Black Swan reopens with SAW show

SOMERSET Art Works has joined forces with Black Swan Arts in Frome for an exhibition of SAW members’ work, which will be the first at Black Swan Arts since last year’s coronavirus lockdown.

In Pursuit of Spring has been inspired by poet Edward Thomas’ account of his journey by bicycle between London and Somerset to meet the arrival of spring in 1913.

Responding to various themes in Thomas’ book, such as hope, change and renewal, around 50 Somerset Art Works members have created artwork to illustrate the Somerset leg of the poet’s journey. He entered the county near Farleigh Hungerford and travelled west through Norton St Philip, Shepton Mallet, Wells and Glastonbury, eventually arriving on Cothelstone Hill in the Quantocks on 28th March, as the storm clouds of the Great War began to gather. Thomas was killed four years later at the Battle of Arras. The work will be displayed alongside excerpts from the book, which is published by Little Toller Books in Dorset.

During the pandemic, the natural world has been an important consolation for many of us. Now, when we all need a sense of hope and renewal, Thomas’ descriptions of springtime Somerset – the ‘noble elms’, verdant banks teaming with celandine, pennywort and cranesbill, the calls of larks and linnets – are a poignant reminder of the beauty of our county.

This exhibition brings together Thomas’ text with contemporary images and representations of Somerset, and is a wonderful way to celebrate the re-launch of Black Swan Arts – almost 108 years to the day since Thomas completed his journey.

Black Swan Arts will host an online exhibition from the beginning of April; all work will be for sale. If the Covid-19 roadmap goes to plan, the shop will reopen on 12th April, with a limited selection of artworks on show, and the full exhibition will open on 17th May.

Please visit www.blackswanarts.org.uk to view the exhibition from April and to purchase artwork, which can also be viewed on the Somerset Art Works website, www.somersetartworks.org.uk.

Pictured: Holloway by Paul Newman; I Rode on Easily, by David Brayne