St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery

Opening Monday - Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 10am-4pm

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St Barbe Open Exhibition 22 March - 2 June.

The St Barbe annual open art exhibition once again shows how vibrant the art scene is in this part of the world. This open attracts entries from Hampshire, Dorset and beyond, the standard getting higher every year.

The exhibition includes work by art professionals, amateurs and students. There is an eclectic mix of painting that includes collage and photo montage also printmaking and 3D work.

Open exhibitions are numerous and popular but what makes St Barbes’ so good is the size of the show. Most others are so big it’s hard to see the work properly and there is often so much of it that you can suffer from visual indigestion. The limited number of pieces in this show gives the work a chance to shine without being effected by neighbouring art.

On the 4 March, fellow artists Amanda Wallwork, Philip Smith and I looked at over 400 works of art with the task of selecting under one hundred pieces to fill the gallery spaces at St Barbe. We looked at work ranging from highly crafted super realism to social statement art to abstraction. All three of us have previously been selectors for this open exhibition. It’s never an easy task and art being subjective, the selectors don’t always agree. Mostly there is a unanimous decision but other work required a lot of discussion.

Curator Stephen Marshall and his team have done a fantastic job in hanging this show. It is very difficult to keep such an eclectic gathering of art from looking like a jumble sale!

On entering the gallery you notice how beautifully lit the exhibition is highlighting colourful abstract work. Each room contains sculptures set on plinths or display cases. As you pass through into the second room the wall is flanked by some very interesting relief paintings. The next room doesn’t disappoint either. It has something for everyone. All this leads to my favourite room. The Young Artist room. It has three age categories. Under 7, 7-12 and 12-17. The uninhibited creativity of the under sevens is an absolute delight.

There are prizes for outstanding work in different categories:

The Blake Morgan Award for Best Painting went to Davina Downs. Her small painting of the Welsh hills is both sensitive and atmospheric.

The Coastal Gallery Award for the Best Abstract Work went to Keith Rogers for his painting Blush. This painting has a lovely measured composition and colour combination.

The printmaking is always of a high technical standard but this years winners are rewarded for their creative and artistic merits.

Sue Howard won the Best Non Professional Award from Beaulieu Fine Arts with her print 'Apple Tree'.

The John Symons Memorial Award for Best Print was won by Sion Appleyard.

Hattie Rogers Is awarded the Ted Marsh Memorial Award for the Best Work by a Young Artist . Her work titled 'Sea by Moonlight' made with mixed media on paper is a creative use of the materials.

The Specsavers, Lymington 'People's Choice' Award is voted by the public choosing their favourite artwork - the artist with the most votes gets £250!

The exhibition runs till 2nd June

Stephen Powell.

Open Exhibition Judge 2019


Banner image: Hilary Ball - 'Pines of Wilverly Plain' - St Barbe Open 2019