What is a gallery For?

House of Mitsy

Who, What, Why

The House of Mitsy is the name I use to cover everything I do. From original oil painting to selling prints creating high quality art in many different forms and community engagement. Mitsy means gift from God and beautiful inspiration, so you can see why I chose it, along with the fact I tag my work MiT.

For a long time, I have felt like a bit of an outdated fluffy old lady painting ‘lovely, or nice’ paintings; someone the art world tolerates. However, at a gallery I am running at Barnard Castle I have realised my work is not irrelevant, it is actually really relevant to the community who live or have lived or who visit the areas I work in. Traditionally we think of a gallery as somewhere to come and silently look at art, but I am not sure that is what a gallery is really about. Its somewhere to come and engage with and talk about art.

The conversations I have had in just two days have been so rich and diverse, they rarely result in a sale, but they give the gallery goer an experience of talking and being listened to that they and I really enjoy.

Art that represents a place is valuable. It does confer value to the place it represents, it creates a historic document of how that place is at a point in time, in a different way to a photograph. It provides a touch stone between time, place and people. And when shown in a place that provides space for shared talk about experience of the place something wonderful happens. Artist can provide something that is just not easily measured, and certainly impossible to be priced, but how can society ensure that this sort of space is created? I am not sure, its all a bit fuzzy, it’s not at all commercial, its ridiculously time consuming, but its socially and personally gold dust.

One way I can imagine this being facilitated is by organisations funding art to be produced, funding venues for it to be shown and funding artists to be available to just chat to the audience about the art that they produced that must mean something to them or why produce it? My old-fashioned work is easy to do this with, it brings out such a lot from people who know the places. Its in this interaction with the art that ‘stuff’ happens. Life is somehow engaged and linked to place and memory. So, this is my why. I paint because we live in an amazing world. WE LIVE IN IT. It is our live that gives meaning to the beauty, our memories that bring it to life in a painting. The painting reflects all that is good and beautiful in our memory and allows us to engage with it again. It also provides joy and hope, it engages us in a process of making sense of our place in history. This might all seem very philosophical, but it is what I have experienced and witnessed over the last three days. People talking about place and life in that place, leads to all of this.

If you have any ideas how you can help this happen, more please get in touch.

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