From the outside, Gallery North is an unassuming venue in Hailsham. Just jump on the 51 or the 54 bus from Terminus Road in Eastbourne and off again by the big Tesco in Hailsham, or cycle straight up the Cuckoo Trail. The Gallery is on the corner of the High Street and the entrance is on Vicarage Lane. It is an old building with whitewashed rooms over two floors. The staircase is quite steep but there are three rooms of art on the ground floor alone.
We were greeted by a friendly steward who was keen to answer our questions and chat. Gallery North is not intimidating at all! The steward and her sister, who was also working yesterday morning, are both volunteers.
The Open Part I was on during May & June this year and the current exhibition, Open Part II is a second opportunity for many local artists to show off their prowess. There are 34 artists currently exhibiting and the works include paintings, photographs, mixed media, digital media, ceramics, jewellery and sculpture.
Highlights for me included finally seeing 'Ne m'oubliez pas' by Ian Goldsmith which is in Room 3. I have been following the creation of this botanical painting through his blog. It is so much more beautiful in the flesh and bigger than the online image had suggested. Ian is also showing a melancholy painting of a lone boy, perhaps in snow, engrossed in his own thoughts. It is entitled 'Planet Ezra' and is upstairs. I was quite moved by it.
Alison Hudson has a wonderful acrylic painting, 'Lion', which is so cleverly textured that from across the room I thought it must be fabric. Also in wildlife art, there is an amazing 'Infant Gorilla' by previous bloggee Roz Nathan. Be sure also to see the three stunning black & white shell and sealife gelatin prints by David Hoad at the top of the stairs.
Also at the top of the stairs are two mixed media streetscapes by Felicity Price-Smith, 'After Effects' and 'Eastleigh Village'. They are both in gentle palettes and have a fascinating use of small details. I particularly liked the way the different media make up a three-dimensional feel to the paintings. 'Regeneration' by Hugh Ford is particularly surreal and, although I studied it closely, I'm not quite sure I understood everything that is going on. Hugh also has two much darker works downstairs including 'Grey Beard' which could be a self-portrait. Plus while we're being surreal, Andy Bradley's digital image 'Engineer Scheduled' is a bizarre fried egg machine which is great fun.
Enough already! I hope this has whetted your appetite but I'm not going to describe all the work. You'll need to make your own visit to discover everything - and please be sure to sign the guest book while you are there!
The Open Part II is open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10:00- 16:00, until the 25th of August.
Free entry but donations welcome.