Harley Gallery to host new exhibitions by two leading female artists

Romilly Saumarez-Smith's work is to be exhibited soon at Harley Gallery
Romilly Saumarez-Smith's work is to be exhibited soon at Harley Gallery

The Harley Gallery, one of the region’s leading contemporary art spaces, has announced two major new exhibitions for April.

Based on the historic Welbeck estate in North Nottinghamshire, you will soon be able to see new exhibitions at the gallery, launching in April and running through to June, by two female artists who are bringing their work to the East Midlands for the first time. Although different in content and style, what these exhibitions share is the theme of reworking.

You can see Sylvie Franquet's exhibition at Harley Gallery

You can see Sylvie Franquet's exhibition at Harley Gallery

In an age where we are told to recycle, upcycle and celebrate what already exists, there could not be a more pertinent time for these two artists to be displaying their work.

Belgian-born artist Sylvie Franquet is known for unpicking and remaking old tapestries. As a multimedia collage artist, Sylvie’s fine art practice spans needlework, textiles and rock sculpture.

She combines classical imagery with a punk aesthetic. Her show reCollecting, at The Harley Gallery takes inspiration from a huge variety of objects collected by the Dukes of Portland and

their families, in particular the women. These women collected for the excitement of the acquisition, but also to learn about the world and to understand more about natural history and

the sciences that were coming into being.

London-based artist, Romilly Saumarez-Smith takes metal detecting finds – everyday bronze remnants of history found in great quantity all over Britain. Each of the pieces have at their core Roman, Anglo-Saxon or Medieval metalwork, discarded hundreds of years ago.

They have lain underground for hundreds of years and Romilly uses them to make time capsules, casting new light on old stories. The discarded shards of history are given new life to continue stories that would otherwise have been forgotten.

After a neurological condition left her paralysed from the neck down, Romilly works with three jewellers who act as translators for the work that Romilly has imagined. Her exhibition- Loss, Rediscovery and Rearrangement - is a display of beautiful and intricate boxes, rings and knife handles.

Director of The Harley Gallery and Trustee of The Harley Foundation, Lisa Gee said: “2019 is the gallery’s 25th anniversary and it’s a year where we see once again the wealth of talent and individuality of artists currently working in the UK today.

"What these two exhibitions celebrate is the work of two women who started out in life as one thing and then later on turned to making art using metal detecting finds and tapestries. There’s an excitement in seeing how the discarded can be reinvented in entirely unexpected ways. That is what artists can do. They can make us look again, re-assess what we thought we knew.”

Romilly Saumarez-Smith, Loss, Rediscovery and Rearrangement and Sylvie Franquet, reCollecting are launching on April 6, and run through until June 23.

Both exhibitions are free to enter and can been seen Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.