The News is kindly Supported by the Isle of Man Arts Council.

Thursday night saw the Creative Network’s social evening at The Sayle Gallery and there was a good turnout to hear about the plans for the Isle of Man Art Festival to be held again over the early May bank holiday weekend, 29th April to 1st May. I was greeted with ‘Ah – the ubiquitous Jane Hall’ which made me laugh. I’ve never been described as ‘ubiquitous’ before.

Planning for the Festival is well underway with a number of changes this year including fewer venues in Peel but some new ones, including a couple in the north of the island and another at the Airport. If you haven’t already been in touch with any of the committee about participating please get in touch with Myra Gilbert or Rosie Glassey as soon as possible.

I’m really delighted that Rob Jones now has some of his fabulous sculptural pieces installed at Milntown Gardens, Ramsey. Rob had a really successful exhibition at The Sayle Gallery last year and in the survey I did recently it came out as being one of the best received shows of 2016. Rob says in his Facebook post that it’s been hard work but he’s happy with the results and he thanked Adam Quayle (head gardener) without whose creativity and foresight he said it wouldn’t have happened and he also extended his thanks to Juan Quane and Liam Faragher, Vicky Crellin aand Paul Ogden. His thanks went out as well to the Arts Council who have supported Rob and “recognised the importance of bringing art to the public”.

Rob later added some technical information on the plinths saying that they’re not quite as simple as they look; the base is solid but the top is hollow, lowering the centre of gravity and they weigh around a quarter of a tonne each. They were made by Greg Wright of BPD Jurby and Rob says he did “a grand job on short notice”and that “it’s been a pleasure to work with him”.

Great job all – they look fantastic. These lovely photos have been taken by Simon Park (his details can be found in the Directory section too).

Ice sculptor, Darren Jackson, has been competing in the north of Finland, six hours away from Helsinki, against 11 other teams in the 2017 World Ice Carving Championships. Darren and his team mate, Neil Smith from London, submitted their design for this year’s theme ‘Togetherness’ which ties in with Finland’s celebrations of Independence being held throughout 2017.

Darren and Neil’s creation was around a brown bear which is the national symbol of Finland. Working in temperatures of minus 10 degrees to create the piece it stands at over four meters tall. It’s been constructed from around 30 blocks of ice, each one measuring 50cm by 50cm by 1m – which works out at about 7 tonnes of ice.

Unfortunately they didn’t win the competition, being ‘pipped at the post’ for the sculptor’s choice, but it’s still a pretty amazing piece I’m sure you’ll agree. Darren posted up photographs of the other entries and no doubt you’ll be interested to see them, so here are a few of the photos – click to enlarge and scroll through. The winner was the first picture in the gallery.

I don’t normally comment on political issues, but it looks like Ramsey Courthouse is again a hot topic and is likely to be sold on the open market. I think the old Courthouse would make a fantastic venue for the arts – be it a permanent gallery, art education, mixed use to include performing arts, etc.. Rather than let this building, which is the heart of the town, become another coffee shop or restaurant, I think we should have a bit of diversity and use the building to provide a venue for those in the North of the Island. You can have your say by completing a short survey here:

Phil Kneen posted up a tantalising snippet from his Calais article this week which is too good not to share:

‘Christmas Day, 2015 – I’m sitting, cross-legged, in a three-metre square plywood cabin; around me, huddled in a circle, are eight other men, all from Kuwait. The only light comes from a single, inadequate window to my left. A thick, dirty, brown and blue patterned curtain in the doorway blocks any remaining light from the grim outside world. I share with them the beer and wine that I’ve brought; they share their duty-free herbs with me. Everyone in this room is here out of choice; the only difference between us is that I can leave The Jungle at any time, night or day, and go home. These eight Kuwaitis, and about six thousand other people who call this squalid shantytown on the outskirts of Calais home, don’t have that option. Most of the people here are navigating a journey that cannot be reversed…’

“That’s the first paragraph of a two thousand word piece I submitted to The Telegraph just before Christmas last year; I heard back from them to say it was an ‘outstanding piece’, but they never published it.”

Let’s hope he finds an international publisher for it soon as I for one am itching to read the whole thing.

The forthcoming exhibition at the Sayle Gallery in Douglas, “Turning Point”, marks an important stage in the Gallery’s development. It will not only bring in the work of significant artists from the contemporary art world beyond our Island shores but it will also mark a turning point for the gallery as it embarks on new directions and journeys.

The exhibition showcases the work of five artists with international recognition, including Turner Prize winner, Mark Wallinger. This will be the first time a Turner Prize winner has shown work on the Isle of Man. The exhibition brings together works which question what it is to live on an Island; issues of home; rites of passage; isolation; aspiration; boundaries … It explores different relationships that we have with the sea, coastline and Island Culture. Besides Mark Wallinger: Manxman and artist, Kevin Atherton; Keith McIntyre, Head of Art at the University of Northumbria; Susan Collins, Professor of Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, and artist Shona Illingworth have contributed artwork to the show.
Helen Fox, Programme Manager for Art, Design and Media at the University College, Isle of Man, in collaboration with the Sayle Gallery has curated the show as part of her research project which looks at what kind of frameworks we need for the visibility of contemporary art practice in an Island context; and questions how artists are affected by the communities they make work in and how that community responds to that work. Sincere thanks go to local companies, T H Colebourn, Osborn Carpets and Typhoon House, for their valued support and also to the Department of Education and Children and Isle of Man Arts Council who have made staging this exhibition possible.
There will be a Panel Discussion held on Saturday 25th February 1 – 4 pm in the gallery, where artists, students, educators and the general public are invited to join Keith McIntyre, Kevin Atherton and Helen Fox in a discussion: ‘Contemporary Art Practice and What it Means in an Island Context’.

The Arts Council is looking for an Artist in Residence to create a piece of Artwork for the new Henry Bloom Noble primary school.

Jeremy Paul attracted quite a crowd for his latest presentation to the Isle of Man Photographic Society at Thie Ellyn, with enthusiasts queuing outside an hour before the start time. I think they’d better book a bigger venue next time! The evening consisted of two presentations, the first covering his visit to Yellowstone National Park in 2015 and the second, his trip to Costa Rica in February 2016. He uses his photographs as references for his fabulous paintings. Here are a couple of his pictures inspired by his travels – the wolves from Yellowstone and the Kingfisher from Costa Rica.

I don’t think anyone will be queuing up to see my holiday snaps anytime soon.

Dates for your Diary

On now – Western Photographic Society Exhibition at the Manx Museum

On now – 24 February – Bob Hitchin’s Digi-rama at the Erin Arts Centre

On now – Hodgson Loom Photographic Exhibition

On now – Manx Landscapes and Seascapes at The Isle Gallery (Group Show)

20 – 24 February – Half Term – a variety of Workshops at The Isle Gallery

21 February – Draw Folks, Fairies & Themselves with Juan Moore at the Manx Museum (ages 8 -16 years)

23 February – Draw Victorious Vikings in Valhalla with Juan Moore at the House of Manannan (ages 8 -16 years)

23 February – Me, Beth Espey and Christy DeHaven on Women Today, Manx Radio at 2pm.

24 February – 10 March – Turning Point at The Sayle Gallery

25 February – 1pm-4pm Panel Discussion at The Sayle (see details above)

28 February – Cut off point for Creative Network Website update

Here’s this week’s round up of images from Social Media. Enjoy.

Have a great week!

Jane x

Keep up-to-date by ‘Liking’ the Facebook Page or by ‘Following’ me on Linkedin or Twitter@manxart or Instagram @manxartdirectory or Pinterest.

Isle of Man Art News – 20 February 2017

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