We've had a quick trip around the gallery with the camera to introduce you to a few of the makers on display. Searching For Enlightenment runs into April with a few additions to come over the next couple of weeks. We are delighted to welcome our first French artist in Veronique Paquereau with one of her wonderful mixed media paintings. More will be coming soon. Click on each image for a better look or pop in and see them for yourself.
As ever there is a diverse collection of ceramics in the four rooms that make up Bils & Rye. Strong colours combined with antique, retro and reclaimed furniture provide an alternative setting for works of real distinction.
Each room has sculpture added from some of the most exciting British sculptors. We have a strong heritage of sculpture at the gallery, one of the rooms was built by the sculptor, John Bunting, who worked with Robert Thompson (the Mouseman) and Henry Moore before teaching Sir Anthony Gormley at the nearby Ampleforth Abbey.
Stephen explains his work, processes and inspirations:
"The work is an on-going and sustained exploration of form and process. Influences are diverse and come from the natural and built environments.
The forms, often vessels, are hand-built using a combination of methods. All the work is put through the Raku-firing process which provides an infinite range of possibilities.
2015 was an fantastic year of change for us. We welcomed many more visitors to the gallery and had a fabulous time at our first art fair. HIVE in Harrogate was a hard graft, getting all the works together, we learned many lessons. We had a great time and thank you to all who attended. We have taken stands at Cambridge and Edinburgh Art Fairs for 2016 and considering a couple of other options.
We have also undertaken a big change around in the gallery with a lot less work on display, hopefully making it a little more coherent and easier on the eye! We have a lot more sculpture for 2016, kicking off the year with a major coup of securing work from Simon Gudgeon. Born and bred in Ryedale, Simon went on to become a solicitor before converting to sculpting. His works are in international and Royal collections.
2015 proved to be the year of sculpture in the gallery, with us finding new homes for more pieces than previous years. The supply has helped no end with top end sculptors asking to exhibit at the gallery and 2016 is the year we will spend more resources on bringing in more contemporary works from around the UK.
Here our a few of our picks for 2016 including a rather special new arrival!
We are back open after a short Christmas break, excited for what 2016 may bring. We thought we would kick off with a few of our tips for success in 2016. This week we concentrate on Ceramics.
In the ceramics world, which has seen much needed national press coverage with the BBC2 series 'The Great Pottery Throw Down', we have seen several makers continue to produce astounding works. Those of you who know us, will be aware that we don't follow the normal trends of pottery, preferring to extol the wonders from the whole industry rather than one form. Yes the pedigree of todays great artists owes a huge amount to Leach, Rie, Hamada and others but for us there is so much more than reworking their pieces.
Having returned from our first big external event, smiles abound from the experience, the people we met and the reception to our stand! Hard work didn't abate though with the need to completely rehang and dress the entire gallery! We have moved 1200 pieces over the last week and will be putting the finishing touches to the display tomorrow and Friday.
We have several new artists on board too including Juliette Bigley who makes stunning vessels from sterling silver and base metals. We also welcome Helen Dodds with her egg tempera paintings finished with gold leaf and a lot of her humour. Up from Cornwall come paintings from Amy Albright and we now have Laura Rich's North York Moors series available from the gallery.
This year it's fund raising for Yorkshire Air Ambulance that's on our Christmas list!
It's been a tremendous year at the gallery growing by 200% and firmly becoming established as a specialist dealer in British Contemporary Ceramics. So as we approach the end of year three we wanted to do a little fun charity fund raiser.
Earlier this year, shortly after the Nunnington Bash fundraiser for Yorkshire Air Ambulance, we were reminded just how important this service is when it came to the rescue of one of our dear friends. Thanks to their important work, our friend is still with us, fighting fit and laughing as much as ever.
