The Gallery, Torbay Hospital / News / Fri 03 Apr 2009

Hospital Gallery Chalks Up Its 100

Hospital Gallery Chalks Up Its 100

The Gallery at Torbay Hospital will be celebrating its 100th art exhibition next month (from April 3) and is delighted that its most successful ever exhibitor, Pembrokeshire-based artist Andrea Kelland, will be returning to share in the celebrations.

This will be Andrea’s fourth time exhibiting at The Gallery during its 12 years, although she normally sells out of prime commercial galleries and from her studio on the Pembrokeshire coast where she paints her studies of sea, shoreline and rock pools.

Her first show Water Ways at Torbay Hospital was in The Gallery’s early years, in 1999, and she returned two years later with an exhibition titled Coastline which sold more than any other exhibition, before or since.

Andrea then helped The Gallery to mark its 50th exhibition in 2003 with a joint show with another artist based in Wales, Diana Heeks. Together they displayed 50 works of art, under the title Where Land meets Sea – 50 for 50.

A number of Andrea’s original paintings are on permanent show around Torbay Hospital, purchased with the help of the proceeds from sales from The Gallery, and also in the cancer support and information centre, The Lodge, on the hospital annexe site. Her return to exhibit again illustrates the bond that she feels with the hospital and her support for art in healthcare.

Andrea’s connection with Torbay Hospital goes back much further than the founding of The Gallery, to the years when she was bringing up her family and living in Devon, before her move to Wales.

She used to make weekly hospital visits while her son Sam was being treated for leukaemia, and she used to think how good it would be to see paintings along the hospital’s main corridor.

She retains strong links with South Devon. Her son Dylan is a Totnes GP, her son Hardy and daughter Sasha live in and near Totnes.

For generations, the Kellands were watermen in Dartmouth. Andrea herself lived “up river” in Totnes, Dartington and Tuckenhay, running a clothing business.

She had trained in Fine Arts at Kingston Art School and then Brighton College of Art, and when she moved to Pembrokeshire she resumed painting, becoming one of the best known contemporary artists in West Wales.

Andrea lives near the sea, at Amroth, with views across to distant Lundy island.

Whether painting in oils or watercolours, large or small, Andrea paints with boldness and sensitivity, with strong shapes and rich colours. Her work is mostly of the Pembrokeshire or Cornish coastline. In 1998 she was selected as a member of the Watercolour Society of Wales and she was then supported by the Arts Council of Wales to tour an exhibition Above and Below' across Wales. Among her many exhibition venues have been the National Botanic Gardens of Wales and the Great Atlantic Gallery in Falmouth, Cornwall.

Andrea has written about her upcoming exhibition at Torbay Hospital on her website: “As one of their favourite exhibitors, I’ve been invited to put on their 100th exhibition. It is run by volunteer staff at the hospital, who do an excellent job, under the umbrella of South Devon Healthcare.

“It is invaluable for patients and visitors, most of whom have to go along the glass-sided corridor, which links the two main buildings. Many years ago, I had to use that corridor often, when there was nothing up on the walls; when I was often full of apprehension and fear. I do believe that exhibitions can help to ease the difficult times people have in such a place.”

She explains her fascination with the coastline: “Even when at Art School in the early sixties, I longed to be at the sea's edge. My degree work then was of figures in big surf. Now I've embarked on a series of work about the power of water, rather like the Japanese masters who made life-long studies of the elements such as Fire, Air, Wind.

“I observe light on and in water, its surface tension, its movements; gentle ripples, to forceful surges, carried on a wind, falling from a rock.

“I really love the Blue Lagoon at Abereiddy; the ruins of the once-busy quarry, the wonderful green blue of its water, well-trod steps over rocks that once kept the sea out. Another such place I love where man has left his mark, is Progo, nr St Just, Cornwall. There are mine-shafts about on the cliffs, and one bit of cliff is reinforced with stonewalling. There used to be a golden granite arch, now fallen. There is such an organic quality to these places, worn by seas, wind and by man.”

Andrea Kelland’s latest exhibition will run daily at The Gallery, Torbay Hospital, from the evening of Friday April 3 for seven weeks, until Friday May 22. Admission is free. Original paintings and prints will be available to purchase with prices ranging from around £100 to £1,700.

The Gallery, Torbay Hospital, opened for its first exhibition towards the end of 1997. It is co-ordinated by hospital staff who volunteer their time to stage the selling exhibitions, which change usually every six weeks.

It can boast probably the highest footfall of any selling gallery in Devon, and is open seven days a week.

Portfolios are invited from professional artists and work is selected for its quality, suitability for the location, and to bring a wide variety of uplifting, bright two-dimensional artwork into the hospital environment.

Proceeds from gallery sales are ploughed into a charitable fund, South Devon Healthcare Arts, which commissions and purchases permanent artwork to display across the hospital.

Since it opened over 11 years ago, The Gallery has showcased around 200 artists, from as far afield as Southern Ireland, Northumberland and West Wales.

In 2005, The Gallery won the first ever Torbay ArtsBase Community Award for bringing new artists to an exceptionally wide audience.

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