Merlin Betts reflects on the opening of a new local gallery

On 29th March, Elisabeth Bauer Contemporary Art Space opened at 55 George Street. It’s an artist-led endeavour, meaning that curator Victoria Kiff wants to focus on gathering and showcasing work, not simply buying and selling it. Of course it also means she wants to do more to support and work with other artists. She is a painter herself, and examples of her creations can be seen in the gallery’s first exhibition ‘The Image of the Artist in a Paper Mirror’, running until 24th April. [Edit: now running to 29th April – make sure you check it out.]

The Long Rays of an Eternal Afternoon By Victoria Kiff

The show includes paintings, mixed media assemblage and sculpture. Its title comes from a collection of potentials long enough to form a poem: 

Mirror / Diaries and Journals / Personalia / ARE THE VISUALISED FIRE PASSING / Last word / Mad / Enchanter of This Place / The night of Doubt / ENTIRELY SILENT / Not Knowing / Undefined as Rocks / Monday Night Letter.

Artists participating in this first show are: Oliver Crowther, Rachel Glittenberg, Luke Hannam, Oska Lappin, Chris Milton, WHO Art and Design, and Victoria Kiff.

Negative Image of God by Chris Milton

Kiff was offered an opportunity to rent 55 George Street and rose to the challenge of transforming it into an attractive showspace. Discussing the meaning of ‘contemporary’, Kiff explained that to her it just meant people producing work now: current artists, sometimes fighting to get their work shown. Not collections of old masters or antiques, except perhaps where one or two might illuminate the contemporary pieces influenced by them. Such an artist-orientated and optimistic attitude is certainly a pleasing addition to Hastings’ art scene, which, while it doesn’t lack engagement with artists or optimism, can sometimes struggle to give full exposure to our wide variety of local creators. 

• Check out their website and Facebook page, and watch out for future features in this paper.

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