Abbey Walk Gallery, a premier art venue located in Grimsby, focuses on showcasing an exciting and diverse rolling programme of modern and contemporary art in North East Lincolnshire and across the UK. Established in 2008, the gallery works with a fantastic selection of established and emerging practitioners, and hosts an innovative programme of exhibitions, workshops and events. Supporting artists’ through its in-house artists’ studios, the gallery seeks to promote the development of artists’ careers. This week Abbey Walk is at the London Art Fair. We speak to Linda Ingham, Curator and Project Officer at Abbey Walk, about the gallery’s attendance at the fair. Alongside her involvement with Abbey Walk’s programming, Ingham is also a gallery artist.
A: What do you think the benefits are for galleries attending the London Art Fair?
LI: Art Fairs give galleries the opportunity to reach a wider range of audience than they possibly otherwise would in a creative, buzzing, yet informal setting; we know from our own viewing experiences that having so much amazing art in one place can be a real stimulus, in so many ways, whether thinking of investing in a piece of art, or to entice our own creative juices for ourselves or the gallery. For Abbey Walk Gallery specifically, we see this as an opportunity for a ‘pop-up’ gallery event, showcasing our artists and our programme to a London audience. Generally, the artists we work with are spread out nationally and it’s great to bring their work to North East Lincolnshire whilst also being wonderful to showcase their work as widely as we can.
A: Are you looking forward to a specific part of the London Art Fair programme?
LI: All of it is a pleasure, but we always enjoy the opening event and evening, when the audience first comes to the stand and we are able to introduce them to our gallery.
A: You are presenting work by Stephen Newton at LAF – what is special about his practice?
LI: Since the 1970s Stephen has immersed himself in a rich and varied exploration of painting. Each piece Stephen creates is developed over a long period of time, and through an almost ritualistic process. The time element is in evidence through the sheer physical layers and depth of the paint, whilst the imagery speaks to the most elemental human being inside of us all.His work is appreciated internationally and he has paintings in many public and private collections.
A: When you are choosing to work with artists, what do you look for?
LI: Abbey Walk Gallery provides a rolling programme of exhibitions, workshops and events that brings art and artists of the highest calibre to our audience – whether that’s at home in North East Lincolnshire, or away around the country. When considering an artist’s work, we look for diversity of practice – how what they do fits, contrasts or complements our existing artists,whilst also being high-quality work where the artist has challenged their practice. It’s important that our artists continually challenge and develop, and we want to support them in that.
A: What do you have planned for 2015 at Abbey Walk Gallery?
LI: We are very excited about our 2015 programme. From 18 February – 14 March, we will present a retrospective of Stephen Newton’s work; this exhibition highlights the full extent of the artist’s oeuvre, which has encompassed a diverse range of techniques and ideas. In September we will once again be working with the Arts Council Collection, this time bringing work by Sarah Lucas to the gallery. The show, entitled Shifting Subjects, will explore self-portraiture and autobiography by the contemporary woman artist, and include work by Miranda Whall, Wendy Elia, Linda Ingham and Margaret Ashman.
Visit the Abbey Walk Gallery website at www.abbeywalkgallery.com.
More information on the London Art Fair can be found here: www.londonartfair.co.uk.
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1. Linda Ingham, Touching Edges 1, Dark with Caves (2013). Copyright of the artist.