BIDEFORD BLACK – 5 artistsPosted: September 18, 2013
white moose gallery, trinity street, barnstaple, north devon – 6th September – 5th October 2013
merlyn chesterman . griz luttman-johnson . sue plummer . pete ward . judith westcott
The individual and group responses of five North Devon artists to the locally significant earth pigment Bideford Black are presently being shown at the new contemporary art gallery White Moose in Barnstaple until the 5th October. The gallery is open 11-7 Monday – Saturday, entry is free. A specially designed book to accompany the exhibition is available from the gallery for £10 and will soon be available from the White Moose website[i]. After six months of enjoyable experimentation and sharing the show was put up with ease displaying a diversity and quality of work rarely seen in the area. The exhibition was introduced by a very well attended private view (80 people) and an again very well attended (60 people) presentation about the history, geology and art of Bideford Black by myself, hosted by North Devon Arts[ii] and White Moose.
What has excited me most about this project and the ensuing exhibition, apart from the opportunity to work with 4 other well-established and accomplished artists, has been the relevance and hence interest to the local community. The material itself, Bideford Black, is of local significance, the work produced has been diverse and has catered for a variety of tastes and created by local artists in response to their personal experience of North Devon, and therefore engagement with the audience has matched and been amplified by the process. In a time when the importance of returning to local knowledge and understanding of the ecology within which we live is becoming tantamount to our survival, or at least a more healthy relationship within the natural world, such work and exhibitions as part of the cultural emergence of a region may well start to increase. Hopefully the arts may then be more often seen as an important and integral part of any sustainable development program and respected as such.
Many thanks again to the White Moose for supporting and encouraging such groundbreaking and essential work, to those who continue to work towards a more healthy environmental dialogue and to those who understand the importance of the arts for just what they are…
P Ward 2013
all work © the artists 2013