10 art galleries to visit in Hampshire - Spring 2016
PUBLISHED: 16:38 11 March 2016 | UPDATED: 16:38 11 March 2016
Fancy a new canvas to brighten up your hallway? Or just looking for somewhere to have a Sunday afternoon mooch, Sandra Smith shares her favourite galleries prime for visits for the new season
For nearly 50 years this family business in the heart of Fordingbridge has celebrated animal art both within a large indoor gallery and outside sculpture garden. Managing Director, Philip Collier, explains their success: “We promote the concept of coming to stay in the New Forest and visiting the gallery. Our artists come from all over the country and are both emerging artists as well as established ones, some of whom have been with me for 27 years - we continuously rotate work.” An eclectic mix of abstract and figurative images ensures the gallery, which also supplies prints, appeals to a wide audience with bronze, glass, galvanised steel, oils, acrylic, pencils and watercolours available.
• When to visit: Prints and originals are available to buy and peruse all year round. The gallery has just added wildlife image maker Odile Kidd to their collection and limited edition prints from Debbie Boon and Clive Meredith.
“We cover a broad brush,” states Wykeham Gallery owner Gerald Dodson, “which is necessary in a gallery in the middle of the country. We offer excellent quality at affordable prices.” Despite a career in finance in London, Gerald, who began buying pictures at the age of 19, fulfilled a long held ambition to own an art gallery when, 15 years ago, he bought an ongoing business which has since secured a reputable presence in Stockbridge. The 70 artists represented here include many from Hampshire as well as others from Europe and Australia. Similarly, Wykeham’s clientele cover a wide geographical base. “I reckon about 50% is local but we have international customers too.”
• When to visit: March 11 sees the opening of an exhibition dedicated to the works of our cover star Jake Winkle, Carol Sproston and Harry Brioche, running until March 25.
Contemporary art straight from the artist is Canvas Gallery’s signature style. But it also embraces an inclusive approach as owner Chris Mabire explains. “Our target audience is anyone interested in buying artwork. We go out of our way to make a visit unintimidating. This is one of those businesses that works better if buyers are dealing with the owner. We sell a cross section of work including collectable prints, comic covers, sculpture and photographs.” Chris and his wife Jennie are revelling in the cultural landscape of Hampshire and, although a relative newcomer to Winchester, the gallery – previously established in London – already run monthly exhibitions during which artists are present to engage with the public and sign work.
• When to visit: The gallery constantly updates the body of work on sale, keep an eye on their website for up to date information and to see the new acquisitions from the past 30 days.
In Romsey this community interest company provides local artists with a service outlet to stage their work and generate an income. “Any profits over and above running costs are used to provide workshops for disadvantaged groups or art projects for the community,” says Operations Manager, Kat Hansford. During the three years since opening, Rum’s Eg has attracted and promoted scores of craftsmen. Exhibitions take place every few weeks, artists attend private viewings and a first floor café serves home produced food. “We have a well known reputation,” Kat continues, “and our artists, who are mainly from Hampshire, include wood turners, sculptors, jewellers, ceramicists and painters.”
• When to visit: Try something new for spring and enrol on our cover star’s watercolour class for £65. Jake Winkle will be visiting the gallery and introducing people from all levels of experience to the world of watercolour.
For former lawyer and owner of Minster Gallery Ines Graham, the process of matching art to customer provides endless satisfaction. “It is a pleasure to connect artists to clients,” she smiles. “When you choose work from an artist’s studio and it’s exhibited and sells, you know you’ve done something right.” Every year six exhibitions feature either one man shows or group artists in one, two or three rooms of this desirably placed location which boasts a memorable view of Winchester Cathedral. “The gallery has evolved the way we wanted it to. From the beginning we have kept a core number of artists and brought in new, interesting abstract artists - and I have a great team working for me.”
• When to visit: The gallery often showcases popular artists and holds exhibitions throughout the year.
Having run a London gallery for 10 years, Josie Eastwood decided to develop a different formula. The result? An exhibition evolution in which young artists who have found their own voice and identity are showcased inside her Sparsholt home. Passionate about her market, Josie explains the reasoning behind this approach: “A painting is the soul of a room. The advantage to displaying in our home is it automatically weeds out work which doesn’t hold its ground. I also have a range of farm buildings with beautiful lighting. The public views pictures in a relaxed but professional environment. I have a rolling stable of about 60 artists and paint occasionally, which gives me an understanding of the media.”
• When to visit: From April 23 – 29, Josie will be displaying a special exhibition to celebrate her 20th Anniversary.
“I approach things from an artist’s point of view. Everyone has to enjoy the process, both buying and selling,” enthuses owner Rebecca Crow who, since opening her gallery last April, has established an enviable presence in Old Portsmouth. “An art gallery is a place to look at work, enjoy a glass of wine and talk to the owner about artists.” These bold images - many from the Middle East where Rebecca used to live - cover a range of genres but share an emphasis on quality. “I like art that tells stories. The gallery is open so you can see through spaces quite easily. I want people to feel they are allowed to be here and I have a good ice breaker – my dog sits in the window.”
• When to visit: See work by Portsmouth Dockyard painter John Green until March 5, when artist Rachel Levitas takes over from the March 11 to April 16.
“Because I want people to have a picture they’ll love for years I loan paintings so they can see them in their own home. I like to build a good relationship with customers.” Owner Jan Baker not only goes out of her way to ensure clients don’t feel pressurised, she values the importance of communicating with visitors in order to discover what they are looking for. The Odiham gallery predominantly stocks local artists. “I have at least one artist per day approach us. There is a lot of talent in the area so not much reason to go further afield but I have to personally like the work I sell as it’s much easier to talk about something you like.”
• When to visit: Jake Winkle is in demand this month, as he pops up again as a featured artist from March 11 to 27, or head over for a private viewing of atmospheric artist Paul Dolman’s work on April 29 from 5.30pm.
“Our ethos is to sell good quality art and be as helpful as we can,” share Vicky and Andrew Roberts who took over this independent gallery 30 years ago. The reputation the couple has since built ensures a constant approach by an array of artists keen to be part of their success. “All our artists are different and we keep the gallery fresh and changing. There are three rooms on the ground floor and two upstairs. As well as original paintings, we sell prints and bronzes. An Artist of the Month is featured in the main gallery.” In addition, Beaulieu Fine Arts, situated in the holiday village at the centre of the New Forest, offers a framing service.
• When to visit: Marine artist David Chambers will be gracing the gallery’s Artist of the Month slot for March
After managing this Isle of Wight gallery for two years, Linda Groves purchased the business in January. “I’ve always been interested in the island’s art scene and know a lot of artists. Seaview is a lovely, olde worlde village with lots of character and I want to focus on local, seaside themed pieces which are contemporary and brand new. I’m looking out for unusual artisan jewellery and antique silver desk items, too. I don’t want to lose the Gallery’s ambience but will maximise what I can offer in order to encourage more people over the threshold.” Over a score of artists are currently stocked here and Linda’s long term plans include exhibitions featuring others from the mainland.
• When to visit: Keep an eye on the gallery’s website at www.seaviewart.co.uk for further information on upcoming exhibitions and artists.