Kate Smith launches UpDown Gallery, Kent’s newest contemporary art gallery
Satis House in Ramsgate is the setting for Kent’s latest prestigious arts venture. Owned by curator and director Kate Smith, UpDown Gallery will host exhibitions featuring the best of modern and contemporary British, European and American art. Kate returns to Kent following more than a decade working at the forefront of the international art scene, in leading galleries in London and New York.
In opening UpDown Gallery, Kate is determined to build upon the growing reputation of Kent following the opening of the Turner Contemporary. “Our shows will differ from the Turner. The flexibility offered by a privately run gallery means we will change exhibitions more frequently, keeping the freshness and vibrancy that exists in many London galleries.
“We are in a great position to be able to host some great shows by leading artists as well as up-and-coming names who are producing some really exciting art. This is a great opportunity to establish Kent, Thanet and Ramsgate as a leading destination for art,” Kate continued.
With her extensive background and experience across the art world, Kate will be offering an art consultancy service from her office in the gallery, covering all aspects from starting a collection to investing in art for the future.
“UpDown Gallery is as much an investment in Kent as it is a venue for great art. Turner Contemporary has shown there is a huge appetite for modern and contemporary art. We want UpDown Gallery to become a venue which will offer art lovers diverse and exciting exhibitions from the best artists of the last century or so.”
Satis House is a former Victorian home that has been transformed into a stunning exhibition space. The gallery is located over four floors, just a few minutes’ walk from Ramsgate’s town centre and the majestic Royal Harbour.
The gallery has an exciting schedule of shows throughout 2013, including Bridget Riley, Sir Howard Hodgkin, Ben Nicholson, Damien Hirst, Ian Davenport, Piers Secunda and Martin Fidler, to name a few.
UpDown Gallery launched with an exhibition featuring the work of the celebrated and renowned British artist, Sir Peter Blake. Kent-born, Blake was one of the pioneers of British Pop Art and celebrated his 80th birthday in 2012. The exhibition 6 DECADES IN PRINT showcased his new works and some of his classic prints from over 60 years.
UpDown Gallery’s second exhibition, Let Me Introduce…, was being refreshed from Friday 25th January. New works by artists Ed Ruscha, Yoyai Kusama, Patrick Caulfield, Richard Hamilton and Maggi Hambling were on display at the gallery until February 9th.
Following the success of UpDown Gallery’s inaugural exhibition Peter Blake – Six Decades In Print, the second exhibition Let Me Introduce… featured over thirty artists. The exhibition drew together well known masters of modern and contemporary art; a tour de force that juxtaposed some of the most significant figures of modern art history with some of the most exciting artists working today.
An eclectic mix of modern, contemporary, pop, abstract, surrealist, minimalist and conceptualist works, the exhibition sought to showcase familiar artists connected through style, influence and inspiration, with pieces on display more often seen at the likes of Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the Royal Academy. Spanning the early 20th century to the present day, masters of modern art Picasso, Nicholson and Moore sat alongside British artists who have continually tested and expanded the parameters of abstraction including Gillian Ayres, Howard Hodgkin, and Victor Pasmore. Pop artists included Lichtenstien, Warhol, Hockney, Hamilton and Blake, in contrast with minimalists like Frank Stella, Bridget Riley, Sol Lewitt and Michael Craig-Martin.
Paula Rego, a giant of late 20th century art, whose raw highly expressive pieces
continue to defy categorisation was seen alongside Martin Grover, whose works
of surrealist imagination echo with Rego’s influence. Leading contemporary artists
and founding YBAs Gavin Turk and Damian Hirst were also featured alongside
rising star of the contemporary art world, Piers Secunda, whose fusion of modernist
concern for materials with political and historical reference make for visually
seductive and conceptually resonant works. Cedric Christie’s minimalist aesthetic
looks back to Frank Stella and Sol Lewitt whilst advancing a more complex and
humorous conceptual agenda. Landscape artists Martin Fidler and Katherine Le
Hardy were on show as well, whilst Hugo Dalton’s stunning experiential piece, a vital, cascading light work was projected against the wall of UpDown Gallery.
Let Me Introduce… promised to provide an overview of some of the world’s finest artists of the last sixty years. In contrasting contemporary practice with historical works it revealed the blend of renewal and continuity that drive the visual arts. The opportunity to see these fantastic artists in the company of their predecessors was as rare as it was exciting.
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