Friday, 28 June 2013

Widdershins

WALKING WIDDERSHINS (counter-clockwise) was, in days of yore, a well known way to enter the realm of myth and enchantment, the Land Under The Hill, the otherworld of faery...


On Summer Solstice Friday, an in-between sort of evening, Green Hill Arts Gallery in Moretonhampstead, Devon opened its doors to the good folk of these hills and beyond for Widdershins - an exhibition of Moorland Mythic Art; and inside, those folk found the walls were hung with green tendrils of magic which reached out from the frames, snaked into people's eyes and took root in their souls.


detail of work by Alan Lee

I have been ensconced for weeks in preparations for this exhibition, creating new work, framing and counting and planning, and so have many of the other artists involved in this wonderful show, not to mention the amazing curator - Carol Harvey - and the other gallery staff and volunteers who have put together a really stunning array of otherworldly fairytale art of high renown, in this lovely little community-run arts centre in Moretonhampstead's old school building.

detail of work by Alan Lee

The ten artists taking part all make work that takes the participant across that gossamer-thin boundary between the worlds, shimmering at the corner of your eye, though our styles are all very different. The thoughtful arrangement of painting and sculpture, large and small, bright and muted, really held a beautiful balance, and the opening night was a great success.

photo by © Catherine Back,used with kind permission
detail of work by Alan Lee
photo by © Catherine Back,used with kind permission
detail of work by Alan Lee
photo by © Catherine Back, used with kind permission
detail of work by Paul Kidby
photo by © Catherine Back, used with kind permission
The gallery was packed with enchanted people, and I escaped the overwhelm by playing music outside with my band Krasa next to the drinks tent, where crowds spilled when the gallery got too hot! Brian Froud said a few words about how as artists of the faery realm we were making manifest the spirit of this land we love so.

photo by © Catherine Back,used with kind permission
work by Rima Staines
detail of work by Rima Staines
detail of work by Virginia Lee

photo by © Catherine Back,used with kind permission
detail of work by David Wyatt
photo by © Catherine Back,used with kind permission
detail of work by Wendy Froud
detail of work by Hazel Brown
detail of work by Alan Lee
detail of work by David Wyatt
I succeeded in taking absolutely no photographs on the evening, so those of the private view shown here are by Catherine Back who was kind enough to let me use them. You can see more of her photographs of the evening here. Such was my wide-eyed tiredness on the opening evening, having just finished a very detailed painting by the very last minute (it was still wet when delivered, in time-honoured Rima-fashion!), not to mention elation at sharing gallery space with such amazing artists, I had to sneak back on a quieter day to take some photos of the actual artwork on the walls, which I show here for those too far away to visit. If there's any way you can make it down to Devon over the summer, I recommend this exhibition highly - there's some exquisite original works by Brian Froud and Alan Lee amongst the many many other delights. 

detail of work by Virginia Lee
detail of work by Rima Staines
detail of work by Wendy Froud
detail of work by Terri Windling
detail of work by Virgina Lee - photo by © Catherine Back,used with kind permission

On the walls were quotes written in Terri Windling's lovely hand, which conjured stories and reminded us of why we need them so. It completed the exhibition for me, as these works all call out for words to accompany them.

detail of work by Rima Staines
detail of work by Wendy Froud
detail of work by Rima Staines
My newest work, which is painted on a piece of burr oak, is called Weed Wife. I'll tell more of its creation and magic soon, but for now I'll show you a picture. I was moved and delighted to hear that it caused a good few people to shed tears, though it is hard for me to know why...


I also finally got a beautiful frame made for The Alchemist. Instead of cursing the busy days and the time passing without my having made the frame for it that I intended, I realised that I could send my design to my wonderful framer, David Winter! And returned to me in the post was a true work of art - a rustic icon-container with doors - that sets the work off like never before. Thank you, Dave!


