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Hive of activity

PUBLISHED: 09:08 24 February 2015 | UPDATED: 09:08 24 February 2015

The Hive Gallery

The Hive Gallery

Archant

Throughout March, Chelmsford Museum is hosting one of this year’s most exciting art collections. Co-curator Karen Jones tells Caroline Foster about the exhibition and its artists

This month, artwork from a group of artist members from The Hive Artist Studios will be on display at the Chelmsford Museum in an exhibition titled On Show.

The Hive Artist Studios is an independent group of 15 professional artists. Based in Chelmsford, the group was founded in 2010 by art illustrator Karen Jones. The studio is also a founding member and supporter of the ENAS (Essex Network of Artist Studios), part of a scheme supported by the Arts Council, Essex County Council and Colchester’s firstsite.

The On Show exhibition, co-curated by Karen and photographer Tracy Vine, is the first collective exhibition the group has displayed in its home town.

‘Unfortunately, there is very limited art space available in the Chelmsford area, but we are delighted that Chelmsford Museum was able to offer us space and for that we are extremely grateful,’ explains Karen. ‘As individual artists we exhibit regularly, both in the UK and overseas, but having the opportunity to show together locally is very exciting, as it gives us the chance to say, “Here we are, come and see what we do.” And what we do is really good!’

The focus for the exhibition is to highlight how each artist’s work has developed over the past year and the new directions some of these artists have pursued. One of the exhibition aims is to surprise and intrigue spectators, as they explore the synergy and connection of different works that have been brought together.

Karen trained at the London College of Printing and in 2010 completed a prestigious art commission for Essex County Council. In the same year, one of her artworks became part of the permanent art collection at The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon Avon.

For the Chelmsford exhibition, Karen has pursued a radical change of direction and will be showcasing a paper sculpture alongside a site-specific installation by Elaine Tribley, drawings by Gordon Flemons (currently studying for the MFA at Goldsmiths) and a new piece by Tracy Vine to commemorate the Great War. Tracy is currently completing an MA in art research and recently earned an accolade from the University of Essex Turner Prize for Innovation and Design.

The other contributing artists include Amy Moutney, Cherry Hall (The Hive’s current artist in residence), Jill Tushingham, Elizabeth Carpenter, Ralph Overill, Kitty Gutherie Oakley and Debra Lobley, who between them bring to the exhibition a collection of paintings, sculpture, printmaking, illustration and jewellery. The artists come from a variety of different backgrounds, are of differing ages and their study of art and qualifications achieved have been acquired from colleges and universities from across the world.

However, home for The Hive Artist Studios is perhaps a less glamorous setting. Located among a collection of circa 1950s industrial units and sheds in Chelmsford, is the shared studio space where this dedicated group of talented artists resides. Selected for their artistic talent, originality and standard of work, the group is thriving and this current exhibition is testament to that. n

The On Show exhibition is on display until March 22 at the Chelmsford Museum, Oaklands Park, Moulsham Street, Chelmsford. Admission is free to Chelmsford Museum. Opening times and further information can be found at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/museums or call 01245 605700.

Further information on the Hive Artist Studios can be found at www.theartiststudios.moonfruit.com

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