Holding an art exhibition during the last year has been near impossible and even the big galleries like the V&A have been trying to adapt how to exhibit their artists and shows. Online has been one way to browse around an exhibition and going for a virtual tour is lovely when you are stuck at home, but local Portsmouth independent gallery 'Jack House Gallery' has found a way to please art lovers in the area by offering an exhibition through glass. It allows the public to visit on their walks outdoors and means that rather than looking online you get to see the art for real. I caught up with Rebecca Crow the curator for the gallery to find out a bit more about this project.
Rebecca talked about the exhibitions and how it is helping the gallery to promote artists during a difficult time for culture and the arts.
“ART THROUGH GLASS is series of exhibitions conceived to make it possible for people to continue to enjoy and engage with art despite the difficulties imposed by Covid restrictions. We felt that whilst an online presence is obviously vital it will never be a stand in for the experience of standing in front of the real thing. The large display window onto the street in old Portsmouth serves as a great platform for art and a way for people to take their daily physical exercise and get their mental stimulation and art fix.
During the month long exhibitions we make a virtue of the limited space by challenging artists to creatively make best use of it and in some cases actually make new work to fit. The original artworks are displayed in the gallery window whilst simultaneously featuring online on all the usual social media platforms and on the gallery website. We can’t run the gallery in the normal way but we can continue to offer artists opportunities to exhibit and sell and give the local community and the wider online community the pleasure and stimulation of seeing art and learning the stories that go with it.
So far we have had what proved to be the hugely popular Art Advent Calendar display which showed the specially commissioned work of 25 local artists all measuring 25x25cm, all featuring somewhere the colour red, all priced £200 or less The next window exhibition featured the intriguingly beautiful landscape paintings of Art Space Portsmouth member Charlotte Brisland and currently on show is ‘Darkown Debris’ by illustrator Jonny Hannah which is a dazzling array of painted objects and nutty items of personalised memorabilia telling the stories of the inhabitants and heroes of the artist’s alternative reality that is Darktown.
Jonny Hannah inhabits another world, where hipsters finger-pop and shady deals are made in end of pier tattoo parlours. Jonny's Dark Town invades his work, the visual equivalent of Tom Waits, or Graham Green's wonderful creation, Piggy. Jonny's fascination with faded Americana mirrors that of Lucinda Williams, whose sweet songs of sad girls, and echoes of Hank Williams and Guthrie's Dust Bowl Ballads all resonate with Jonny. Jonny too has dug deep into the unromantic corners of Englishness. Grimy parlours, fairground attractions, the strong man, the seafarer, all have been explored by Jonny in a myriad of prints, paintings, handmade books and painted objects. (Design for Today)
Jonny Hannah studied illustration at the Royal College of Art & has been a freelance illustrator since represented by agencies in London & New York. An obsessive fan of both popular & unpopular culture he has been fortunate enough to be commissioned to draw, paint, & collage his heroes resulting in a number of books as well as designing stamps for the Royal Mail. Anyone who inspires him will end up in an exhibition of one kind or another. Jonny is also a keen printmaker & runs the ‘Cakes & Ale Press’, a cottage industry publishing books, prints, posters, teatowels, badges & lovehearts.
We have decided that because of the uncertainty of the continuing Covid situation that we will for the time being continue with Art Through Glass at Jack House Gallery until May 2021.”
The Jonny Hannah exhibition is on at the Jack House Gallery in Old Portsmouth until the 31st March which will then make way for another glass exhibition. This is a lovely way to spend your walk and time allowed outside.