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“Connections” at the Fry Art Gallery

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Fry Art Gallery


Sep 9, 2017 - Oct 29, 2017


Saturday 9th September to Sunday 29th October

Opening on Saturday 9th September, the Fry Art Gallery exhibition “Connections” will feature portraits and related works selected from the Gallery’s collection by the artist Benjamin Sullivan NEAC who won the BP Portrait Award first prize this year. Benjamin describes how his love of the Fry Art Gallery’s North West Essex Collection began when he moved to the Suffolk/Essex border in 2007 and how “Steeped in indigenous influences, the Great Bardfield artists’ portrayal of a village community and quotidian life reflected my own attempts to connect with my surroundings. Their figuration depicts an Englishness that resonates at some deep level, creating a universe in the Essex Countryside.” Ben’s choice of works from the collection for the exhibition takes the portrait theme loosely. The paintings he has chosen attempt to bring together the best of the Fry's collection showing intimate depictions of the artists, their family and friends, set within cluttered cottages and the rural landscape. 

Benjamin Sullivan was born in Grimsby in 1977. He studied painting and drawing at Edinburgh College of Art, graduating in 2000. Since then, he has established a growing reputation as a figurative painter and is a member of the New English Art Club and Royal Society of Portrait Painters.  His work has been widely exhibited, including at the Royal Academy and National Portrait Gallery and he has received a number of awards including the BP Portrait Award first prize this year. His winning picture, “Breech!” depicts the artist’s wife Virginia breastfeeding their eight-month-old daughter Edith, at a time when Sullivan says ‘a sense of calm descended after the usual period of disarrangement that new parents face.’

The preparatory drawing for “Breech!” can be seen in the Fry Art Gallery exhibition along with the works from the collection. Artists featured include Eric Ravilious, John Aldridge RA, Michael Rothenstein RA, Kenneth Rowntree, Sir George Clausen RA and John Bellany RA, along with Tirzah Ravilious, Olive Cook, Edwin Smith, Duffy Ayers, Thomas Hennell, Sheila Robinson, Charlotte Bawden and Tom Russell. Many of the works have not been shown recently and offer a fascinating insight into the artists and their lives.

“Connections” runs from Saturday 9th September until Sunday 29th October at the Fry Art Gallery, Castle Street, Saffron Walden, CB10 1BD. Tel: 01799 513799. For opening times: www.fryartgallery.org 

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