Under the Counter, Smiths Row 18 Sep – 30 Oct 2010

Back in April I mentioned this exhibition, which I’d just invited the maker collective Intelligent Trouble to work on with me. It’s been fantastically realised. All of the Intelligent Trouble collective and particularly Helen Carnac put a lot of thought and energy into it. The theme was jewellery in conversation and we programmed events ans activities around the show to encourage those conversations, about jewellery and its meaning to us in our every day lives, as well as special occasions.

The exhibiting artists were: Roseanne Bartley (Australia/New Zealand), Elizabeth Callinicos (UK), Helen Carnac (UK)*, Lin Cheung (UK)*, David Clarke (UK)*, David Gates (UK)*, James Evans (UK/Canada), Benjamin Lignel (France), Timothy Information Ltd. *Denotes members of Intelligent Trouble in 2010.

It was on the Smiths Row website, but that is no longer live (the trust closed in 2018), so here are a few installation images. The display furniture was made by David Gates, who also worked collaboratively on the display “A Curious Exchange”.

The way that the exhibition uses the space celebrated the way I feel about this lovely building in Bury St Edmunds, the Market Cross. It’s an unconventional yet completely successful gallery space, with masses of natural light, a clear wide-open yet warm feeling, and a modest architectural charm – it’s not in your face,  but very gracious. Every exhibition I planned for there made me think so much about the space and how to use it to showcase contemporary art and craft. It changes a lot through the seasons in terms of light and feeling – sometimes you have to work to counteract that, but there are myriads of ways to do it.

During the planning of this exhibition it was decided, entirely separately, to rename the gallery from Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery to Smiths Row. It was extremely apt to open the new programme under this name with a show that featured silversmithing and jewellery. I feel sad that this gallery is no longer in operation, as I’m sure many others do.

One of my favourite images of all from my time at Smiths Row:
this seasonal leaflet cover, showing collaborative work by David Clarke and David Gates photographed by Helen Carnac.

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