Posts Tagged 'art exhibition'

Flight of Ideas: New Exhibition at the Bethlem Gallery opens 2 October

Next week, an exciting new exhibition to celebrate world mental health day will open at the Bethlem Gallery.  Flight of Ideas will start on 2 October, and continue until 25 October 2013.

Flight of Ideas is an exhibition of postcards made by artists staying and working in hospitals across Europe.  This exhibition is an international collaboration between innovative arts practice, studio spaces and galleries based within psychiatric healthcare in Croatia, France, Italy and the UK.  All four organisations are unique within their own countries.  Flight of Ideas celebrates their shared ideals framing them within the context of each nation’s system of mental health care.  These differing institutions all facilitate creative activity as part of the recovery process during a person’s time in hospital and support professional development of these artists beyond the hospital setting.

At the heart of the exhibition are the artists themselves. Their extraordinary talent will be presented within the size of a postcard but is broad and varied in the range of style, media and technique employed.  Artists working within the hospital environments range from having formal arts training to the self-taught. Their work shows, better than any document, their identity as artists and their right to lay claim to that status.

The World As Was Before, by Anon

The World As Was Before, by Anon (The Azienda USL di Reggio Emilia, Italy)


Bethlem Affordable Art Fair Opens 7 December

You are invited to the The Bethlem Gallery’s much loved annual open exhibition, showcasing the work of artists from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. The exhibition offers a treasure trove of desirable paintings, prints, drawings, ceramics, photographs, textiles, and sculpture made by over 40 artists on show in the gallery throughout December. There’s something for everyone with a selection of art, gifts, cards and mince pies! Everything is from £5 – £150, perfect for stocking fillers or special presents for you and your loved ones.

The Bethlem Gallery was set up in 1997 to support and promote the talents of artists in South London who have been marginalised due to mental health problems. The gallery provides a professional platform for artists to show and sell work, equipping people with the experience, skills and support to exhibit within the wider art world.

In recent years there has been an increase in public interest to exhibit and collect work by artists who exist outside of the mainstream art world. Our artists represent an inspiring section of this creative community with many contributing work to major Outsider Arts collections throughout Europe such as the Museum of Everything and the ABCD collection Paris. The Bethlem Affordable Art Fair celebrates the richness and diversity of our artists’ talents, giving visitors the opportunity to take home original artworks at bargain prices.

*Please note only cash and cheques accepted.

Opening 7th December, 3 – 6pm

Exhibition continues 8th – 23rd December

Wednesday – Friday 11am – 6pm

Gallery open Saturday 10th & 17th December, 11am – 6pm

Museum open Saturday 10th, 11am – 5pm

Free Entry – All Welcome!

BAAF_2010_front_smallImage by James Tanner

Communicating Through Cats: New Exhibition on Louis Wain

A new exhibition at Brent Museum on the art of Louis Wain has recently opened, displaying a number of items on loan from the Bethlem Archives & Museum. Wain’s cat paintings and drawings are widely known, and he remains one of the artists most frequently requested from the Bethlem Art Collection. Born in 1860, Wain was a household name from the 1880s until the outbreak of the first world war, his distinctive, usually brightly coloured, anthropomorphised cat paintings. Always known for being ‘eccentric’, Wain began to develop signs of serious mental disorder late in life, and was hospitalised in 1924. He was transferred to Bethlem in 1925 following a campaign by his supporters, and remained at Bethlem until the move to Beckenham in 1930. Wain continued to draw and paint until near the end of his life, and died in 1939 in Napsbury Hospital, near St Albans.

As the Brent Museum exhibition recognises, reactions to Wain’s art have shifted throughout the years, having been described as ‘charming’ and ‘humorous’ but also ‘psychotic’ and ‘disturbed’. Communicating Through Cats explores how the artist saw the world during a life troubled by tragedy and mental illness, and considers how different responses to his work reflected fashions of the time. In addition to works from the Bethlem Art Collection, the exhibition also includes loans from the Chris Beetles Gallery and the Wellcome Library. You can read about the installation of the exhibition on the Brent Museum Blog.

Exhibition open from 5 May – 29 October 2011, daily (closed Sundays) 10am – 4pm.

Brent Museum is free, and based in Willesden Green Library Centre, 95 High Road, Willesden, NW10 2SF. Nearest tube Willesden Green.

A free programme of adult events and family activities will be running alongside the exhibition, including a talk by Bethlem staff on the history of the Hospital and its Art Collection on Thursday 14 July. In addition, volunteers will be running lunch-time tours of the exhibition on the last Wednesday of every month, starting at 12pm.

Louis Wain A Cricket Catastrophe

Jane Fradgley Exhibition at the Bethlem Gallery: ‘Folding Space’ opens 13 April

Jane Fradgley’s first solo show runs at the Bethlem Gallery from 13 April until 7 May 2011. This exhibition of photographic works is informed by a deep fascination with the poetic power of folds and textures. The materials, objects and voids in these images reveal and conceal; the apertures and folds invite the viewer to peer beyond the surface towards other forms and vistas, evoking doorways to the unconscious or passages to another world. Having previously pursued a successful career in fashion, life changes and different states of mind led Fradgley to leave this industry and pursue her passion for photography, which she has used as a cathartic tool, a vehicle for expression and a pathway to professional practice.

