West Sussex has been an inspiration for generations of artists, and there are many venues where you can see local and famous artworks on display. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the exhibitions happening in the county in May.
The West Sussex Art Society Annual Show takes place at Colonnade House in Worthing. This year, Society members from across the county will be presenting a selection of their artwork between Tuesday 3rd and Sunday 8th of May. Opening hours are from 10am to 5pm, except Sunday when the show will close at 4pm. The artists of West Sussex will display their diverse range of artistic activities, including original artwork and photographs. You’ll also find free-standing sculpture and ceramics amongst the varied creative offerings and prints.
Each day a different artist will be stewarding the show, so you can meet and talk to them about their work. The Society was founded in 1929 as the “Sketch Club”, and currently has about 60 members. These include amateur, professional and semi-professional artists involved in a wide range of creative work, including both traditional landscapes and more conceptual abstracts.
Featured artists this year include Diane Bailey, who specialises in painting wildlife, amongst other subjects, and has been recognised by the BBC as a Wildlife Artist of the Year. Steve Gallagher is a graphic designer and expert photographer specialising in sea and landscapes, and Desna Willcox is a talented painter in oils, acrylic and especially watercolours. Also featured is a Worthing Portrait Artist of the Year runner-up, Richard Fisher, who is a self-taught landscape and portrait artist. For more examples from the many featured artists in the show, check out the West Sussex Art Society website here.
Worthing Museum and Art Gallery has two exhibitions running in May. Until the 19th of June, you can see artefacts from a variety of the museum’s special collections, including Costume, Fine Art and Social History. ‘A Trip to Worthing – Downs, Town & Sea’ is a special presentation of Worthing’s history as a seaside resort, based on its pleasant situation – between the sea and the Downs. You may also be interested in the second exhibition, ‘Our Toy Story’, which displays a selection of historical and modern toys. It also runs until 19th June, and should be fun for adults and children alike.
Later in May you can take a trip to Goodwood and visit the Sussex Art Fair. This takes place at Goodwood Racecourse at 5pm on the 13th of May for the preview, with general public viewing over the weekend of 14th-15th May. Saturday opening hours are from 11am to 6pm and on Sunday from 11am to 5pm. There’ll be 90 exhibitors at the Fair, exhibiting thousands of artworks and prints that you can purchase and have framed. The Sussex Art Fair is held in collaboration with the conservation charity, Sussex Wildlife Trust. For only £50, you can purchase some of the original artworks that the exhibitors have kindly donated, and support this important local charity.
The Horsham Museum & Art Gallery is showing an exhibition of Eleanor Coate’s botanical photographs. Titled ‘A Botanical Celebration: A Photographer’s Perspective‘, the exhibition is running until 18th June, from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm. Eleanor Coate is a photographic artist whose work is redolent of botanical illustration. Like the historical illustrators who drew plants scientifically so they could be accurately identified, Eleanor displays different aspects of various plants as they go through each phase of their life. She has been awarded a Gold Medal by the Royal Horticultural Society in recognition of her work.
Horsham Museum & Art Gallery also offers a number of standing collections, including art, photography, local archives and historical posters.
Running from April to mid-August, the Newlands House Gallery in Petworth presents its exhibition titled ‘Frank Auerbach: Unseen‘.This collection of 65+ works includes paintings, etchings and drawings that explore a contemporary painter’s evolution from the 1950s to the present. As well as reflecting on the artist’s influences and relationships, you’ll see a collection of Auerbach’s works on loan from the Tate, the National Gallery and the Fitzwilliam Museum.
This intimate insight into Auerbach and his resonant figurative works includes portraits of such close friends as Lucian Freud, Estella Olive West and Leon Kossoff. The Old Masters’ influence on him is reflected in a collection of commissioned oil paintings. These include Bacchus and Ariadne, after Titian, and a portrait of the French poet Rimbaud in the Cornaro Chapel.
You can find more Auerbach works on permanent display at the Pallant House Gallery, Chichester.
Starting on May 14th and running until October at the Pallant House Gallery, there’s an exhibition of the works of British artist Glyn Philpot R.A. (1884-1937). Originally an Edwardian society portraitist, Philpot rejected many of the conventions of the time in favour of a radically modernist style. On display are 80+ drawings, paintings and sculptures, including studies of well-known contemporaries as well as black, gay and religious subjects. The exhibition explores the relationship of Philpot’s work to tropes of representation and identity in modern art.
While visiting the Pallant, you could also take the opportunity to drop in on the exhibition ‘Undercover, the Art of the Bookjacket‘, running from April until mid-July, as well as many other permanent displays.
The Oxmarket Centre of Arts in Chichester has two featured exhibitions running from 26th April to 22nd May.
In the John Rank Gallery, you’ll find ‘Coming Up For Air‘, a solo exhibition of contemporary paintings by British artist Angelina Davis. Davis works in a variety of media, including watercolours, paper, cardboard and 3D objects. She is a member of an artists’ collective called Birmingham Artspace, and has been nominated and awarded several artistic accolades, including the Outstanding Water Colour Prize in 2021.
In the Wilson Gallery, you can see a memorial exhibition for the reclusive Chichester artist Anthony Guy. During his lifetime, none of his work was ever sold, exhibited or shared, so this exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see his unusual paintings, drawings and ceramics.
And finally, if you have any paintings, prints or interesting 3D objects you’d like to frame, do give us a call at Lasermark – we’ll be more than happy to help.