Outside In: Bethlem – New Exhibition at the Bethlem Gallery

We have already blogged about the recently opened Outside In: London show at the CGP Gallery. In conjunction with this scheme, a new show at The Bethlem Gallery opens next week. The exhibition is a solo show, by artist Ronald, whose highly unusual style sheds an x-ray vision onto the world he sees. Whether Ronald is drawing animals, planes, boats or people he draws them from the inside out, incorporating usually unseen dimensions and often embellishing the images with written messages and symbolic meanings.

Ronald is 73 years old and was a resident of both Maudsley and Bethlem hospitals for approximately 2 years. He now lives in a low and medium secure unit in Berkshire. He began drawing when he arrived at Maudsley, honing his central motifs of planes and boats.

“I like to draw aeroplanes as they can fly with my drawings” says Ron.

When he reached Bethlem Ronald worked intensively with the Art Technician on his ward and was prolific in his output. He began to expand on his subjects, meticulously drawing and redrawing repetitive symbols which hold particular meanings for him. He believes that the hearts which he draws can be put in a human being to make them better. He says he does not know if he is foolish to believe this but says: “God moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform”. He says when he is drawing he is trying to help himself, and hopes that when he is dead and gone they will go on working.

The exhibition is part of the wider programme of Outside In events providing a platform for artists who find it difficult to access the art world due to health, disability, social circumstance or because their work does not conform to what is normally considered as ‘art.’ The project was set up in 2006 at Pallant House Gallery to showcase and give opportunities to artists facing barriers to their inclusion in the art world. The aim is to challenge the many barriers inherent in the art world that prevent non-traditional artists having their work seen or valued.

Ronald was selected from over 30 Bethlem artists by Deputy Director of Pallant House Gallery Marc Steene. “It was difficult to make my final selection as there are so many wonderful works produced by the artists working with the Bethlem Gallery. Ronald’s drawings really stood out for me, I love this work, the forms Ronald realises for his work; his reimaginings of planes and animals and the use of text make for extremely interesting and original art.”

Opening Event: 29th August, 3 – 6pm

Exhibition continues: 30th August– 21st September

Opening times: Wed, Thurs, Friday, 11am – 6pm

Gallery and Museum open Saturday 1st Sept, 11am – 6pm

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