AMA Annual Exhibition
“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”
AMA Pop-up Exhibition 17-18 September, Althorpe Studios
The first thing to say about this exhibition is that it looked good, and that a great time was had by all. Twenty-two artists took part; around a hundred visitors came and viewed (and some even bought). Tammy Woodrow worked her usual magic with curation, ably assisted by Katharine; and the icing on the cake was a charming young violinist, Richard Scott, who serenaded us for the whole of Saturday afternoon, which was far longer than we were paying him for. Sheila Graham and husband Alan joined him on drum and tabor – metaphorically speaking, since Alan was playing a Low “D” whistle and Sheila the Irish Bodhran drum – in an impromptu jamming session. It was joyous.
Works on display ran across the whole of the AMA’s creative talents, from Tammy’s conceptual sculptures, through ceramics both functional and sculptural, to prints and paintings that ranged from the traditional to the abstract, touching on most points in-between. There were show-stoppers such as Elizabeth Marsh’s, “A Good Day Out at Packwood” and Brian Kelly’s highly textured landscapes, through to quiet works that invited close examination, such as Victoria Smith’s finely-crafted paper collages, Fiona Metcalfe’s multi-media textiles, and printmaker Moira Lamont’s ‘Red Socks’. People-watching was fascinating: it was clear that the exhibition held something for everyone.
This exhibition was also special. Despite their busy schedules, Leamington’s MP, Chris White, Leamington’s mayor, Ann Morrison, and District Councillor Kristie Naimo, all accepted invitations to choose prize winners from the works on show. They did this with enormous grace, and the Association is hugely grateful to them. For each, it was clear that they were making a personal choice, and that they engaged fully with the exhibition and the works on show. A fourth prize was a bit of fun. This was a ‘People’s Choice’ with the prize being a voucher donated by Chrome Yellow, Leamington’s enterprising artshop. The ballot was secret, and it was, apparently, a close contest. Heather Bailey was the deserved and popular winner for her highly textured and sunny landscape,”Tracks”. The other prize winners were Philippa Powell’s quasi impressionist “Allotments”, chosen by Chris White MP; Margaret Condon’s etching, ‘Where the Bee Sucks’, chosen by Cllr. Kristie Naimo; and Katharine Barker’s two part ceramic, terra-cotta with a pewter glaze, chosen by Mayor Ann Morrison. Until Sheila Graham opened the presentation envelope at the prize-giving ceremony, Katharine had absolutely no idea that her work had been selected! The Sunday closed with a group photograph taken by a photographer from the Four Shires magazine. There’s no guarantee of an article in our own right – but look out for a mention of the AMA in a piece about a day in the life of our MP, Chris White.
We should also thank Jonathan and Suminder, proprietors of Althorpe Studios, for allowing us the use of their Gallery at a reduced rate, and for helping us to manage the event so smoothly.