Nine highlights of Norwich Castle’s inheritance-themed open art show
PUBLISHED: 11:31 11 April 2018 | UPDATED: 14:48 11 April 2018
Archant Norfolk 2016
Artists from across the east consider our rich and varied inheritance in the fifth open art show at Norwich Castle. Arts correspondent Emma Knights takes at look at nine highlights.
From the beautiful architecture of a Norwich church to a tree linked to Kett’s Rebellion to a grandfather’s comfy old chair - artists across the east look at how the idea of our inheritance can mean so many different things in an exhibition at Norwich Castle.
The historic castle keep itself has been inherited by the city’s residents for more than 900 years, and the idea of this great legacy was the starting point for Inheritance: Norwich Castle Open Art Show.
Artists were challenged to think of how all manner of things - from buildings to traditions to traits - are passed down the generations and the result is an eclectic mix of art that forms a complementary art show to the Square Box on the Hill exhibition currently putting a spotlight on Norwich Castle.
Both shows are taking centre stage at a time when the ambitious Norwich Castle: Gateway to Medieval England project is aiming to take the castle keep back to the future - restoring it to how it was in the days of the Norman kings and preserving it for future generations.
The Inheritance art show, organised in collaboration with East Anglia Art Fund (EAAF), features more that 120 works split into three categories which are each named after a work in the show - Architecture and Mortality, Distant Blues and Family of Things.
Here we look at nine highlights giving different takes on inheritance:
• Architecture & Mortality by Nessie Stonebridge
Nessie Stonebridge’s abstract work is inspired by birds and a barn near her studio that she has left to the devices of a generation of barn owls.
“My paintings of birds in mid-flight ask how we might rethink the inheritance of the land for its non human inhabitants,” Nessie said.
“Can a bird pass on its nesting home to its progeny?”
• Flint Flushwork, St Michael Coslany, by Gerard Stamp
Gerard Stamp’s painting puts a focus on Norwich’s many historic churches built by generations past.
“Space and time are intimately related in this painting,” said Sandy Heslop, professor of visual arts at the University of East Anglia.
“Looking through the window we see into the church and beyond.”
• Journey Along the Riverside by Sally Hirst
Sally Hirst’s triptych takes a journey along Norwich’s riverside over time.
“Until the mid-1950s the Port of Norwich was lined with factories, boatyards and warehouses. This triptych represents three views of the riverside during its ever changing history,” she said.
• Distant Blues by Christine Elliott Grey
Christine Elliott Grey makes reference to the Norwich School of painters in her abstract landscape.
“Living in Norfolk and painting landscape it is impossible to ignore the legacy left by the predecessors of the Norwich School. John Sell Cotman showed the power gained through simplifying areas of colour,” she said.
• Kett’s Oak by Mike Dodd
Mike Dodd’s black and white drawing gives a snapshot of a tree synonymous with a key moment in Norwich’s history. Kett’s Oak, near Hethersett, was said to be the gathering point of the rebels, led by landowner Robert Kett, who marched on Norwich in 1549, protesting the enclosure of common land.
• The Cow Hill by Peter Kavanagh
While Peter Kavanagh painted this scene at Sheringham Park it sparked a look back at a lifetime of memories with his brother.
“As we painted we reminisced on the years gone by and our two lifetimes of painting and drawing...before we’d finished the cows had got to their feet and ambled over to join us,” he said.
• Family of Things by Rachael Long
Rachael Long’s photograph shows a washing line packed full of family memories.
“Last year my brother and I found a metal trunk in a shed on the farm. As we opened it my brother exclaimed “the keys dress!” Inside the trunk were dresses belonging to our mother, her sisters and our sisters, all packed away for years...Mum (now 90) can remember every detail of so many of the clothes,” she said.
• Surely It’s Not That Bad by Craig Hudson
Craig Hudson’s thought-provoking bronze sculpture of a figure weighed down by a brightly coloured ball could be described as looking at an inherited human condition and how we seem may not always be how we really are.
• Last Legs by Auriol Innes
Auriol Innes’ painting is of a well worn chair loved by generations.
“My grandfather’s chair, then my dad would sit in it with his legs outstretched, hidden behind The Times. My mother re-covered it in yellow, she was Australian and missed the sun. Later the webbing began to sag and I would fight with my sister to see who could claim the seat to watch telly. The chair survived, a bit battered. My sons jumped about on it and that is when the arm broke. Recently I rescued it for my studio…I think I share it with a mouse,” she said.
Inheritance: Norwich Castle Open Art Show runs until May 20 and The Square Box on the Hill runs until June 3. For more about the exhibitions and the Norwich Castle: Gateway to Medieval England project, visit www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk