Friday, February 29, 2008

Gasp - The Metal!

-Brett Bard-

The grand opening of the Kevin Hough Gallery in the old cinema at 55 Church Street on February 1st was a revelatory scene of joy and celebration as people mingled and marvelled at the magical metal sculptures on display. Flowers on the walls, torment in a chair, curiously positioned balls, and bicycles everywhere.

The collective work stands as a totem to the exuberant creative spirit of local artist Kevin Hough, who has spent the past year concocting sculptures from his eclectic accumulation of scrap metal. Kevin has always been inspired by materials found in his surrounding environment: in London, it was junk from tips in the street from which he used to make masks, and here it is old metal from local farm scrap heaps. Bizarrely, Kevin hates welding the metal together himself, so he leaves this technical aspect to Marius Steyl, welder extraordinaire, without whose help things would literally fall apart. Together, the duo under Kevin’s uncompromising artistic direction fought tooth and nail to assemble appropriate pieces for the inauguration.

Now for the first time this generous gallery space perfectly unifies and complements Kevin’s current body of work, which is predominantly metal sculpture.

The gallery is available to exhibit other suitable art, and already there is a growing list of international artists who will bring their work to view in the main hall. Kevin also plans to open a sculpture garden outside the back, and a fully operational ceramic studio on the premises later this year.

The building has been transformed into a gallery of clout, glowing pure white, both inside and out. The old double doors are now centralised and the windows have been cleaned to allow unobstructed deep interior views. A red carpet adorns the floor of the entrance which is level with the extended platform in front of the fa├žade. Here the sun set radiantly as well wishers indulged in delicious snacks and wine supplied by friends and supporters.

Rarely do local events spark such widespread enthusiasm and encouragement across the board, which can only be attributed to a mutual appreciation for the irrepressible force of artistic expression through unshackled imagination. Farmers, in particular, are amused by the extraordinary adaptation of implements normally used in agriculture into something with an entirely different meaning and purpose.

Visitors to the town captivated by the rusted metal sculptures dotted around town can happily feed their curiosity when lured into the tranquil new premises dedicated to the arts.

John Southern has been applauded as a patron of the arts in providing the space and backup for Kevin. And so the Kevin Hough Gallery joins the many exciting new ventures that will set Prince Albert in a bigger sphere of world notice.

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