FRESH AIR 2015 12th Biennale Quenington Sculpture Exhibition 14th June – 5th July 2015

FRESH AIR 2015, one of the UK’s leading outdoor contemporary sculpture shows, brings together an exciting line-up of new work at Quenington Old Rectory, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 5BN from Sunday 14th June to Sunday 5th July 2015.   Set up by art collectors, Lucy and David Abel-Smith, the exhibition is laid out in the quintessential Cotswold setting of the 5-acre garden surrounding the Grade II listed Old Rectory with the River Coln running through the garden.


The excitement of FRESH AIR is the huge diversity of materials exploring a variety of media : from stone to textiles, ceramic to glass, sound to video, mosaic to metals, rubber to resin. Monumental pieces sit alongside smaller works to accommodate every size of garden or outdoor space. The garden becomes a living gallery with visitors wandering through the different vistas delighted by the experience of finding something new round every corner which is cleverly highlighted by the skilful placing of each sculpture.  95 artists are exhibiting of which 30 are new to the event, creating a show that will enlighten, provoke, excite and charm the visitor.  Prices range from £50 to £50,000.

Inspired by the tranquil setting the show includes two site specific installations : the little boat house by the wooden bridge spanning the river will be home to a unique video/dance/textile installation with recordings of seasonal sounds taken from the garden by Julia van Doorne; and an abstract projection installation with digital music made specifically for this year’s FRESH AIR and housed in the tennis court house by Polish new media artists Radek Rudnicki and Jakub Hader.


Highlights include a dramatic architectural work by Danish sculptor Hilde A Danielson entitled Upside down again using 60 turning door frames; Michael Fairfax’s wind harps strung into the branches of a tree;  Alison Crowther’s carved wooden sculpture made from an Old Rectory Acacia tree felled by high winds last winter; and Andrew Trotman’s highly sculptural outdoor furniture.


Jane King’s ceramics have been chosen for inclusion in the 59th Premio Faenza, an international competition for contemporary ceramic art in Italy from June 2015 and for FRESH AIR she is showing a series of archaeological works.  Jitka Palmer, a passionate tree lover, is exhibiting a collection of ceramic vessels placed in and around trees and walls.  Hornbill, a stoneware ceramic by Dave Cooke is made by stretching and manipulating sheets of clay.  Other ceramic artists include Jim Brown, Christie Brown, Natalia Dias and Guy Stevens.


Colour plays a very important part in any garden and many of the works reflect this as well as exuding the playfulness and humour inherent in the installation of wheelbarrows containing yellow silicone rubber dog forms entitled ‘Shaggy Dog Stories’ by Tom Hackett; Taz Lovejoy’s bright sculptural candles hanging in trees and Caroline Parrott’ colourful anodised aluminium Hydrangea Rabbit.  The use of glass as a medium is well represented with works by such luminaries as Colin Reid, Sam Herman, Matt Durran, Fiaz Elson, Colin Hawkins of Loco Glass, Richard Jackson Fawkes, Max Jacquard, Faith Mercer, Jacque Pavlosky and Angela Thwaites.


Look out for Monumental Gannet Head by Terence Coventry and Midnite Movie Heads by Jon Buck, both bronzes last seen at the highly successful exhibition, Crucible 2, at Gloucester Cathedral in the  Autumn. Dorcas Casey translates the mysterious power of dreams into a tangible object in Mule Head made of jesmonite, fabric, iron powder and wood.  The monumental size of The Saw by Robert Jakes transports the viewer to Alice in Wonderland status; the alchemic quality of stone carving is expressed through Lux Perpetua by Rosie Musgrave exhibiting a light reflecting bronze ring turning within a stone frame influenced by the spinning of Buddhist prayer wheels as well as Shells from Ynyslas by Welsh sculptor Kevin Blockley and Posing Hare by Oliver Meller.  New this year are blacksmith Adam Booth who creates theatrical gates transforming a functional object into an innovative and dramatic centrepiece.  Nick Moran’s colourful abstract steel sculpture embody movement and expression in their welded forms.


FRESH AIR runs an impressive education programme accommodating over 650 children from local schools including workshops for the disabled and special needs school.  Many children from primary and secondary schools in the region visit the show giving them a unique opportunity to enjoy the excitement of such a large range of art in a rural setting.


FRESH AIR 2013 attracted over 14,000 visitors.  The Quenington Sculpture Trust, FRESH AIR’s registered charity since 1997, is generously supported by Strutt & Parker, the Finnis Scott Trust, the Notgrove Trust and Artisa Foundation. The Trust provides apprenticeships and bursaries to talented artists:  This year Faith Mercer was awarded a Hot Glass apprenticeship with Colin Reid and Laurence Lawson was awarded a Wood Design apprenticeship with Fred Baier. Bursaries were awarded to Julia Van Doorne and Helen Snell.


The swimming pool house in the grounds of FRESH AIR is home to a pop-up gallery for the duration of the show allowing visitors to view the best quality contemporary and applied art, jewellery, textiles and smaller scale sculpture.  This year’s theme is all things botanical inspired by pioneering female plant collectors, gardeners and botanists.




FRESH AIR is open from 10am-5pm including weekends.


Admission is £4 for adults, children free.


Catalogues are £5 each.


Light lunches and snacks available in the refreshment tent.


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