Remember remember Christmas Markets in December
The Abbey Courtyard next to the gallery has been cleared of the benches where certain luddites like to enjoy reading a book of a sunny morning before work- the shadow of the beautiful Abbey notwithstanding. In their stead come the Christmas Market sheds.In recent years the market has been spread throughout the city, so it isn’t the navigation by penguin-walk bottleneck challenge of former years. There are no sheds on York Street and with Toppings bookshop opposite you may have an enjoyable hour or two of art plus books on your hands. There is a certain Celtic theme to our Christmas exhibition. We have a selection of paintings by Ruth Brownlee, shown here in her Shetland studio.
‘Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy? Why did the Greeks give it a separate deity, and own brother Jove? Surely all this is not without meaning. And still deeper the meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all. ‘From Herman Melville ‘Moby Dick’
Also hailing from north of the border we have the precise still lifes of Rachel Ross. Her meticulous works are punctuated by self-portraits, distorted in the bowls of the various silver and stainless steel spoons she paints. Each time I look at her work I find myself saying the Irish word for spoon – spúnóg, a frankly delicious word in the saying.
Thinking of implements, and celtic matters, this little poem is Seamus Heaney’s translation of poet Eoghan O Sullivan’s letter ordering a spade from his friend James Fitzgerald….‘Poet to Blacksmith’ by Seamus Heaney
Seamus, make me a side-arm to take on the earthA suitable tool for digging and grubbing the ground, Lightsome and pleasant to lean on and cut with or lift, Tastily finished and trim and right for the hand. No trace of the hammer to show on the sheen of the blade, The thing to have purchase and spring and be fit for the strain, The shaft to be socketed in dead true and dead straight, ~ And I’ll work with the gang till I drop and never complain. The plate and the edge of it not to be wrinkled or crooked— I see it well shaped from the anvil and sharp from the file. The grain of the wood and the line of the shaft nicely fitted, And the best thing of all, the ring of it, sweet as a bell.
Paintings by Ruth Brownlee and Rachel Ross will be on show at the gallery during November and December. Based in the same part of the world as Mr. Heaney, we have ceramics for the first time by Adam Frew.
Adam works in porcelain, creating thrown functional and large one-off pots. During his studies at Belfast Art College, Adam spent time at the historic Winchcombe Pottery sparking a love for production pottery. Upon graduating in 2004, he undertook a two year apprenticeship with Lisa Hammond at her Greenwich based pottery.Adam moved back to Northern Ireland and was resident potter at Flowerfield Arts Centre for 12 years. He and his family moved to Co.Derry where he now works from his own purpose-built studio. He says of his work ‘I make clean, simple forms on the potters wheel that subtly show the makers hand in order to imbue a sense of life in the work. I enjoy the spontaneity of throwing, the speed of production and I seek to reflect this energy in my mark making. My marks are continually evolving, I am interested in contrasts; sharp lines, crayon scribbles, brush marks, sponged back sections. It is this ongoing investigation that invigorates my making.’
On the walls of the gallery we also have work by Nathan Ford, Akash Bhatt, Simon Allen, Anthony Sculion, Bobbie Russon, Mark Entwisle and dotted amongst the shelves are ceramics by Akiko Hirai, Jack Doherty, Adam Buick, Sara Moorhouse, Lara Scobie. So if you are planning to come to Bath and want to get away from sampling mulled cider or trying on wooden ties, we can offer an antidote to market fever.And finally… ‘The Sun’ by Mary Oliver
Thank you as always for reading. Please click on the images above for links to webpages.
Contact the gallery by phone or email to purchase, or for any further information.We ship worldwide. Best wishes, Aidan