Brighton and Hove 2014: First weekend

A brace of private views: a jazz trio and champagne at Collectors Selection and Dion Salvador Lloyd begin our Brighton and Hove festival of Artists’ Open Houses 2014. We’ll be reporting back over the next month with some responses to the venues and their exhibitions.

Dion Salvador Lloyd
Dion Salvador Lloyd

A brace of private views: a jazz trio and champagne at Collectors Selection and Dion Salvador Lloyd begin our Brighton and Hove festival of Artists’ Open Houses 2014. We’ll be reporting back over the next month with some responses to the venues and their exhibitions.

We did find it difficult to locate this year’s brochure, eventually running our copy to ground at Hove Station.

Pleased to see that Hove Arts are all open on the two bank holiday Mondays – other trails could follow suit, as it does add so much to a holiday weekend.

Sometimes finding it a little difficult to read the maps – perhaps the individual trail maps could be printed bigger in future brochures, and we do ask why George Street, as Hove’s main shopping street and a landmark for visitors, has not been marked?

We see that Fiveways have once again produced their own smart A5 brochure for their trail – we wonder if this heralds another major development in the history of Artists’ Open Houses?

Some old favourites are taking a break this year, and many houses are celebrating their first year’s opening – the event grows and evolves every year, which is just as it should be.

Whatever suits you; whether you stick to following a trail, or simply go for a wander round town and spot the distinctive blue and white Open House banners – anything goes!

Some personal responses to the Open House experience …

Saturday 3rd May

Independent 12: The Magic Lamp
Along a pretty garden to our first venue this year, a newcomer to Open House world. Something for everyone here, including photography, mosaic and digital art. Particularly noticed:
Kristin Lundgren – sexy bondage boots pretty enough to hang on the wall
Fiona Hutchinson – stacking silver gemstone rings

Seven Dials 5: Fugitive Ink
A house of paintings and ceramics featuring:
Jake Spicer – currently presenting life drawing classes at New England House, shows contemplative small scale oil paintings and intricate pencil drawings
Michaela Ridgway – strong charcoal life drawings
Kate Brinsley – loved the milk-themed ceramic tableware, especially the chunky little birdy-handled jugs

Seven Dials 4: Sixes and Sevens
A friendly, welcoming house with a great variety on show, especially:
Mary Farnea – fine silver hoop earrings and bracelets
Cat Brown – dainty curved ceramic leaf ornaments and little bowls full of iridescent molten glass

Sunday 4th May

Helen Rawlings
Helen Rawlings

Independent 13: Art at the Good Shepherd
This Victorian church is a great new venue for:
Astrid Lee – Buddhism-inspired paintings
Alex Lobo – detailed ink and watercolour portraits of houses, cottages and pubs
Robert Ollerenshaw – contrasting impressionistic scenes of sunset, city and sky
Helen Rawlings – wildlife watercolours and scenes of English country life; gundogs, horses chickens and a fieldmouse on a bramble

Dyke Road1: 56 Tivoli Crescent
This multi-storey TARDIS of a home boasts some fabulous views over Brighton. Particularly noticed:
Chris Hill – cool abstract botanical paintings in acrylic and graphite, with a subtle layered finish

Pauline Findlay
Pauline Findlay

Dyke Road 2: The Gloobah House
Cute things to wear and for home and garden:
Pauline Findlay – bubbly waves captured in fused glass and transformed into bowls, pictures and sculptures

Seven Dials 11: Art Line
The Ruffell / Slade family are well established exhibitors on the art trail, and this year Colin and Frances are showing at their daughter Shyama’s home. Paintings everywhere in this gorgeous house and garden, serving tea and cake [£2.50]. Well worth a visit! Guest artist Frances Doherty’s ceramic pods and mysterious organic shapes look fabulous among the bluebells.

Monday 5th May

Half of Hove Arts today – an established and highly professional trail, obligingly open both bank holiday Mondays, we hope to visit the remainder on the final day.

Dion Salvador Lloyd
Dion Salvador Lloyd

Hove Arts 1: Dion Salvador Lloyd
An accomplished show, as ever, from this nationally-exhibited artist. The natural palette of muted tones are inspired and echoed by arrangements of shell, flint, driftwood and bone throughout Dion and Emma’s home, recently featured in the new book, ‘Home for Now’ by Joanna Thornhill.

Donating a painting on a postcard to Martlets Hospice and Rotary Club mystery art auction in June 2013 inspired Dion to create more swift, of-the-moment smaller scale oils on paper, a terrific contrast to his established style of oils layered and built up over time. ‘Hibernia,’ a hefty moody stormy oil on canvas, deserves its centre stage.

Ceramic pieces by Gilles le Corre and Ian Gregory complement the painting.

Hove Arts 6: Kellie Miller
Another well-established feature of Hove Arts trail each year is this welcoming working studio in the heart of a cobbled Victorian mews. Kellie’s painting and ceramic work flow into each other in a cool, elegant fusion of colour and line.

Hove Arts 5: 51 Wilbury Road
The original Hove Arts venue, several flats have opened together for an eclectic and absorbing event. We spent quite some time here, only partly because of the most gorgeous chocolate fudge cake with superfruits and a proper pot of tea [£3.70] in the basement flat, showing some charming paintings by Lionel Pichault.

Up to the top for a sense of fun, recycling and a fresh look at life with CassetteLord’s graffiti street art and Lawrence Latham’s re-purposed camera lamps.

Then down to the heart of the venue, showing Alain Guy’s great sculpted ceramic heads with a classical world feeling and John Beetham’s powerful land- and cityscapes. Joined this year by Campoli and Nelson’s glass and silversmithing partnership – sinuous modern jewellery pieces, using glass as precious stones.

Olivia Ferrier
Olivia Ferrier

Hove Arts 2: Collectors Selection
This venue is always a happening – a smart Victorian villa and garden, home to painting and sculpture, music and books.
Olivia Ferrier – absolutely adore her larky black bronze raven sculptures, perched on an old garden fork and salvaged pieces of wrecked beach groyne
Aksong Rukpong – pretty, dreamy paintings
Simon Royer – so detailed paintings of sea, foam and sky

Hove Arts 3: G & T
Round to another working mews studio, this time lined with Gary Jones’ and Tony Bowall’s photographs, paintings and prints of Brighton and Hove in all its snowy or sunny moods – beach huts, deckchairs and the gracefully fading West Pier.

Cliff Wright
Cliff Wright

Hove Arts 4: Tessa Wolfe Murray and Guests
And finally this weekend, to another Hove Arts stalwart. Take a look at the photographs of middle Eastern cave dwellings which show so clearly how Tessa’s travel experiences influence the shapes, smoky finishes and enigmatic markings that make her work so distinctive. Small scale and approachable, wearable works of art – brooches, buttons, necklaces and earrings, with vases, clocks and wall pieces for the home.

And another treat – work by Cliff Wright, the artist whose paintings feature on the cover of so many Harry Potter books. Prints of the Potter cover paintings are fascinating in themselves, but for me the image of the festival so far is his original watercolour “The Sword in the Stone”, inspired by the TH White tale of the boyhood of King Arthur. It’s a minutely-observed scene that will just captivate fellow lovers of this book.