Of all my Widdershins compadres' work, I was most wowed by a new painting of Virgina Lee's - In the Heart the Woodland Wakes:


An incredibly, bafflingly detailed and beautiful work in water-based oils and scratching; a forest alive! What talented neighbours I have!

detail of work by Virginia Lee
Truly this is the most exciting and wonder-filled exhibition I have ever taken part in, and it just amazes me that almost all of us live within a few leagues of each other amid these mossy moorland oaks and granite tors. There is a plethora of interesting and magical events that Green Hill Arts are putting on in conjunction with this exhibition, including Tom and I telling the Lithuanian folk tale - The Sun Princess and the Fortieth Door on August the 3rd around a fire under the stars if weather permits. Do come and join us in dancing widdershins for a while for any or all of these conjurings: who knows where you might find (or lose) yourself...

detail of work by Alan Lee

43 comments:

Charlotte said...

Once upon a time, through the door into Widdershins, a group of alchemists, magicians and sorcerers wove their magic spells. Wonderful.

John Barleycorn Must Die said...

Fantastic post, Rima. Just like being there!

Els said...

THANKS Rima !!!

I think all of us, who aren't able to visit this wonderful exhibition in person, are sooooo glad you gave us this amazing visiting tour in the gallery ;-))
(I will probably visit and look a lot of times !)

Betty the Wood Fairy said...

What a spectacular exhibition - what is so interesting is that although all the artists have their own distinct mark, you also all have a distinct 'otherness' that links your work, a bit like people in the same family, different but related! I love all your work but am really excited to see work from artists that are new to me. Betty

HecateDemeter said...

Rima, Is there a catalogue or an online store?

Barbara said...

Dear one,
Who did the painting in the seventh photo, on the right side of the wall of a woman?
Do you have another shot of it?
Thanks ever so much,
Barbara

Linda said...

Just amazing...I love your new painting...it is very moving...the title is apt...especially if you love weeds ;) Thanks for sharing...

Limner said...

Oh, but if I were wealthy! I'd buy everything! And I would give presents every single day.

Tiffany Davidson said...

Rima,

That Weed Wife is something else
x

by Teresa said...

All I can say is.. wow. I sure wish I could visit that show. Teresa.. from Oregon.. USA.

Oya's Daughter said...

Oh my stars! All of my favourite artists in one exhibit - I wish I could drive (working on it now) as I'd love to see this. Very well done and beautiful stuff - thanks so much for sharing the images of everyone's work, it's a feast!

Heather said...

I am stunned by Widdershins and have only seen it on my laptop! What an experience to actually visit the gallery and see all these amazing pieces of art face to face. I'm sure the public will flock to see it for themselves and wish you all the greatest success with it.

Ronnie (RR) said...

Such a wonderfully magikal exhibition, it all looks so beautiful, all the artists including your fantastic work. I wish I could walk through the gallery and just ponder at the fantasy world. Heaven.

earthenmagic said...

...awesome!...(O:

Mo Crow said...

oh my, what a great exhibition & your Weed Wife is a very special piece indeed, thank you for sharing Rima!

saskia said...

a fantastic display of WonderFul art;
I for one am wowed by your work Rima, the details, the world you imagine and are able to portray is absolutely breathtaking; the earth woman on the slice of tree: perfect!

L-A said...

Wow what a fantastic collection of work!! Makes my heart sing, and my mind tick!

spiritbear said...

Hello,
I always eagerly await your posts. This one is truley gorgeous!!!!!!
You give me such inspiration.Your work touches deep into the soul.

Suz said...

I am stunned by the beauty
How I wish I could have one of these magical pieces of art...or see them in person...thank you for sharing
I had no idea such things existed
wow oh wow
I am a wee believer in them all

Nao Sims said...

Seeing a group of Artists such as yourselves, gathering and sharing work in this way, is a hopeful thing for this good earth. Beautiful. And, The Alchemist, oh my stars, she sings in that new frame, she sings like never before, and I did not think it possible for her to get any better. Summery Blessings to you and yours.

mamãju said...

What an amazing exhibition...!!! Thank you for sharing it! I am grateful to be able to see bits of it. Filling my eyes and soul of creativity and beauty, magic and mith...

Lunaea Weatherstone said...

Beautiful and inspiring, as always. Thank you so much for sharing your world with us, Rima.

Sylvia said...

wondrous Rima, your Weed Wife is such a splendid piece. I think I'd be moved to tears if I were right in front of her too! & how I wish I could come stroll this exhibit... totally inspiring, thank you! xxx, Sylvia

amy bogard said...

Delicious, Rima. As always. Thank you!!

gz said...

