Spring Art Exhibitions

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A visit to a gallery is a great way to spend an afternoon. Fortunately, there are plenty of galleries to choose from across East Anglia, each displaying works from local artists.

This spring there are lots of exhibitions to visit including a display of Star Wars memorabilia, art deco and ‘unboxing’ videos. 

St Ives, River Great Ouse Exhibition

Celebration of the historical importance of the River Great Ouse, until 14 March

The Norris Museum, St Ives, Cambs

St Ives Town Team, in association with the The Norris Museum, St Ives, will stage The Port On The River Exhibition’, until 14th March, open 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday.

Considered to be one of the great crossroads of England, the Great Ouse is 160 miles long from its source in Northamptonshire to the sea at King’s Lynn. During its slow course it collects many tributaries to link a huge network of waterways across the Fens and people have travelled up and down this highway for millennia.


The exhibition will include informative panels covering key aspects of the river’s history, plus a floor path timeline. 

Visitors will be able to take the detail away with them by purchasing the beautifully produced Exhibition Catalogue which contains even more information about the subject and a bibliography of further reading, priced £5.

Enigma; ‘Echo from the Past’, acrylic on canvas board, 30 x 40 cm, Yusuf Keten, £210

Enigma, 7 February – 14 March 

The Fairhurst Gallery, Bedford St, Norwich NR2 1AR

The Fairhurst Gallery is delighted to present a solo exhibition by Norwich based, self-taught artist, Yusuf Keten.

Born and raised in Turkey, with a background in mechanical engineering, Keten is primarily interested in the way abstract forms interact with each other, exploring shape and colour to depict the images he sees in his mind’s eye.

The artist describes his canvases as “…coming from somewhere deep inside me.”  By manipulating line, shape and form Keten creates abstract forms which are detached from reality through a deeply organic and imaginative process.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an audio guide, of words spoken by the artist himself, giving visitors a one-on-one, personal insight into the paintings. Visit gallery.fairhurstgallery.co.uk/exhibitions/forthcoming-exhibitions/enigma

Cold Brew Coffee Unboxing

‘Unboxing’ by Alex Frost, 8 February – 19 April

Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, High Street, Colchester CO1 1JH

In a glass tank filled with fresh water, artist Alex Frost slowly opens consumer products, to strangely beautiful effect. An exhibition of videos and sculptures by her made from products that feed our ‘on-the-go’ lifestyle will be at Firstsite from 8 February to 19 April.   

During summer 2018, Alex Frost uploaded 48 videos onto YouTube. These videos featured ready meals, snacks, protein shakes, vitamin tablets and energy drinks, all ‘on-the-go’ products, submerged and unpacked underwater. Frost called these films ‘Wet Unboxings’ – a nod to the online trend of ‘Unboxing where a product (usually a high-tech consumer item) is unpacked, explained and demonstrated, all of which is captured on video and uploaded to the internet.

Alex Frost’s ‘Wet Unboxings’ quickly went viral. The objects Frost “unboxes” reflect a life of transience. A whole tube of Berocca creates an entrancing fizzy orange cloud and cold brew coffee is dark and menacing.

At Firstsite around 12 of these videos will be projected facing each other on opposite sides of the gallery on screens that stretch the entire width of the walls, immersing the viewer in the larger-than-life images.

The videos will be accompanied by a series of wall-based sculptures made from sandwiches and frozen pizzas encased in resin —foods that are part of the same optimised on-the-go lifestyle that the videos try to capture.

London Midland & Scottish Railway poster. Artwork by Septimus E Scott.

Art Deco by the Sea, 9 February – 14 June

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, UEA, Norfolk Road, Norwich NR4 7TJ

From 9 February to 14 June, the Sainsbury Centre will open ‘Art Deco by the Sea’, an exciting exhibition examining British coastal culture between the First and Second World Wars and the Art Deco style.

The exhibition will explore how Art Deco transformed the British seaside in a new age of mass tourism. It will examine how coastal resorts were modernised, how new resorts were established and how iconic examples of Art Deco architecture from hotels and apartment blocks to cinemas and amusement parks altered the look of the British seafront. From the Midland Hotel in Morecambe to the villas of Frinton-on-Sea or Hunstanton, Art Deco became the seaside style.

