Art Matters with @KayaGallery Norman Holmes

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By a quirk of my diary I ended up visiting 3 art exhibitions last week that each in their own way were fantastic and indeed uplifting.

Firstly I called in to one of my favourite exhibition spaces at Devonport Guildhall where a young contemporary artist Sophie Johnson had put together a wonderful display of art reminding me in parts of another favourite artist of mine Saul Cathcart with her dramatic landscapes. I am sure she has a strong future so worth purchasing one of her originals now. Also whilst mentioning the Devonport Guildhall every month they have a different exhibition so well worth a visit. In fact their July exhibition features another young artist, photographer Dan Underwood.

The second exhibition I saw was the end of year graduate show at Plymouth College of Art where there were some stunning examples of young creativity. The pieces were clearly the culmination of a number of years work and I’ll admit I’ve been a little disappointed in the past but this year demonstrated there is some immense potential coming through. I loved the creativity of the fashion and costume work and the ceramics whilst less avant garde were really good. Also I liked the Turneresque style paintings of Julie Ellis and the sea life art with a message by Emily Harris.

Finally I have to say the photography on display was top class, where Jon Cooney’s work caught my eye. A big thank you to all the students for presenting such an uplifting exhibition.

Finally, not in Plymouth, but as I was in London for a concert I took the opportunity to visit this years Royal Academy Summer exhibition. It’s held every year (without interruption since 1769) and allows unknown artists to submit pieces for judging which is always scarry for any artist but if successful they get to hang their work alongside the likes of David Hockney and Grayson Perry. It’s a joyous show with work for all tastes and well worth a visit if you’re in the capital.

Certainly I don’t wish to be too philosophical but at a time when we are living in a world with such violence as we saw recently in France and Orlando taking time out to walk round an exhibition can certainly be therapeutic.

In this light coming up locally there is the annual Dartmoor artists exhibition from 23 to 30 July at Ashburton Town Hall, and a major exhibition by leading naive artist Caroline Appleyard from 1 to 28 August at the Mayne gallery in Kingsbridge. Also the very talented portrait artist Jo Beer is currently working on a series entitled ‘Fleshy’ which will be exhibited at the Theatre Royal Plymouth from 9th August.

Finally look out for further information on this years Plymouth Art Weekender on 23 to 25 September when there will be a host of exhibitions at various venues.. Take time to visit you know it makes sense.

Photography – Jon Cooney ( www.joncooney.co.uk) Clothing – Westward Bound (www.westwardbound.com) Model – Olivia Harriet Smith

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