Art in unusual spaces will always grab headlines. Spencer Tunick photographing naked bodies on the streets of Newcastle. That time two New York artists opened an art gallery inside a bin. Shia LeBeouf wearing a paper bag on his head.
Ok, next to celebrity publicity stunts Herefordshire Art Week seems tame. But that doesn’t make it less ambitious. h.Art (September 10 – 18) is a serious celebration of the Shire’s creative streak, huge both in terms of scale and scope.
Established 14 years ago, you can’t underestimate the variety of art on show. 250 individual artists take part, and this year there’ll be exhibitions in almost 100 venues, from churches and castles to vast industrial estates and poky home studios.
A big selling point is stumbling on the unexpected, another is being able to meet the makers in person. There are also workshops, talks and one-off projects, all shining a spotlight on Herefordshire’s artistic talent.
Here we've picked out our 2016 h.Art highlights.
You can download the full h.Art guide and map at brightstripe.co.uk.
Canwood Gallery launch
There’s excitement about this newly built gallery and sculpture trail set in 10 acres of Herefordshire countryside. Rightly so. As well as a collection of photographs taken by comedian Peter Sellers, there’s a private collection of Walenty Pytel sculptures, Van Straaten work, and stunning pieces by Ed Elliot. Emotional impact guaranteed.
Canwood Farm, Checkley, HR1 4NF
Angel sculpture by Ed Elliott.
Photograph by Peter Sellers.
Abstraction at the Gallery @ OMP
The Gallery @ OMP is showing work by 3 artists who won the h.Art prize, awarded by the Church Street Charitable Trust. The work by ceramicist Verity Howard, painter Rachel Sudworth, and photographer Marek Zylinski has been specially created for this show.
23 Church St, Hereford HR1 2LR
Hereford Make – Fire, Forge & Foundry
Fire and brimstone from Hereford MAKE, the creative enterprise centre for artists, makers and smiths. Essentially your chance to nose around a blacksmithing forge, bronze foundry and the adjoining Artists’ Open Workshops, there’ll be taster sessions and demos too.
Unit 1 and 3, 2 Harrow Road, Hereford, HR4 0EH
Blacksmith at work, via Flickr.
The Chapel at Bromyard
A converted chapel playing host to 6 artists), each working in a different media, each showcasing their own process: Niel Bally, Rae Harrison, Pippa Medding, Vivienne Sole, David Spurrier, Jane Tudge. There’s a pop-up café too. Also worth a look while you're near Bromyard: the Green Cow Collective at Whitbourne and the Blue Ginger gallery in nearby Cradley.
2 Forbury Chase, Sherford Street, Bromyard, HR7 4DL
The Print Shed at Madley
An ‘all-singing, all dancing, swimmingly wonderful show' from the artist-owned printmaking workshop six miles out of Hereford. Driven by a love of craft and physical materials, Print Shed artists are pleasingly proud of their hands-on approach. “Sometimes imperfect, tactile and subjective qualities of handmade art are real”, the said. “We get our hands inky, come and see how it is done.” There are workshops running alongside the exhibition.
Also worth a look if you like print: h.Art newcomer Emily Hedges, who moved from London to Herefordshire in 2000, is showing textiles and printwork at Hinton Barns in Peterchurch.
Swinmoor House, Madley, HR2 9JD
Print by Jill Barneby.
Beauty Surrounds Us at Old Chapel Gallery, Pembridge
Promoting British contemporary art and craft, the well established Old Chapel Gallery is exhibiting works by Hannah Willow, Holly Brookes, Jemima Jameson, Benjamin Hills, Barbara Shaw, Judy Hartley, which means pretty much every medium you can think of.
East Street, Pembridge, HR6 9HB
Capture the Castle at St Michael’s, Discoed
Co-curator Tim Craven came up with the name for this exhibition, showcasing 20+ contemporary artists’ response to the theme of castles. The story spans from Iron Age hill forts to Gothic Revival in the 19th century, and the media includes prints, drawings, paintings, embroidery, photography and glass. While you’re near Presteigne, visit the Sidney Nolan Trust (LD8 2LL). The 15th annual exhibition of fine art prints and book art on show for h.Art has been inspired by the ancient setting of this gorgeous restored barn.
St Michael’s Church, Discoed, Near Presteigne, LD8 2NW
Clun Castle by Tim Craven.
eoh_mit and Billie Charity at The Globe at Hay
A new photography exhibition featuring Billie Charity's intimate portraits and eoh_mit’s dreamlike landscapes. Billie is a portrait and reportage photographer, whose work has been featured in The Guardian, The Times, and The Telegraph. Her work is head-turning, and beautifully candid. eoh_mit is Tim Hoe, and his memorable work comes from a "search for images that wait on the edge of the maze".
The Globe at Hay, Newport Street, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5BG
Etheric rift, by Eoh_mit.
Portrait, by Billie Charity.