Fresh Air 2017 - 13th Biennial Quenington Sculpture Exhibition


11th June - 2nd July 2017 fresh air 2017

Open daily 10.00 to 17.00. Adults £5. Children (under 18) FREE. Refreshments available.

Quenington Old Rectory, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 5BN

T 01285 750358

‘The aim of FRESH AIR is to challenge, inspire, inform and delight’ says Lucy Abel-Smith, co-curator of FRESH AIR

Over the last 25 years, FRESH AIR has evolved from representing traditional outdoor sculpture to reflect a much more contemporary and vibrant genre.  Today it has built up an enviable reputation for quality, diversity and popularity as one of the UK’s leading outdoor contemporary sculpture shows taking place at Quenington Old Rectory, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 5BN from Sunday 11th June to Sunday 2nd July 2017.

The exhibition is laid out in the quintessential Cotswold setting of the 5-acre garden surrounding the Grade II listed Old Rectory with the River Coln running through it. 88 artists are showing their latest work, of which over 30 are new to FRESH AIR.  Prices range from £50 to £50,000.
This year sees a return to the mix of media, styles and scale encompassing original thinking and fresh ideas that has proved to be a winning combination both with collectors and the general public, from stone to textiles, ceramic to glass, sound to video, mosaic to metals, rubber to resin.  Monumental pieces sit alongside smaller works to accommodate every size of garden and outdoor space.

Making their debut at FRESH AIR are Enclosure by artist and garden designer Jeni Cairns using a mixture of natural and reclaimed materials; Belle, a dreamlike figure from mixed media by Beth Forrester; and Cow Parsley by Simon Hempsell, a sculptural interpretation of a range of seedheads

Ceramics is a popular medium for the outdoors and FRESH AIR show a diverse range of work from artists including Emma Finch whose ceramics chronicle the every-changing face of London and The Ceramic Cycle by Philippa Macarthur, combining elements of clay and found metal.  Meri Wells, an interesting ceramicist based in North Wales, has forsaken making pots for figures from childhood stories and cultural myths.

‘The Seven Sleepers’ is a site-specific installation by Lucy Gray, situated in the summer house, and inspired by the legend of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus.  The story is told by way of shells in both the Christian and Islamic tradition.  Growth, a charred wood installation by James Eddy is a time-based sculpture resulting in the timber rotting and plants growing in and around it.   

Stone is a popular medium and there is an excellent choice available this year such as Shark Moon carved from Kilkenny limestone by Kim Francis; Banksia by Alison Munby from Guiting limestone, a local Cotswold quarry; Flautist from Bath stone by Jitka Palmer and Shoot by Luke Dickinson from Portland limestone.

Conceptualism is represented by Karen Tang showing The Paradise Syndrome based on science fiction.  Inspired by the River Coln flowing through the garden, Alison Berman has spent the last year planning her piece and the result is a working fountain from three bronze resin standing figures.

Outdoor furniture plays an important part in any garden and Derek Elliott, who designs and makes fine contemporary furniture is showing Chair of the Unknowing.  Alison Crowther has created The Charred Pod I & II from an acacia tree in the gardens at Quenington which fell down in a storm in 2013.  Incorporating textiles is a whimsical design made from felt, The Woods are Lovely, by Bailey Curtis.

Inhale Exhale is a collaborative sculpture by Richard Jackson and Sally Fawkes made with cast optical glass and stainless steel.  More glass artists include Fiaz Elson, Colin Hawkins of Loco Glass, Jacque Pavlosky, Max Jacquard, Colin Reid and Wendy Wizzard.   Making a welcome return to FRESH AIR Tessa Campbell Fraser is showing a lifesize red Highland stag in bronze. 

Following the success of 2015, the swimming pool house in the grounds of Quenington is to be home to a pop-up gallery during the exhibition exploring the theme ‘Emerging from the Landscape’.  Curated by Miranda Leonard, the exhibition presents a succinct survey of current contemporary applied art practice including ceramics by Anna Lambert, paintings by Dana Finch, wire sculpture by Melanie Day, as well as contemporary textiles, jewellery, glass and metal.

FRESH AIR runs an impressive education programme accommodating over 650 children from local primary and secondary schools and particularly special needs schools and community groups in the area.  Through generous donations from The Summerfield Trust, The Ernest Cook Trust and The Coln Children’s Fete, FRESH AIR is able to provide workshops for groups from the Alderman Knight School, Paternoster School, Milestone College, Cotswold Chine School, Farmors Secondary School, Southrop Primary, Minchinhampton Primary and Riverside EOTAS.

Since its inception in 1992, FRESH AIR has grown into an invaluable resource to visiting educators, artists and students of the arts.  This year five foundation students from Stroud College of Art and Design and nine BA degree course students from Hereford College of Art have been selected to create new work that add exuberance and freshness to the exhibition and is considered an invaluable learning curve for the students involved.

FRESH AIR is run by The Quenington Sculpture Trust (registered charity no 1071956), directed by David and Lucy Abel Smith and co-curated by Anne Marie Fisher and Miranda Lenoard. It is generously supported by The Summerfield Trust and Savills.


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