Winter gallery round-up


From two of the biggest names in the visual arts to tiny arts centres, there is plenty of colour and excitement in local galleries over the next few months

A vessel by Adam Buick, in a dramatic setting – see his work at Messums West in Tisbury

Hauser & Wirth
At Durslade Farm, Bruton, is the Somerset location of one of the world’s biggest gallery groups, with galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Zurich, St Moritz, Gstaad, London, France, Spain, Monaco and Hong Kong. A family business with a global outlook, Hauser & Wirth was founded in 1992 in Zurich by Iwan Wirth, Manuela Wirth and Ursula Hauser. The firm represents more than 90 artists and estates.
As well as the gallery, showing world class exhibitions, there is a famous garden designed by Piet Oudolf, restaurant, farm shop and programme of events, talks and more.
The late winter and early spring programme begins with Present Tense, on until 28th April, spotlighting the next generation of artists living and working in the UK, from emerging to mid-career. Celebrating the breadth of creative talent and socially-engaged practices, the exhibition features work by 23 contemporary artists who are testing the boundaries of their mediums to address and confront notions of identity, consciousness, humanity and representation. Through their individual lens, each artist is responding to the cultural climate of the UK right now, depicting a range of lived experiences that coexist and connect within the rich fabric of the same location.

Let The Land Speak, by Ania Hobson, can be seen in Present Tense at Hauser & Wirth

Messums West
The rural wing of top London gallery Messums is hosted by the Tisbury tithe barn – one of the great architectural wonders of the south west and the country’s largest thatched building. The regular programme includes outstanding contemporary dance, exhibitions, workshops and talks.
Look out for the Messums Ceramics season, featuring Of The Earth – a group exhibition with thoughts and actions around making in clay. It runs from 2nd March to 29th April, and features artists Claudia Barreira, Charly Blackburn, Adam Buick (pictured opposite), Halima Cassell, William Cobbing, Bouke De Vries, Sara Howard and Nina Salsotto Cassina. Of The Earth reflects Messums’ special interest in active environmentalism. It explores the connections of raw clay and fired ceramic with the earth, the body and time, while considering what making means in relation to the environment. The raw material of clay is abundant and richly varied across the globe.

Some of the old stone buildings at Guggleton Farm Arts

Archaeology has revealed clay being formed into figurines, vessels and architecture as far back as 30,000 years ago. It has and continues to play a crucial role within the ceremonies and routines of our birth, life and death cycles – but the ceramic medium enacts a heavy toll on the earth, artistically and industrially, from mining clay and glaze elements to energy-consuming kiln firings.
Running over the same period, Contem’plate presents a historical narrative around the development of the plate from decorated functional objects to canvases for contemplation. There will also be a Ceramics Symposium on Saturday 6th April, bringing together artists and experts in ceramics to discuss their artistic practice and to talk about the ecological and environmental aspects of ceramics practices.

Empire of Light by Finn Campbell, in Dreamscapes at Sladers Yard, West Bay.

Shaftesbury Arts Centre
The gallery at the arts centre in the old covered market in Bell Street has a programme of regularly changing exhibitions, often with leading local artists and makers. Look out for the Spring Open (formerly Snowdrops in Art), from 7th to 24th February. From 6th to 19th March, photographer Justin Orwin has a joint exhibition with Mary Tambini, who shows the development of her art, from large paintings of swimmers from 25 years ago to prints, collages and 3D work. She has taught art and ceramics for many years.

Robin Rae’s Portland Bill Lighthouse in Dreamscapes at Sladers Yard, West Bay

The Gugg
Guggleton Gallery, now known as Guggleton Farm Arts (and affectionately as The Gugg), at Stalbridge, is a combination of gallery and workshops, in old farm buildings. There is a regularly changing programme of exhibitions as well as talks and workshops. Currently having a winter break, The Gugg has live music and a host of activities, including classes and workshops on everything from bonsai and bag-making to wet felting and wreath making. There are also Coffee Companions mornings, Knit and Natter sessions and a Men’s Shed club.

Barry Flanagan’s Large Left-Handed Drummer at the NewArtCentre at Roche Court Sculpture Park

Sladers Yard
Housed in a Georgian rope warehouse in West Bay, Sladers Yard is the base of the acclaimed furniture designer-maker Petter Southall, and shows work by many of the region’s leading artists, as well as major retrospectives. Gallery regulars include the sculptor and collagist Marzia Colonna, colourist Philip Sutton, ceramicists Adela Powell, Akiko Hirai and Yo Thom, and husband and wife painters Alex Lowry and Vanessa Gardiner.
The current show, running to 16th March, is Dreamscapes, an exhibition of surreal, strange, humorous and beautiful paintings by Finn Campbell-Notman (Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2023 – see image on page 69), Alfred Stockham, who spent seven years in the Royal Navy before becoming a full-time artist, and the late and much-missed Robin Rae, whose later landscapes have been compared with Edward Hopper’s paintings. There are also wood carvings by David West and Petter Southall’s furniture.

The Art Stable will be showing In The Beginning – early Brian Rice work from the 1950s

The Art Stable
Run by Kelly Ross in a former farm building at Gold Hill Organic Farm, Child Okeford, The Art Stable has an astonishing view of Hambledon Hill, and it’s no surprise that the huge chalk hill topped with an Iron Age fort, often features in work by gallery artists, such as Liz Somerville. Specialising in contemporary and 20th century British paintings, prints, and ceramics, The Art Stable has eight exhibitions a year of both established and emerging artists.
There are two spaces – one showing solo exhibitions and the other an ever-changing selection of pieces by gallery artists. The spring programme includes In The Beginning, early works from the 1950s by Brian Rice, from 10th February, to 9th March.

Don’t forget …
A little further afield, but always worth a visit (although it’s perhaps best enjoyed when the weather is a bit warmer and less stormy), the NewArtCentre at Roche Court Sculpture Park, near Winterslow just the other side of Salisbury, is one of the country’s top contemporary art venues. It has regular exhibitions, but the real attraction here is the astonishing collection of artwork in the grounds – Roche Court is one of the pioneers of British sculpture parks.
At any given time you may find works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Richard Long, Antony Gormley, Anthony Caro, Barry Flanagan … and more.
… and don’t forget the wonderful Elisabeth Frink exhibition at the Dorset Museum, which continues to April, and Georgia O’Keeffe drawings at Poole’s Lighthouse arts centre until 24th February.


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