The show will include around 150 works in all media including paintings, posters, brochures, drawings, photographs, fashion, furniture, ceramics and textiles. Entry £13. Further details at scva.ac.uk

Young Art East Anglia Winners 2020 Display, 13-15 March

Peter Pears Gallery, 152 High Street, Aldeburgh

Young Art East Anglia is an annual art competition for Suffolk’s primary school pupils, that raises money for Cancer Research UK.

This year’s judge, Suffolk based artist Mimi Nicholson, will choose highly commended from different age categories plus first, second and third placed pieces which will then be professionally framed.

About 350 selected art will be displayed at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh. Winners are notified by late February.  www.youngarteastanglia.co.uk

BUGS: Beauty and Danger, 14 March – 30 May 

GroundWork Gallery, 17 Purfleet Street, King’s Lynn, PE30 1ER

GroundWork Gallery’s spring exhibition celebrates the beauty and power of insects at a time of increasing threat to many common species.

Eight international artists are showing work about bees, beetles, locusts, flies, butterflies and moths, through drawings, paintings, film, etchings, installation, to explore some of their intricacy and wonder, but also some of the fears we experience when encountering them. 

Featuring works by Nicola Bealing (UK), Arno van Berge Henegouwen (Netherlands) Jeroen Eisinga (Netherlands), Claudia Fährenkemper (Germany), Sarah Gillespie (UK), Cornelia Hesse-Honegger (Switzerland), Aurora Sciabarra (UK-Italy), Alison Turnbull (UK).

This exhibition raises awareness of some of the attractions and fears around bugs. They are still very mysterious, there is much we don’t know about their survival, their habits, or even the extent of our interdependence with them. This means that there is still a lot that the public can do to appreciate them more and through careful observation, to understand their ways of life in relation to ours.

The exhibition is accompanied by a campaign in tandem with Buglife, which aims to save insects from further decline, and to create safe-havens for insects to thrive, and increase public knowledge and understanding of the plight of all invertebrates.

On Sunday 5 April, from 2pm-5pm, there will be a ‘No Insectstinction’ study day. Tickets priced £5, under 18s free. www.groundworkgallery.com

Star Wars Exhibition

May the Toys be with You, 28 March -13 September

Time and Tide Museum, Blackfriars’ Rd, Great Yarmouth NR30 3BX

Brought to you from a galaxy far, far way, this exhibition of over 300 Star Wars toys, original cinema posters and memorabilia is an absolute must see for fans of all ages. It will be on display at the Time and Tide Museum of Great Yarmouth Life from 28 March to 13 September.

The exhibition is not only a celebration of classic toys and collectables but also of the iconic design and artwork of the Star Wars films. From X-Wing Fighters to lightsabers, these fantastic creations have fired our imaginations and made their mark on our cultural landscape since the first film was released over 40 years ago.

Star Wars toys became the must-have playthings for an entire generation, with an estimated 300 million action figures sold between 1977 and 1985. For more information visit www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/time-tide

An Exhibition of Selected Members of the NEAC, 11 April – 2 May

Thompson’s Gallery, 175 High St, Aldeburgh IP15 5AN

Thompson’s Gallery in Aldeburgh is holding an exhibition of Selected Members of The New English Art Club from 11 April to 2 May.

Many diverse styles of art have been developed since its founding, adding richness and variety and the Thompson’s Gallery exhibition will show the bredth and talent of its current members and how it has preserved the impressionist tradition. Works include landscapes and exquisitely painted interiors and among the NEAC members who are exhibiting are Fred Cuming, Ken Howard, Susan Ryder and Jane Corsellis and a further 20 artists. 

The NEAC was founded by a group of artists who were dissatisfied with the attitudes and conservatism of the Royal Academy and they held their first exhibition in 1886. The club increasingly attracted younger artists, bringing with them the influence of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. www.thompsonsgallery.co.uk/



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