newly represented painters.
5 December – 10 January
Richard Hoare had a full immersion in the British countryside from the moment he was born. He grew up on a farm not far from Dedham in East Anglia where he went to school – an area made famous by Constable and Gainsborough. After roaming the woods and plains of the area his love of nature was later amplified by walking the pilgrim routes of England, France and Spain.
Wednesday 9 December, 6:30pm
As Richard’s exhibition ‘Alchemy of Light’ opens at Messums Wiltshire, join us online for a conversation with Richard and Johnny Messum.
Richard’s work is always moving forward, evolving, a reflection of a pilgrimage. This is despite the apparent paradox of his regular return to stand on the same spot in the same locations seen in his work, year after year. The journey begins, rests and then continues with every step, enriched by his experience of Light.
In his new exhibition Hoare explores the landscapes of Wiltshire, where he now lives, Dorset and South Cornwall. A focus is the lake belonging to the Fonthill Estate near Tisbury. Central to the park laid out by the estate’s original owner William Beckford in the 18th century the lake is surrounded by a myriad of caves and bridged by a weir.
Hoare captures the mesmerising effects of the large stretch of water at different times of day and season. The lime green of the sycamore trees in spring contrast with the grey trunks and rich tobacco-coloured browns and ochres of the same scene on a moonlit night in summer. The water changes from limpid and calm – an effect Hoare creates by not touching the canvas at all – to staccato-like dapples and dots giving the sensation of ripples and waves.
Wiltshire Members can login to the Members Room to join the conversation. Other attendees will receive a Zoom link before the start of the event.
8 January – 7 February 2021
Born in Faedis near Trieste, the son of an architect and winemaker, Francesco Poiana attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome and then the celebrated Albicocca fine art printing workshop in Udine before studying for a Masters degree at St Martin’s College of Art in London.
13 January – 28 February 2021
An exhibition of paintings by Kurt Jackson, one of Britain’s leading environmental landscape artists and campaigners, documents the spring of 2020 and the arcadia he found bursting into life immediately outside his front door in a remote part of west Cornwall during the challenging period of national lockdown.
Jackson’s inaugural show at Messums Yorkshire focuses on paintings of trees that he and his wife, Caroline, planted twenty years ago and that have, over time, formed hollow ‘greenways’ or paths in the interstices between the lines of planting, along which he walked every day from his house to his studio.
The tunnels, laced with the play of light and shade, are groves of wildflowers, insects and birds that Jackson celebrates in his paintings.
Wednesday 13 January, 6:30pm
Join us online for a conversation with Olly Steeds on his mission to genome the ocean. For years Olly Steeds has lead missions to catalogue the underwater environment. Now he is on a mission to genome the ocean to understand where it has come from and where it is going. Oliver Steeds is the Founder of Nekton and leads the management and development of the organisation and field operations. Formerly he was a critically acclaimed broadcast journalist with ABC, NBC, Channel 4, Discovery Channels and others. He is co-founder of Encounter EDU including the Ocean’s Academy.
Wednesday 20 January, 6:30pm
Join us online for a conversation with activist, environmentalist and conservationist Ben Goldsmith about rewilding and the environment. Ben Goldsmith, who owns a 300-acre farm, near Bruton in Somerset, plans to transform it into a wild habitat within the next four years.
He says, “We want to achieve the kind of species-rich, shape-shifting scrubby wood pasture environment that once blanketed much of western Britain.”
Working with a wildlife ecologist, Ben has encouraged wetlands along the River Frome, wild flowers and native species including water voles, beavers and glow-worms – which used to be a feature of long summer evenings.
Ben is an advisor to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and is CEO of Menhaden, his green investment business.
Attendees will receive a Zoom link before the start of the event.
Wednesday 25 November, 6:30pm
Join the conversation with author and broadcaster Loyd Grossman online as he discusses his new book on the intertwined lives of Bernini and Pope Alexander VII.
By 1650, the spiritual and political power of the Catholic Church was shattered. Thanks to the twin blows of the Protestant Reformation and the Thirty Years War, Rome, celebrated both as the Eternal City and Caput Mundi (the head of the world) had lost its pre-eminent place in Europe. Then a new Pope, Alexander VII, fired with religious zeal, political guile and a mania for building, determined to restore the prestige of his church by making Rome the must-visit destination for Europe’s intellectual, political and cultural elite. To help him do so, he enlisted the talents of Gianlorenzo Bernini, already celebrated as the most important living artist: no mean feat in the age of Rubens, Rembrandt and Velazquez.