An exhilarating evening to start a fascinating exhibition- wish it was a little nearer to us!

Griffin said...

Interesting that at least three of those Alan Lee pieces look as if Arthur Rackham could have done them. So now I know why I like both men's work!

I do like the Weed Wife too, she's about life regardless.

A mermaid in the attic said...

Utterly, heartbreakingly beautiful. Oh how I wish I could visit to see this, it would be worth the trip to the UK just to be able to immerse myself in the entire 'Widdershins experience'...storytelling and music and artist talks (I've already visited Greenhill's website and drooled over it!), as well as the marvellous, marvellous artwork. Please, please tell me there WILL be a catalogue that we wretched ones who can't visit can buy?!

Or perhaps if I dance clockwise (which would be widdershins down under) I may open a portal into Greenhill gallery!

Ottilias Veranda said...

Wonderful exhibition! Wish I was there! Found my way back to your blog...long time no see.....
//Eva-Liisa

Ottilias Veranda said...

Hi Rima,
Wonderful exhibition! Wish I could be there! Found my way back to your blog...after a long time...
//Eva-Liisa

Mervi said...

I love your art. And I love Wendy froud's works, her world is so awesome! The Dark crystal was one of my favorite movie, when i was kid <3

Angela Bell said...

I think this looks wonderful and I will try to get away from Truro for a day out at Moretonhamsted!

Teleri said...

Brian looks like a proper Hobbit professor in the pictures. Did he wear shoes that day?

And oh, I'd so love to be there right now. Which reminds me of my plan to visit you guys one day. You don't really need another wool-spinning, yarn-dying linguist in your town, do you? ;)

acornmoon said...

What an enchanting collection. I would love to have a closer look, especially at those little books!

Jenny said...

Once I dreamed of being an artist, my childhood self inspired by the PRB, the Frouds. Now I am an artist, I have met Terri, Brian, Wendy.... And the magic grows. Now I dream of traveling to this Mecca of magic in Devon to breathe the air that nourishes this greatness. Congratulations Rima on a wonderful opening, and a magical tribe.

Rima Staines said...

Thanks to all of you for your lovely words here, it is a special exhibition indeed :)
And for those who asked about a catalogue - no, alas, there isn't one - this is a small rural volunteer-run gallery without funds for such things. I wish one were being produced tho, what a great thing that would be :)

Rima Staines said...

Oh, and Barbara - I think you mean the painting by Brian Froud - with her hands on her chest? It's called Guinevere :)

Mokihana Calizar said...

How beautiful, the wild portrayed. Your Wood Wife, so familiar. Inspiring and nourishing. The words of Terri Windling such perfect complement to it all. How lucky remains Devon, and we who see them here. Many mahalo Rima.

Sarah Pogue said...

I loved seeing this post with art from some of my favorite artists! All your photos are the next best thing to being there. Congratulations on a magical show!

Hita Hirons said...

How wonderful to see so many of your works together and what a joy to see your newest piece, 'Weed Wife", in all her glory. I was very touched by her sweetness and vulnerability as well as her beauty. I also like your new frame for 'The Alchemist' very much. You look great in all those photos, Rima, and full of energy, although you must have been completely worn out; keep up the good work!

Naviana said...

Wow, that must be the most awesome exchibition ever!! <3 I would SO love to be there.

kivioq said...

Rima, this is a breathtaking exhibition. Will you be selling prints of weed wife? I have an herbalist friend who would love her.

Anonymous said...

HI RIMA I WENT CAMPING FOR FIRST TIME IN 10 YEARS SO I COULD SEE WIDDERSHINS EXHIBITION.WELL WORTH THE VISIT AS HAVENT SEEN YOUR WORK BEFORE.VERY IMPRESSED .ALSO A FEW OTHERS NOT FAMILIAR WITH NEIL CAVE AND RUTH HOOK FROM SUSSEX CARDS AND GOBLIN MODELS BEST SHOW I HAVE BEEN TO SINCE TULLIE HOUSE SHOW IN CARLISLE AFEW YEARS AGO .LOOK FOR TO SEEING YOUR WORK IN FUTURE.A FAN

jay-of-lasgalen said...

I was very lucky to be able to see the exhibition, but seeing the picture of your band made me wonder - were you playing in Newton Abbot town centre a few weeks ago?