Art at CircleReading hospital raises funds for the Alexander Devine Children's Hospice Service
PUBLISHED: 10:04 27 October 2014 | UPDATED: 10:04 27 October 2014
We all hope to feel better after a visit to the doctor. But sometimes what you see in hospital, rather than who, lifts the spirits, Sue Bromley finds
When we walk round a gallery it is the art we focus on. The content, style, what the artist is seeking to convey through direct message or nuances. But the backdrop to all this, the gallery itself and how the work is displayed, can make a huge difference to our perception and enjoyment.
So it’s easy to imagine the delight of local artists when they first see the expansive white walls, natural light and ambience of the Art Scope Gallery in the atrium of CircleReading hospital. Here is an opportunity for their pieces to be displayed – and so enjoyed – in an ideal setting.
Staff, patients, their visitors and those who simply want to see the 100 or so works on show can share in the pleasure – and know that should a piece capture their eye to the extent that they wish to buy it profits from the gallery go to a good cause.
Having raised £7,750 in a year, the gallery is now supporting the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service, a charity that is raising funds to build the first and only children’s hospice in the whole of Berkshire.
The gallery is managed by Rukshi Brownlow, a doctor who has returned to her first love, art. She says: “A hospital sounds like a strange place to visit when you are not ill. But everything about the gallery looks and feels like a 5 star hotel. There are canvases adorning the walls and sculptures scattered though the entire space. It is a beautiful place to visit, especially if you are an art lover. If you fall in love with a piece of work and buy it, then you know that any profits from that sale will go to this very worthy cause.”
Rukshi says she was surprised to discover there was no children’s hospice in the county: “I don’t think people realise this, it certainly came as a shock to me that this essential service did not exist in Berkshire and that all the money required to fund it would have to come from charitable donations.”
“The Art Scope Gallery is a not for profit organisation and all profits go to the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service. We also auction art for them and hold special fundraising events. So far we have raised £3,800 since December last year. This sounds like a respectable amount, but it is even less than a drop in the ocean of the £5 million needed to build this hospice. They will need even more to run it afterwards. But every little bit helps. We hope the gallery has the potential to raise money on a sustainable level in the long term, that is certainly what we would like to do.”
An artist’s view - Sarah Pye describes her challenge
The gallery is a wonderfully colourful splash in what one usually considers to be a sterile environment. How excited I was, to be shown around the Circle atrium. A stunning contemporary space, full of strong, uplifting paintings and sculptures!
I have exhibited with Art Scope for the last year and been lucky enough to be part of their art events, which help raise funds for the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice service, as well as giving their artists a chance to show and sell their work.
Being part of these ventures is fun and at times challenging. For the new show I’ve been asked to paint a piece three metres in length. I was certainly challenged, which for an artist is always a good thing as it stretches and encourages you to explore new possibilities.
The sheer size of this piece meant re-arranging my studio so the three 1canvases could be laid out together as one 3m piece. Rearranging my brain around a composition three times the size of my usual one, was something else altogether!
I decided that it would not be possible to paint a whole woodland view with detail as it would look twee and fiddly. So I chose a more design orientated piece, still in my style but more shape, light, and colour in a strong bold composition. This was to be merely representational of bluebell woods, allowing you to fill in your own story when looking at it. I hope it represents spring, life, and new beginnings. How appropriate, that it should be hung in a hospital.
Two mad photographers’ Labour of Love - Both Shane Gunning and Terry Tucker plan for months to take the perfect photograph. In their own words….
‘Angelic Embrace’ was shot on the spring equinox and I drove 350 miles from the Isle of Skye because the weather forecast said ‘clear’ at Gateshead (about the only place in the UK that was clear). You need absolutely clear skies, so when the Met Office says clear you have to make a dash to get there.
You have to know where and when the moon is going to rise and set, what time it passes the meridian, how high it’s going to get and what phase it is.
When I’m ready and have checked everything several times, I set the camera rolling, set my timer and wait. After an hour I start to lose contact with my toes. After two hours I start to feel really cold and after 3 hours I begin to wonder if this is all such a good idea as my teeth try to shake themselves from their gums. But prior to the teeth-shaking I usually lie on the ground and look up at the stars and say ‘thank you’ for being alive.
The Angel photo took only two hours starting at about 2:15am, but I arrived about 6pm and didn’t finish until about 5am next morning. Was I alone? Do you know anyone who would be crazy enough to join me!
Luck? I got lucky in that no clouds passed over during the exposure and humidity stayed below 90%. So on this occasion it was all good. Other times I’m not so lucky. But am I complaining? Certainly not!
My Secret Beaches are images taken off the beaten track. All are fairly inaccessible, not places the average holidaymaker would seek out. In fact some of them would be potentially dangerous to take a family to. All are wild and seem untouched by the modern world. I visit many by kayak, and then work out how to return with a backpack of photographic gear.
Fossil Beach: This place near Bridport in Dorset, under Thorncombe Beacon, is dangerous after heavy rain particularly in winter. Clay and rocks slump onto the beach, sometimes making it disappear altogether. These slumps present opportunities for fossil hunters scavenging along a very narrow strip of coast line largely made up of boulders the size of cars with only the occasion small area of shingle.
Ogmore Heritage Coast Beach: This beach only exists for a short spell on the low part of a spring tide. Walking into this magical place of flat sand, huge caves and castle like cliffs made out of massive limestone blocks suddenly reveals a timeless quality not apparent on the assault course to get there.
About Art Scope
The gallery is open at weekends.
Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 6 pm. Car parking is free and adjacent to the hospital at 100 Drake Way, RG2 0NE. See www.artscopegallery.co.uk.