Gallery is younger, edgier


Rye Art Gallery is undergoing a shake up. New director Jane Fenn is bringing fresh art by younger artists into the gallery. The private view or opening party last Saturday night definitely enticed a few more more than usual of the younger crowd. The gallery’s regular Saturday morning opening drinks has been replaced by a two hour, evening event. Much better. A lot of booze was disappearing from the drinks table. Venue was packed. Lots of pieces sold.

I was inexplicably drawn to the back of the gallery by a large, orange orb on canvas, which I was horrified to discover on approaching, was abstract art. Cleverly placed, this piece, which I would usually roll my eyes at, acts like a tractor beam.

To the left of the orb I found a wall of Peter Quinnel’s eccentric, box frame oddities. Those and the Mermaid pieces by his wife, Claire Fletcher are on my ‘want’ list. I met Robert Greenhalf, who has a solo exhibition upstairs. He features in another exhibition at  Mall Galleries, London.

I asked a few people what they thought of Rye’s slowly transforming gallery. “It feels more elegant.”  “It feels less like a shop.” My view is that there is ‘darker’ work and less ‘craft’ which, to me is a good thing. Fenn, with the newly appointed gallery team, hopes to have have realised her vision of an edgier gallery by next summer.

As an enthusiastic fan of not much art and despiser of a lot of art (even Grayson Perry said: “Most art is shit.”) I can see this gallery taking a turn for the better. I’m watching closely.

See the gallery’s website for opening times. The current exhibition Cabinet of Curiosities runs until January 4.