Together, Alexander VII and Bernini made the greatest artistic double act in history, inventing the concept of soft power and the bucket list destination. Bernini and Alexander’s creation of Baroque Rome as a city more beautiful and grander than since the days of the Emperor Augustus continues to delight and attract.
‘A total delight’ Simon Jenkins
Wednesday 18 November, 6:30pm
Join an online conversation with Rebecca Wragg Sykes, archaeologist and author of ‘Kindred; Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art’ and Johnny Messum as they discuss the very earliest expressions of art by our most ancient relatives. Long before Homo sapiens daubed their cave walls with pictures of bison or running deer, Neanderthals were experimenting with aesthetics of their own, whether applying mineral pigment to fossil shells or other curiosities such as geodes, to constructing mysterious underground rings of fractured stalagmites. The past three decades of archaeological discoveries force us to rethink assumptions that they were just loping brutes whose only entertainment was wrestling woolly mammoths and building fires.
Wragg Sykes reminds us that classical ideas of art don’t take us far enough and that Neanderthal aesthetics – whether using colour, or making marks on cave floors, bones and stones – denote a material intelligence and refinement of feeling, way beyond what has been previously understood.
Dr Wragg Sykes is an Honorary Fellow at the Universities of Liverpool and Bordeaux. She studied as an undergraduate at Bristol, took her Masters at Southampton and earned a PhD from the University of Sheffield in 2009, which examined the evidence for the last Neanderthals living in the UK. Following this she was awarded a prestigious Marie Curie Fellowship at Bordeaux. Alongside her academic credentials, Wragg Sykes is an exceptional public communicator whether in writing or broadcasting, including for The Guardian, Aeon, BBC Radio 4 and 3.
‘Beautiful, evocative, authoritative.’ Professor Brian Cox
‘One of the Best Books of 2020’ Sunday Times
Saturday 14 November, 6:30pm
Bridge continents and join in the online conversation with Dante Marioni, the world’s greatest glassblower live from Seattle.
Hear first hand from the master of glass making. As enigmatic as the vessels that he creates, Dante is seldom in front of camera or in conversation. We welcome him here to talk about the importance of mastering technical craft to push the boundaries of form and how aesthetics underpin good design.
Attendees will be emailed a Zoom link before the start of the event.
30 September – 18 October
Daniel Agdag is an artist and filmmaker based in Melbourne, Australia whose practice sits at the nexus of sculpture and motionography. He creates highly detailed sculptural pieces that have been described as ‘architectural in form, whimsical and antiquated in nature and inconceivably intricate’ and we are delighted to welcome him back for his second solo show with the gallery this autumn.
Daniel sits within a group of artists represented by the gallery who take quality and the handmade to the extreme. His works, made primarily from cardboard, take many hours to complete and are strikingly beautiful in their intricacy. Drawn to the utilitarian origins and monochromatic presentation of his material, Daniel creates a paradox of fragility and strength with structures that resemble architectural forms and machines by utilising a medium that is essentially paper, preserving them under glass vitrines or bell jars. His work is both delicate and eccentric and he spends a lot of time thinking about and absorbing objects in the built environment, their peculiar details and functions, which, once resolved in his mind, begin to slowly emerge, and coalesce.
19 September – 18 October
Alexander Lindsay creates photographic landscapes of extraordinary beauty. For the past forty years, Lindsay has brought his cameras to the most extreme situations and environments on the planet. From his earliest experiences with the Maasai tribe, a five year spell in Afghanistan during Soviet occupation and his expeditions to photograph and film the wreck of the Titanic 4km beneath the oceans waves, Lindsay has always sought to immerse himself in situations where, as he explains, ‘the imagination is rendered unnecessary’.
12 September – 18 October
The return of our architectural models exhibition, which this year is centred on the role of creative spaces and set against the backdrop of Elisabeth Frink’s Woolland Studio. We will look at both the importance of creative space and highlight the beauty in the making of an architectural model with an exhibition including those designed for artists’ studios, galleries, arts schools and libraries by leading architects including Invisible Studio/ Piers Taylor, Jenny Jones, Matheson Whiteley, Feilden Fowles, Peter Clegg, vPPR, Stiff + Trevillion and Niall McLaughlin.
4 September – 18 October
Shying away from showing his work publicly in his life time, Brian Taylor’s work is seldom seen. This remarkable body of sculpture and rare drawings are indicative of Taylor’s unparalleled observation of animated volume and we are delighted to be showing this collection of sculpture and drawing in Messums Wiltshire.
