It’s time for the North Somerset Arts week once again.(1-10 May 2009) I wonder who first came up with the idea of the “art trail”, i.e. a series of exhibitions in different people’s houses grouped together by virtue of taking place in the same street, region or whatever? There are so many of them now that if it were possible to copyright such a thing they’d have made a tidy sum I’m sure. When I first moved to Bristol donkey’s years ago the Totterdown art’s trail was already pretty well established and now here and the immediate vicinity there’s a Southbank Bristol Art’s Trail, a Montpelier Arts Trail, an Easton Arts Trail, a Severn Vale Open Studios Arts Trail, a Chew Valley arts Trail, a North Bristol Arts Trail and the list goes on. The sheer number of them can seem a little overwhelming but there’s nearly always stuff worth looking at and I find there’s nearly always somebody exhibiting with a connection to the life drawing class so it can be a bit of a social thing too.
This time I particularly enjoyed seeing Brian Fowler’s work in Wrington (venue 71) Neil Murison’s work (venue 75) and John Kinkead’s work at Claverham Meeting House (venue 54). I was struck by Liz Avery’s (not a class member) hard edged flower pieces at Venue 74 which I thought were very nice for that type of thing, i.e. not your usual run of the mill still life (The small catalogue illustration doesn’t really do her work justice though.) and the silk screen work by Gail Mason and Alison Clayton at the same venue as Johnny K. (also not members of the group).
Inevitably with 118 different venues you’d be hard pushed to get around to all of them but quite a few of the exhibiting artists have got websites now so a good tip would be to look up some of the work online before you go. It’s so easy to have some kind of website or blog these days that I wonder why more of the artist’s don’t do it but there you go I guess. We also struggled a bit with some of the directions in the catalogue and next year will probably Google the postcodes of the different venues beforehand.
Incidently the food and refreshments at St John the Baptist Church in Churchill (venue 75) was simple but really nicely done. Their Parsnip and Apple Soup was a work of art in itself!