“It’s Delamore – so it must be summer…” a passing remark at one of the first Delamore Arts events which now underpins the promotion of the annual exhibition and sculpture trail now in its 16th year. And it’s a pretty accurate summary – particularly when you go on a day like the one we did which was absolutely glorious – with the historic gardens entering full bloom to compliment this prestigious event, this is as much a celebration of the restoration work at Delamore as it is a commitment to visual art.
We were a little bit late to the party this year, the exhibition is now in its second week, but certainly DelamoreArts18 is by no means over. The present house is the fourth to have been built on the site in 1859 by Admiral Parker. Built from Dartmoor granite, the house has a number of distinctive architectural features, but the gardens are undoubtedly the highlight. Colourful shrubberies, immaculately manicured lawns and borders, the beautifully remodelled lake, all make the Delamore grounds a lush and verdant paradise. I can imagine little better backdrop than this for a public display of visual art, and that is exactly what it is put to use for!
This year, across the house, gardens and stable (the latter is occupied by SWAc as they join the event for a third year) more than 300 artworks make up the exhibition. In the main house, a busy display of an incredible variety of works dazzles. A few friendly works were spotted including Rhian Wyn Harrison, Jane Villaweaver and Ella Massingberd, with works from Kerry Lloyd surprising us with how distinct they are from past work we’ve seen. Over in the stable galleries, Martin Dutton’s work was quickly spotted, but as is often the case, it is the discovery of new works which proves most exciting!
Graham Lester was one such discovery; his playful paper sculptures fun and bright in primary shades. And sticking with the sculptural, Julia Roberts’ assemblage “box art” works, inspire a similar childlike glee when viewed. Almost at the complete opposite end of the spectrum in many respects are the “collage” scenes of Lisa Wisdom. Works depict modest landscapes, a building or two, a gate, a sky, all through layers of found metal gathered on Dartmoor rambles. Rust, decay and weathering dictate the palette, which is unexpectedly diverse.
However, on a sunny day, it is the sculptures that steal the show. Once again, there is huge variety here; glasswork, metalwork, bronze, wood-carving, animals in their multitudes are represented, as well as soft natural forms which blend seamlessly with the landscape. The occasional more industrial work – such as those of Carl Gamester – though is not out of place offering striking lines against rolling hills. Many of the whimsical creatures were favourites for us, Jemma Wyllie’s Walrus in particular made us smile, but some of the more organic forms, in this stunning setting, really do take your breath away. Philip Hearey’s Windblade for example stands proud with its electric blue hue, simultaneously strong and apparently curved by the gentle breeze.
With time at a premium as we build up to our own Summer Open, a return trip to Delamore is sadly unlikely for us, but we will be living vicariously through other people’s visits! We highly recommend this for a daytrip whilst the weather is with us, and if you do head over, send us your pictures so we can enjoy it all again!
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