Brian Taylor studied at the Slade School of Art in the mid-1950s and his prowess as a sculptor of the human figure was so impressive that he gained a covetable three-year scholarship to Rome. The artworks Taylor encountered there stimulated him enormously, ranging from classical sculpture right through to early twentieth-century modernism.
‘Italy called him back in 1971, and he could not resist an impulse to visit the Serra di Burano. This alluring rural area, not far from Umbria, enabled him to study horses – in particular an unusually large and well-built animal strong enough to run even when pulling a very hefty cart. Although this pugnacious creature threatened to bite Taylor, he insisted on studying the mighty horse at close quarters. He cunningly distracted the animal by flinging wet clay onto its nose. And while the horse licked off this muddy substance, Taylor took detailed measurements of its head and body without suffering any assault at all.’ Art Historian & Critic, Richard Cork
Taylor’s interest in sculpting animal form has pervaded his work ever since and we are delighted to show a selection of stand out bronze works focussing specifically on Taylor’s obsession with the characters and forms of animals.
4 July – 18 October
The working world of Elisabeth Frink has arrived at Messums Wiltshire with the resurrection of her Woolland studio in our historic tithe barn. The studio, which Messums rescued from collapse in 2019, has been reconstructed to display a collection of original plasters alongside tools and objects salvaged from Woolland, providing a never seen before insight into one of Britain’s foremost sculptors.
from Saturday 23 May
We are delighted to present a selection of Inuit Canadian sculpture and textile, which have been brought together by Pat Feheley, Director of one of the last remaining commercial galleries in Canada dedicated exclusively to traditional and contemporary art from the Canadian Arctic and an expert on the work of Inuit textile artists.
From Wednesday 20 May
We are delighted to present two bodies of work by Peter Brown NEAC. The first collection is a snapshot into an evolving world. These are the recent works to have been completed in Peter’s studio. Here time is different, it is contemplated and paintings are returned to over 24hr cycles. Nothing moves in between. This greater period of study lends these works an intensity of observation that is in contrast to the flurry of constant action in Pete’s street scenes It is to Peter’s credit and to our enjoyment that he is able to carry off both.
The second series are street scenes from the busy metropolis of New York, this collection was originally scheduled to be part of a show on British Observational Art on New York’s upper east side this May. They are in so many ways the diametric opposite of the Life in Lockdown series. They capture street scenes of bagel stands and the view north from Madison square, to the early morning sunlight in Greenwich Village and rain falling in Soho.
He says of the en plein air paintings:
“I work entirely from life using the cities and the countryside as my subjects. I start with what tickles me, and this is likely to be a certain play of the light, weather, space and everyday life. Most of my drawings and paintings take several sittings over consecutive days and in that time I may meet police officers, dog walkers, road sweepers, residents and tourists.”
Peter Brown is president of The New English Art Club and a member of The Pastel Society, The Royal institute of Oil Painters and Bath Society of Artists. His studio is based in Bath.
Tuesday Riddell’s rich, symbolically charged lacquerware pieces take us into an ethereal nocturne of fantastical narratives and acute observation, highlighting themes of mortality and contemporary environmental concerns. It is perhaps then fitting that this new body of six paintings – originally scheduled to be shown as part of a focus on British Observational Art in New York this May – are being offered direct to our clients during this time, when both are in the forefront of our minds.
Tuesday’s intricate pieces recall sottobosco painting of the Dutch 17th Century as they magnify insect life and the of flora and fauna of the natural world. They also employ a visual language that links fairy tales and the fabulous with the real life underworld that is both harmonious and perilous, beautiful and decaying.
She is one of a number of artists supported and represented by Messums whose artistic practice is underpinned by extraordinary craftsmanship in the execution of their work. Similar to Asian lacquer work, Japanning is a European technique brought to Britain in the 17th Century that is both laborious and today is rarely studied. Tuesday’s synthesis of this traditional practice with a modern sensibility and awareness of nature points to a generation of artists who venerate the present, question the future and have embraced technical skill.
As a prelude to his solo show in the Long Gallery this September, we present an online exhibition by photographer Alexander Lindsay. We are delighted to include Alexander as one of Messums Wiltshire’s represented artists. The online exhibition of photography by Alexander Lindsay documents his 8 month journey around South America, from Bolivia to Tierra del Fuego and around Cape Horn.