The artist explains: “This exhibition is a personal poem encompassing some of my feelings. I see objects and colours as metaphors for my life experience. Themes of slits, holes and folds appear in front of me, buzzing with energy, wishing I capture their existence as clues for inquiry to understanding myself.”

“My story began and continues with creases and scars, baggage and bondage. Sadness and solitude make way for rebirth and possibility. Recent research into the Victorian ‘strong clothing’, at the Bethlem Archive; along with my own thoughts around ‘constraints’ has led to the staged sepia images exploring feelings around freedom,” she explained.

‘Strong clothing’ was a rather euphemistic term used to describe certain forms of restraint used in late nineteenth century asylums. While chains, strait-jackets and similar garments were outlawed during the ‘non-restraint’ movement of the 1840s and ’50s, other methods of ‘mechanical restraint’ were permitted by the Commissioners in Lunacy (the government body who inspected and licensed asylums for much of the nineteenth century). “Strong dresses,” as described by Bethlem Superintendent George Savage in 1888, were “made of stout linen or woollen material, and lined throughout with flannel. The limbs are all free to move, but the hands are enclosed in the extremities of the dress, which are padded. … There are no straitwaistcoats, handcuffs, or what may be called true instruments of restraint in Bethlem.” Savage claimed that, by avoiding recourse to the use of sedatives or padded cells for violent or destructive patients, many “were thus really granted liberty by means of the slight restraint put upon them,” such as strong dresses and padded gloves. Others, however, did not agree, and the “principle of non-restraint” remained an ongoing matter of debate.

The exhibition opens on Wednesday 13 April, from 3 – 6pm, and continues until 7th May.

Open: Wednesday – Friday, and Saturday 16th April & 7th May, 11am – 6pm


Self Contained: New exhibition at Bethlem Gallery by Shelley Wilson

As part of Science Week 2011, artist Shelley Wilson will be exhibiting sculptural and photographic work exploring issues surrounding dementia at the Bethlem Gallery. The exhibition addresses the impact of dementia on the collective mental health of the sufferer and their carers, and aims to stimulate debate around identity and the stigma attached to its loss.

Shelley said her motivations for the project came from personal experience.

“I have an interest in this field as one of my close family members was diagnosed with the disease years ago. My work usually explores notions of identity within myself and in society. With the work in this exhibition the crucial difference is that I am looking at the increasing loss of identity in sufferers of dementia and their decreasing ability to identify the family as the disease takes hold,” Shelley explained. “The work also explores how dementia impacts on the families’ own sense of identity as a whole, surely, this has to be the cruelest aspect of the disease.”

The artwork will be shown across two venues simultaneously with the sculptural work on display at The Bethlem Gallery and the SGDP Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry housing the photographic installation. The project was funded by Arts Council England and developed in collaboration with Dr Justin Sauer, Consultant Psychiatrist and Honorary lecturer at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and the Institute of Psychiatry.

The exhibition at the Bethlem Gallery opens on 2 March, and runs until 1 April, on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and Saturday 12 March, from 11am – 6pm.

The photographic installation at the Institute of Psychiatry is open between 30 March and 24 June.

Shelley Wilson image

The Passions of Richard Dadd: Progress Report

The Bethlem Gallery’s Passions of Richard Dadd exhibition is off to a flying start. Both the Gallery and the Museum saw a steady stream of visitors last Saturday, and we anticipate many more this week and next. The exhibition has also attracted some media interest, one result of which has been this piece in The Lancet. Opening hours for the exhibition, which runs until 28 January, are here.

Invitation to Opening of Bethlem Gallery Exhibition: Unescorted

A new show opens at the Bethlem Gallery next week, showcasing the creative talent of Hospital patients. The exhibition, Unescorted #2, comprises work by over 20 patients, including paintings, drawings photography, digital art and music, offering a glimpse into the artists’ daily lives and unique ways of seeing. The artwork ranges from architectural graphite drawings, to vibrant paintings of Caribbean scenes, and illustrative pen and ink sketches of imaginative characters.

Alongside the traditional psychiatric treatments, art technicians working within Occupational Therapy enable patients to engage in creative activities through the simple process of identifying and nurturing their hidden talents. Similarly, during music sessions participants have the opportunity to record their thoughts, feelings and perceptions and turn them into compositions and lyrics.

A consultant psychiatrist said of the show, “Music, writing, drama, and particularly art are forms by which patients have a chance to share their story with others and in doing so move that bit closer to a safe and successful life in the community. The music concerts and art exhibitions that take place at River House are perhaps a high point in a treatment that is otherwise complex and challenging.”

All are welcome at the Opening Event, on Wednesday 27 October, 3 – 6pm.

Exhibition continues:

28 October – 19 November, Wednesday – Friday, 11am – 6pm


Bethlem Gallery and Museum are both open on Saturday 6 November, 11am – 6pm