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Announcing our annual Fair Ground exhibition

Glyndebourne announces the return of its annual Fair Ground exhibition, showcasing contemporary works by Sussex artists.

Glyndebourne announces the return of its annual Fair Ground exhibition, showcasing contemporary works by Sussex artists.

Glyndebourne has announced the return of its annual autumn exhibition of Sussex-based artists, Fair Ground. The exhibition opens on 11 November to coincide with the start of six weeks of opera, concerts, recitals and masterclasses taking place as part of the opera house’s autumn season.

Featuring a diverse array of artworks by 23 contemporary artists from across Sussex, Fair Ground will be available to view to ticket holders for autumn events at Glyndebourne, by appointment and online. Among the artworks on display will be bold and vibrant paintings, expressive drawings and textile works.

The title Fair Ground is an homage to Rudyard Kipling’s renowned 1902 poem, Sussex. Originally launched as an online exhibition in 2020, the concept emerged in response to the challenging circumstances faced by artists during the COVID-19 pandemic and it stands as a steadfast supporter of artists at all stages of their careers.

The visual arts have been an integral part of the Glyndebourne experience since the inception of its annual summer opera festival in 1934. It now regularly curates exhibitions of contemporary art and sculpture, as well as material from Glyndebourne’s extensive collections.

Nerissa Taysom, curator of exhibitions and collections at Glyndebourne, said: ‘Sussex has been a hotbed of creativity for generations inspiring artists, poets, composers and designers. In the year that the Turner Prize comes to Sussex, putting a spotlight on contemporary art in the region, we are pleased that Fair Ground will showcase the very best of current practice, with work by recent graduates alongside those established in the UK art scene. Representing a breadth of techniques from painting and drawing to textile works, collage and printmaking, we hope each work encourages new ways of seeing, thinking and understanding this special place.’

This year’s Fair Ground exhibition features a mix of returning and debuting talents from the vibrant Sussex art scene. The artists featured include Faye Bridgwater, whose 2021 solo Glyndebourne exhibition, Ritual and Repetitions, sold out within 24 hours. Tom Scotcher, who trained at the Royal Drawing School before working as a scenic painter and set designer, will make his Glyndebourne debut with a series of beguiling and immersive landscape paintings of Sussex. Nancy Martin will also exhibit at Glyndebourne for the first time. A graduate of the University of Brighton’s prestigious BA Fine Art Painting, Martin’s gestural works transform fleeting moments into theatrical freeze frames of intrigue and otherness. Notable St. Leonard’s artist Joe Packer, the recipient of the Contemporary British Painting prize in 2018, will present some of his jewel-like collage works, exploring the hinterlands between abstraction and figuration. Meanwhile, the paintings of Janie Longmore – whose work was selected for the RA’s Summer Show this year – explore the humble and domestic in her still-life book stacks inspired by writers and poets from Sussex.

Other exhibiting artists include Dawn Aldridge, Julie Annis, Julian Brown, Joseph Dilnot, Linda Felcey, The Baron Gilvan, Chris Hagan, Fergus Hare, Victoria Homewood, Gabriel Langlands, Jason Munro, Dion Salvador Lloyd, Jayne Sandys Renton, Kate Sherman, Agnes Treherne, Thomas Treherne and Brighton based collective, twofolde.

In addition to Fair Ground, an exhibition spotlighting the works of Glyndebourne’s 2023 Teaching Artists will be on display in the Archive Gallery. Each summer, Glyndebourne collaborates with the University of Brighton to provide a residency for select students from the PGCE Art & Design course. Now in its seventh year, this programme gives the students exclusive access to Glyndebourne—its performances, grounds, staff, and rehearsal rooms—and they are encouraged to create artistic responses to the aspects of Glyndebourne that inspire them most. The residency offers students the freedom to express themselves as artists, free from the pressures of output expectations while enabling them to carry the knowledge and confidence gained into their teaching careers.

This year’s Teaching Artists include Ash Stewart, Mair Elen Park, and Tessa Moldan, whose painting At the Water’s Edge has been selected to grace the cover of the programme book for Glyndebourne’s autumn season and will be exhibited in Fair Ground.

Both Fair Ground and the Teaching Artists exhibition will be available to view at Glyndebourne from 11 November to 17 December for ticket holders for Glyndebourne’s autumn events and by appointment. Prices start at £250.00.

Image credit: Tessa Moldan, At the Water’s Edge, 2023, acrylic on board, photograph by Graham Carlow

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