We caught up with Hannah Dale of the newly opened Canwood Gallery in Herefordshire to find out more about the gallery’s origins and future plans.
What prompted you to start up the gallery and sculpture park?
In 1970s the gallery owner, then a farmer, became critically ill with leukemia, and was sent down to Bart’s hospital in London, to take part in a medical trial as a last ditch attempt to try and save his life. In between some pretty severe treatments, including radiation and mustard gas amongst many others, he decided to venture out and took a black cab to the Tate. It was his first visit to a contemporary gallery and he found immense inspiration in the controversial Carl Andre’s brick sculpture Equivalent VIII (1966). It was the first of many visits to art galleries in London. Whether it was the inspiration from art or the treatment, or both, he was the only person in his batch of 12 to survive to this day.
It has always been his desire to give something back and to build a gallery in Herefordshire where people could experience great art for free within the county.
You’ve been open less than a year, why was 2016 a good time to open for you?
Retiring from farming gave Stephen the opportunity to start on his dream project and work began on a three year project of converting the existing farm buildings into gallery spaces. Canwood Gallery opened for H.Art in September 2016 and has been overwhelmed by the positive response and support for the project.
How have you chosen the artists that you exhibit? I see that you have Carl Andre’s work on display – tell me more about his influence on the gallery.
Carl Andre is the inspiration behind Canwood Gallery’s opening and therefore the gallery immensely proud to have Isoclast 07 on permanent exhibition. Beautiful and contemplative or just a pile of bricks, the debate will always roll on! The gallery’s remit is to team an exceptional mixture of internationally-renowned and local artists. We hope to provide an escape from the fast pace and worries of modern life, inspire a few debates and further the enjoyment of art.
Can you tell me more about the gallery space itself?
The main gallery was an abandoned building used for storage and the second gallery was used to store farm machinery – it was quite a project! You can see more information and images on our blog post.
What are your plans for the future of the project space? What have you got coming up?
We have some fantastic exhibitions coming up in July, August and September. Our major showcase summer exhibition 1 July – 1 August Bricks in the Sticks – A Farmer’s Inspiration, includes works by Carl Andre, who inspired a generation to debate the merits of contemporary art, and an international collection of current world-leading artists including Jonty Hurwitz, Tomokazu Matsuyama, Blake Daniels, Brett Amory, Angela Conner, Almuth Tebbenhoff, Chris Dunseath, and Patricia Terrapon.
Outside, in 10 acres set in stunning rolling open countryside in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the exhibition will feature a range of inspiring sculptures from Harvey Hood, Alison Lochhead, Heather Jansch, Roger Stephens, Jonathan Loxley, Mark Houghton, Richard Jackson, Ed Elliott and Helen Sinclair.
Alongside this exhibition in our second gallery we have Vulgar Earth – a contemporary exhibition of sculpture, painting and installation, exploring and questioning our interactions with the environment around us. Local artists include Simon Meiklejohn, Peter Horrocks, Jackie Yeomans, Verity Howard, Jim Carter, Rob McCarthy and Glyndwr Brimacombe.
The gallery will also be open for H.Art 9, 17 -20 September.