New Mayfield gallery aims to be permanent space for performing arts and sculpture
Outside of Lockdown offers a new exhibition marking the launch of Melford Gallery, Fir Toll Road, Mayfield, running until September 16.
Richard Field is the organiser, the gallery/sculpture garden owner and also a sculptor in the exhibition.
Other artists are Joanna Allen, Rafael Ricabal Canedo, Joanna Farrow, Holly Hickmore, Rosie Jones, Gavin Roweth, Mark Stonestreet, Andrew Warner and Liesha Yaz. The artists are predominantly from Sussex with one artist from Cuba and two artists from Hampshire.
Richard explains: “It is a heavily sculpture based exhibition with over 40 sculptures, an incredible and impressive garden sculpture range, original stone carvings, bronze sculptures and metal sculptures as well as some beautiful oil paintings.
“The exhibition marks the launch of Melford Gallery which is opening up as a private sculpture gallery and garden and an arts venue to host performing arts and music events.”
For the moment, the main focus of the exhibition iscoming out of lockdown after COVID-19.
“Much of the work draws on the emotional journeys which people may have been through both coping with COVID but also their own mental health as well as a result of lockdown and isolation.
“The sculpture on show provides a physical/ tangible way to connect with our experiences.
“We have aimed to create a space and exhibition where visitors can both enjoy looking at the pieces on display but also where they can physically connect and interact with the sculpture and paintings within the space they are exhibited in as they move around them and interact with the space.
“There are many works in the gallery which tap into aspects of mental health, resilience and humanity’s flaws and imperfections. However there are also many sculptures which celebrate the body, shape, form and sensuality as well as a collection of fantastic animal sculptures from pheasants to horses.
“As such the appeal of the works on display is far reaching.
“Whilst all the artists are incredible in their own right and the calibre of work in my opinion is truly exceptional, two artists particularly stand out for me.
“Joanna Allen is based in East Sussex but works primarily in Italy and exhibits internationally and in London. Joanna is an incredibly successful early-career award-winning sculptor.
“Her work is truly amazing. Looking at her work engages something deep inside the viewer. For me it captures emotion, fear and passion and sucks me into an inner feeling. Joanna’s work has not only won prestigious awards but one of the sculptures on display here was bought by the Museum of Modern Art and sits in their permanent collection in Barcelona.
“Holly Hickmore is the resident sculptor at Sandown Race Course. Holly exhibited at Ascot last year and was due to exhibit again this year. Her life-sized foal due at Ascot is being shown here for the first time. Holly’s work catches something very real and instinctual about the animals she sculpts. Holly is still in her 20s and is definitely one to watch!”
Richard added: “I moved to Sussex just over three years ago and began linking up with the arts community by putting on art fairs and exhibitions locally. These grew in popularity so much that I ended up having to increase the size, scale and locations of them very rapidly.
“I myself am a sculptor with a background and career of working with vulnerable young people. Having permanently moved to a large house in Mayfield I saw an opportunity to renovate and develop the property and garden to provide a permanent arts space for both the performing arts and sculpture.
“The longer-term plan is to develop a community arts hub providing workshops, regular figuredrawing classes and a support base, platform and funding source for young people with talent in the arts.
“There are a series of events running over the course of the exhibition.
“This is definitely the most exciting opportunity and point in my arts career. I am thrilled to have such incredibly talented artists and sculptors exhibited here.”
More info about the exhibition and events can be found on the website www.melford.gallery.