Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The review of July's exhibition by David Methold


            A new, exciting project opened in Lincoln last night as The Monks Gallery opened its doors for the very first time. The gallery is hosting ‘6Degrees’; 6 shows over 6 months with 6 artists in each. It hosted its first event last night in what proved to be a hugely popular event.

Artists exhibiting their work in the first show were John Plowman, Andrew Bracey, Alan Armstrong, Ian Manicom and co-directors of the gallery, Nick Simpson and Tom Cretney.

About an hour into the exhibition, Tom sounded very upbeat on the progress of 6Degrees. “We’re pretty busy to be honest. We had a good number of people confirmed for the event and it’s proving even more popular than that at the moment.”

As for how they came up with the idea to have the gallery in their house, Tom explains that it was born out of pure frustration at not being able to obtain a studio space of their own.

“Once we couldn’t get our own studio space we thought why not just use the tools that are available to us already. We’ve done a show in the house before so we knew it could be done, it was just a question of putting it into practice.”

Nick explains that other galleries in Lincoln are very reluctant to open their doors to graduates. “There’s a backlog of artists so there’s a feeling amongst the galleries that they don’t want recent graduates. The aim of ‘6Degrees’ at The Monks Gallery is to show contemporary new art when we want and what better place to do that than your own home.”

This is the first gallery of its type in Lincoln and Nick hopes that it could set a trend for other projects of this kind in the future. “We went down to London to speak to James Hopkins, who exhibiting next month, and he has a similar setup in London so we can only hope that The Monks Gallery is the first of many in Lincoln. We’re also working with artists from Manchester, Nottingham, Doncaster and Sheffield so hopefully we’ll be in a situation where we can curate them and they can curate here.”

The gallery itself is set over the 3 floors of the house with artwork exhibited on each level. In each room of the house there was a TV set with different videos of Andrew Bracey’s piece, UnMasterclass. Andrew explains a little about his piece. “My piece is all about unlearning how to paint. This is basically recognition of seeing lots of painters and the way that they generally didn’t learn the way that I learnt which was by looking at other paintings first hand.”

Another artist at the exhibition was Alan Armstrong who had created Western film-like doors as an entry for one of the rooms. Alan explains that it comes from inspiration from the myth of Billy the Kid. “About 99% of what we know about Billy the Kid is fictional, we don’t really know where or when he was born so my piece just draws on that.”

Alan continued to add that he believes the gallery will only continue to grow stronger in the coming months. “Something like this has been waiting to happen in Lincoln for quite a while now with all the art graduates that are here. I think the concept will grow and grow.”

After each private view, the gallery opening times will be published at the website, monksgallery.blogspot.com.
The next 6Degree exhibition will take place on Thursday 4th August and will present more work from another 6 artists, including James Hopkins and Tessa Farmer.

By David Methold
8th July 2011

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