Alternative Visions Alternative Visions

were added giving new narratives to the painting that are rooted in experiences of mental ill health. George J Harding. Bristol. Max Frances. Gloucestershire. Hidden. 18 x 36cm. Mixed media. Pink rain and pain. 36 x 58cm ... college and university which sadly I have had to give up before I could complete due to having ...
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Alternative Alternative Visions Visions

Undiscovered Art Undiscovered in the South Art West in the South West

I am an artist made of wire, string and the bones of someone else I used to be. For me, creativity is as necessary as respiration. Max Frances

Introduction

‘Alternative Visions: Undiscovered Art in the South West’ is a remarkable and celebratory exhibition bringing to light new work by 20 artists from across the region. The exhibition provides a unique insight into a wider body of artists whose voices are currently underrepresented in contemporary art galleries, and highlights their motivations for creating art. Alternative Visions was developed by Arts & Health South West*, Outside In** and Bristol Culture, in partnership with Falmouth Art Gallery, The Wilson in Cheltenham, Poole Museum and Bristol-based Artists First. To encourage participation in ‘Alternative Visions’, Outside In organised a series of 9 Artist Support Days across the South West at which artists were able to photograph their work, write artist statements and make their submissions for the exhibition. Through the open call out and Artist Support Days 310 submissions were received, from which 20 works were selected for the exhibition.

Alternative Visions

There are many undiscovered artists in our local communities. These individuals are driven to produce art for a wider range of reasons, and for different purposes, than many mainstream contemporary artists. They can find themselves facing extra barriers to the mainstream art world due to factors such as health, disability and social circumstance. What is striking about these artists is the self-belief and determination which has led them to develop remarkable art in sometimes difficult circumstances. The works in this exhibition are diverse in content and style; ranging from the highly personal through to the political, from landscapes to portraits, and from paintings to sculptures. The artists’ integrity is clear to see. Making art can be a direct and powerful form of communication. It is an accessible means of articulating thoughts and feelings which bypasses verbal language and strikes straight to the heart and brain.

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The selectors for Alternative Visions were: Alex Coulter, Director of Arts & Health South West; Ruth Hecht, Senior Exhibitions and Events Officer, Bristol Culture; Andy Hood, 2007 Outside In Award Winner; and Georgina Bolton, Assistant Producer at Situations. We would like to thank the selectors, partners, support organisations and funders of the exhibition Arts Council England. Thanks are also due to Hannah Mumby from Arts & Health South West and Hannah Whitlock and Harry Scott from Outside In for their help coordinating the exhibition and also to Jennifer Gilbert, the former Outside In Manager. Their expertise and commitment has made this remarkable exhibition possible. We’d also like to thank Artists First, a Bristol based group of artists with Learning Disabilities, for contributing their audio responses to the work in the exhibition and Karen MacDonald from Bristol Culture for facilitating this. Above all, we thank all of the artists for sharing their inspirational ideas, creativity and stories.

*Arts & Health South West is an information, support and advocacy organisation for everyone who believes in the value of creativity in enhancing health and wellbeing. **Outside In is a charity which provides a platform for artists who see themselves as facing barriers to the art world due to health, disability, social circumstance or isolation. Its principle goal is to create a fairer art world which rejects traditional values and institutional judgements about whose work can and should be displayed. Outside In is funded by The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Roddick Foundation and The George and Ann Dannatt Trust.

Artists The following statements have been written by the artists, with no additional editing

Alex C