New Chris Thomas Exhibition
We took the bike down to the Camelford Gallery for an exhibition preview of Chris Thomas's impressive exhibition Documenting the New Build. The exhibition is exactly that, being new paintings recording a housing development adjacent to his studio in North Cornwall. From very understandable initial resentment, he decided to attempt a virtue out of the process and became part of it, even being accepted on site by the builders as a kind of hard-hatted, hi-viz 'artist-in-residence'. From my perspective, this took some guts.
During the course of building 21 'affordable homes' Chris produced a tumultuous body of work: starring large oil paintings (some 2-3 metres wide), mainly on board. It is not hard to imagine how, to a casual passer-by, Chris lumping these around the site would have looked exactly like one of the builders. There are also intense smaller studies exhibited and a portfolio of large charcoal drawings. My favourite of all is Study from the studio executed in February this year. - I wish I could afford it.
Also produced is a comprehensive illustrated catalogue with a fascinating text produced to a very high standard. Something I could afford, and it seems mine was the very first to be sold at the Preview, which Chris was kind enough to sign for me: something I will treasure.
Gratitude is also due to gallery owner and artist John Blight for putting on the show at this gallery which, for me, exemplifies precisely what a gallery should be: something Rembrandt would have recognised as a real working artist-gallery with little concession to commercialism; in other words, not a 'picture shop' which so many so-called galleries actually are.
I'll stop there lest another rant begins!