This week I've been planning the road trip to collect from far and wide. Thankfully some lovely makers are bringing their wares to us, although the trek couldn't take much more in. I'm off to Nottingham, Leicester, London, Canterbury, Lewes, Farnham, Mere, Devon/Cornwall border. Two other trips are happening too, the Lake District and Lincoln!
Meanwhile our set designers are hard at work making something very special for the stand. We are delighted with their vision and hope you will be too.
The countdown has begun, we are just 5 weeks away from our first grown up exhibition. The Harrogate International Visual Arts Expo will be held in the Harrogate International Centre Hall M from the 20th November to the 22nd November 2015.
Bils & Rye will occupy stands A1 & A2 to the left of the entrance. It's a mixed show with some galleries and some artists showing their wares. We will be bringing a broad selection from the gallery with some special stars coming in for the show.
You can expect to see them in the gallery thereafter. Over the next four weeks we will be introducing each of the artists via our newsletter, which can be signed up for here.
If you're not used to going into galleries or buying art it can be a bit of a scary prospect, intimidating even and part of our ethos at Bils & Rye came about in response to this, ‘Taking the Intimidating Aspect Out of Art’.
Art really is in the eye of the beholder, and as such, no one option of it is right or wrong. It comes down to personal taste and that is exactly how it should be approached when you consider purchasing anything.
In our last blog we talked about the beginnings of Bils & Rye. This one is all about what we stand for now, two and a half years into what we hope will be a long and happy journey. Earlier in the year we commissioned a film by Craft Council favourites Richard Foot and Arron Finch. They, together make films under the R & A Collaborations banner. We loved what they had done for several of the makers we already worked with.
This film is the easiest way of explaining what we do at the gallery and why we do it. I will now try and put that into written words, as many of you know, I'm prone to waffling and going off on a tangent, losing the thread and generally being a little controversial at times! I will do my best to stick to the task at hand!
Like the iconic programme on Channel 4, Bils & Rye offers our visitors four very different rooms, each packed with fabulous visual delights. The internet is a hard place to portray the passion we have for the artists and their work. Even images don't really tell the whole story, somewhat disproving the 1000 words analogy.
Dispelling the Myth
Here at Bils & Rye we like to do things a little differently. Our ethos is based on the ethical treatment of our artists and our customers alike.
We love to talk! Discussions about art, about life are common occurrences in the gallery and often become conversations that span many topics, and frequently go off on tangents. In fact, we love people, and talking, as much as we love art. So we aim to be as approachable and honest as we possibly can.
There are always inevitably a few that smart a little and can be tricky to answer. Let’s face it; galleries haven’t had the best of reputations in the past… elitist, unwelcoming, aloof, greedy… The last one, that is the hardest one to dispel.
We are delighted to be welcoming Steve Slimm back to the gallery for his second show with Bils & Rye. New works for 2015 from his Cornish studio feature land and sea scapes. Renowned for his use of light and colour, these paintings have shown further development in his abstract series of Cornish scenery.
We love bringing work to the area from further afield and Steve epitomises so much about what we like. He is mostly self taught taking inspiration from Turner with a modern twist.
He will be joined in the gallery with a host of new ceramicists including the delightful Ruth King from York with her salt glazed altered forms. Ceramic houses are on their way, more work from Guy Routledge too. August will see us up the anti once again with the arrival of Eddie and Margaret Curtis with special pieces being made to show for the first time from their Northumberland studios.
Excitement is also building for our first exhibition at HIVE2015 in Harrogate. So much so the Buy Art Fair in Manchester got in contact so we are mulling over a potential stand there too! Any feedback on this would be much appreciated.
We have also moved most of the information to this site now and have transferred the main www.bilsandrye.com domain to here too. The old website will stay live with an easy redirect in place and can be accessed here.
Delighted to announce we have six wonderful driftwood sculptures by the very talented and much copied Kirsty Elson. Her work has achieved a vast following over the last few years and it has taken us all of two years to secure these six pieces. Following a request from Kirsty, these pieces will not be available online but just to visitors to the gallery.