This stunning and colourful exhibition, opening on 8 June until 20 July, showcases some of the great artists of Sussex today whilst connecting to the past masters as it also explores the fascinating story of this 90 year old Horsham based Association. Adventures in Art at Horsham Museum and Art Gallery reveals how a Mr. J. T. McGaw founded the Association through a call for artists to exhibit at the newly opened Horsham Drill Hall. The response was encouraging enough to create the Association three months later. The Museum will be displaying one of the paintings from that very first meeting, Bainbridge Copnall’s Calves at Horsham Market, alongside art painted by current members for the exhibition.
The Association’s aim was to encourage art, including the crafts, by holding an annual exhibition of artists born or working in Sussex. The first exhibition took place in Horsham, a town then devoid of any art gallery, unlike the holiday resorts along the coast. It wasn’t until 2010 that the town museum created an art gallery so for 80 years the Association’s annual show was the main focus to see and appreciate art in the town and district. This encouraged the Association to invite artists to exhibit, including Brangwyn, Duncan Grant and Epstein, which broadened the appeal of the shows and gave a real opportunity to see outstanding artists’ original works.
Adventures in Art draws on Horsham Museum’s collection of art acquired over the last 60 years as it sought to hold works created by Horsham District people. Research undertaken for the exhibition revealed their unbeknown membership of the Association, for example the popular watercolourist Edwin Harris, bird painter Noel Hopkin and the artist/etcher Dr Sparrow.
This exhibition is not, though, one of just retrospection. The Association wanted to be part of the District-wide Year of Culture; this exhibition will display some of the best art around. Throughout the Association’s existence, commentators have argued “where is the contemporary?”. As this exhibition shows the Association’s view is that talent and quality of art is in itself worthy of exhibition, irrespective of what school or trend of art it follows.
With art by leading Sussex artists, Alison Ingram, Dennis Roxby Bott, Ben Smith, Claire Phillips, John Davies, Angela Britton, Gordon Rushmer and 20 other artists it will be a show that art lovers will not want to miss. From oil, to watercolour to acrylic to sculpture and spanning 90 years of Sussex artists at work, Adventures in Art – The Association of Sussex Artists at Horsham Museum & Art Gallery is an exhibition that shows how much art has been part of the culture of Horsham District and beyond. A number of the current member’s exquisite artworks will be available for purchase.
Horsham Museum is open Monday-Saturday 10am -5pm. Free Admission. For more information see www.horshammuseum.org.