WHAT better way to spend a lovely May day than visiting two outstanding sculpture exhibitions right on your doorstep?
There will be an opportunity to see two exhibitions organised by West Berkshire & North Hampshire Open Studios, at Shaw House and Donnington Grove. The venues are very close to each other, and so would make a great double trip or can be viewed separately. Shaw House is a stunning Elizabethan manor house that saw action during the English Civil War. It is set in 15 hectares of grounds, including the Orangery, where the exhibition will be sited.The Orangery is a pretty vista, lined with six yew trees on one side and a listed brick wall on the other, in front of which is a seating area. A sweeping lawn leads from the house’s entrance to a wonderful oak tree at its far end. This will form the backdrop to an exhibition of 18 sculptures by 12 artists. Paul Harvey will show four of his art deco bird bronzes, Diccon Dadey’s panther will be on the prowl and Nick Speakman’s bumble bee will be on the buzz and two ceramic wigs by Diana Pattenden will be on show to reflect the King Charles connection.Visitors can view the sculptures in their own space and juxtaposed with others, and to see them in a context that is both complementary and contrasting.
The Donnington Grove site is altogether different. The sculpture exhibition here will take place in the Temple Gardens, a magnificent legacy from the former Japanese buddhist owners.
The garden is dominated by a beautiful temple with a roof based on that of the golden temple in Kyoto, rising
majestically at the back of the garden and surveying the grassed area where Michael Fairfax will be displaying his remarkable wooden sound sculptures. Further down are two ponds, each bejewelled with a rockery, where Diana Barraclough will locate her exciting ceramic totem poles. To the left of this is a short avenue of trees leading up to Johannes von Stumm’s Contemplation. This beautiful Buddha uses negative space within the piece to create light and transparency.To the left are a lawn and shrubbery leading up to two Japanese-style cabins which are part of the Donnington Grove Hotel accommodation. There, ceramicist Lone Hudson will be using the garden’s ample foliage for a backdrop to her impressively-sized vessels. Throughout the space, Martin Eastabrook will have planted clumps of ceramic flowers, and Diana Pattenden will have scattered a fascinating collection of ceramic fish, bees and plants. The whole venue is walled, giving an intimacy to the garden and providing excellent opportunities for each artist to exploit individual areas and show their work to maximum effect. Among the other contributing artists are Marie Ackers, Hilary Arnold-Baker, Jane Canon, Colin Underhay and Gavin Wilkinson.
Both exhibitions can be visited between Saturday, April 29, and Tuesday, May 30. Opening times for Shaw House: 11am-4pm, and Donnington Grove: 9am-5pm. Entry is free and all pieces are for
Most exhibitors are members of the Open Studios scheme and many can
also be visited at their own studios in the local area during May. Visit www.open-studios.org.uk