Cork Street Dealer Johnathan Messum Launches Pioneering New Arts Centre in Wiltshire

A monastic barn in Wiltshire has been turned into a pioneering new arts centre by the Cork Street dealer, Johnathan Messum. Situated on the Fonthill estate, home in the 1700’s to William Beckford, the biggest and wildest British art collector of his day,  Messums Wiltshire in Tisbury champions art made by hand.

Forthcoming exhibitions include those focusing on contemporary porcelain and handmade ceramics as well as art made of stone, wood, wool and glass.

But the centre is not just a space for fine art; a programme of dance, music, and films animates the cavernous 14th-century barn whose oak beams arch across the roof of the building like the vaults of a cathedral.

The second exhibition in a series of three about the human figure has opened at the gallery. Sculptures by Laurence Edwards, Sean Henry, and Brian Taylor express in clay the human condition in all its fragility. The vigorously expressive modeling and painting of Sean Henry’s contemporary figures contrast with the gestural expressionism of Brian Taylor’s tormented models and Laurence Edward’s exploration of the masculine figure through the blurring of boundaries between man and nature. Themes of isolation, introversion, and mental struggle are a continual subtext.

‘The space itself is a spring board for creativity, inspiring artists across all genres to think and reconsider their work in the context of what is believed to be the largest building of its type in the country,’ says Messum.

Next February will be an immersive sound installation comprising a forty-minute choral score devised by the British composer, Pete M Wyer.   It features a forty-minute choral score performed by the Crossing choir from Philadelphia set over an hour to create a soundscape that includes the dawn chorus recorded simultaneously at 16 locations. ‘This musical layering of language, allows the listener to recognise and consider the question of how and why we communicate through sound’ says Messum.

Thereafter, an exhibition of sculptures of the horse is followed by one of giant installations by the American award-winning artist Judy Pfaff – setting the tone of a gallery as wide reaching in ambition as it is subject matter.

‘In terms of experiencing art, spaces outside of London often lend themselves better to the creative process,’ says Messum.

‘For those who have everything, what they are looking for is unique experiences and you simply cannot get experiences of the sort we offer anywhere else in the world.’

Words: Catherine Milner © Artlyst 2016

HUMAN: SEAN HENRY, LAURENCE EDWARDS AND BRIAN TAYLOR Starts: 2nd December 2016 Ends: 3rd February 2017 Messum’s Wiltshire, The Barn, Place Farm, Court St, Tisbury, Salisbury. Wiltshire. SP3 6LW  


, , ,