Yes, it is a schlepp if you’re trying to get there from anywhere outside South Devon. And, as it happened to me on a quiet Saturday afternoon, there is a good chance that you will get caught behind a tractor at some point on the A381 and have to drive from Totnes to Kingsbridge at 3 miles per hour.
And when you finally get to Kingsbridge you might have to walk the length of Fore Street a few times before you notice the sign above an arcade that indicates that the Red Propeller Gallery really exists, albeit in the middle of a busy shopping street at the top of a flight of stairs.
But luckily, when you get there, you’ll probably find that it will all have been worth it. Because by God should we embrace any gallery in Devon that doesn’t just promote ‘seascape artists’! (Which is why it IS acceptable for yet another person to write about the new Red Propeller Gallery on the PRSD website).
The Red Propeller Gallery is a real hidden gem, and the approach of dynamic duo Sarah and David Anslow, who curate the gallery’s exhibitions together, is really refreshing.
The launch exhibition, which runs until Christmas, includes work by some interesting established artists (such as Parisian turned Devonian sculptress Lucianne Lasalle, and painter Lydia Corbett, a.k.a. Picasso’s muse) as well as by some fresh talent on the up (such as BP Portrait Award finalist Alexandra Jarosz Laszlo and the apparently PRSD favoured painter Louise Dear), but the Anslows aren’t phased by exposing exhibits by relatively unknown names either.
Which I believe is a rare virtue amongst curators in our green and pleasant county (with the exception, of course, of Angela Blackwell who holds the fort at the excellent Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton, and the fabulous Christine Jowett who over recent years has turned the Exeter Phoenix into an even better local supplier of your regular culture-fix – and lets not forget Clive Adams at the recently opened Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World in Haldon Forest).
I actually felt that the most interesting work in the current show was by those artists I hadn’t heard of before (which doesn’t necessarily mean anything).
Take, for example, textile artist Charlotte Chance, whose self-confessed ‘fascination with the needle’ and love for ancient Indian and African rituals of life and death, have inspired her to create some very decorative ‘memento mori’ pieces that you wouldn’t dream of putting up on your living room (let alone your bedroom) wall, but which you want to possess precisely for this reason.
And then there is ‘fantastic plastic’ artist Janet Mitchell, who makes nipple sculptures and other tantalising artifacts from driftobjects she finds on the beach near her Devon home, to honour the fact that they have managed to hold on to their bright colours in spite of possibly travelling thousands of miles in the salty water of our seas and oceans.
All in all, something for everyone, so go and see for yourself, enjoy and spread the word. Future plans for the gallery are, first of all of course, to continue putting up great works of art which in the near future may also include film, fashion and photography.
But speaking to the Anslows it seems they are also very keen for their gallery to be an accessible space where people of all ages can put forward and share great ideas for events and projects with the aim to make Devon an altogether even better and more inspiring place to be. So what’s keeping you?
RED PROPELLER GALLERY, THE SHAMBLES, FORE STREET, KINGSBRIDGE, TQ7 1PU
Open Tue – Sat, 10am – 5pm. Telephone: . Web: www.redpropeller.co.uk
© Milica Lewis, 2006
December 11th, 2006