Bob Abley Art Gallery and Norman Cornish Exhibition An exhibition showcasing work by Norman Cornish, the internationally recognised artist who captures the cultural history of the North East, is attracting […]
An exhibition showcasing work by Norman Cornish, the internationally recognised artist who captures the cultural history of the North East, is attracting visitors from around the world.
To get an idea of the response to Norman Cornish: Coming Home, an exhibition at the Bob Abley Gallery, in Spennymoor Town Hall, you need only look at Trip Advisor. Among the comments on the attraction ratings website are, “an unexpected treat”, “breath-taking” and “a hidden gem”. These come as no surprise about work described by broadcaster Melvyn Bragg as having “significance and permanence”. The exhibition’s title couldn’t be more fitting – the world-renowned artist, known for depicting miners’ working and social lives, was born in Spennymoor in 1919 – and its centrepiece is a replica of his studio, on loan from Beamish Museum. It’s bringing visitors from all over the world, keen to acquire an artwork for themselves or even just admire the stunning pieces.
“Most of them have never been seen or made available before,” says a gallery spokesman. “We’ve had people from San Francisco and all over the world coming to buy art from the gallery. We’ve even had an anthropologist from Ohio University and someone from Durham University who are looking to do a study on the art gallery and how it captures the social history of life in the North East.” In addition to work by Norman Cornish, the gallery showcases that of other local artists – an average of between 20 and 25 at any one time. The current crop includes painter and cartoonist Alfie Joey, who is also a radio presenter; self-taught artist Charlie Parker, who specialises in the human form; and mining artist Karen Thompson. Many who visit the gallery end up going home with a contemporary piece. “People come to look at the Norman Cornish, but end up spending £150 on a local artist’s piece of work,” says the gallery spokesman.
The gallery is run by volunteers and entrance is free. Anyone wishing to volunteer is encouraged to get in touch.
*Norman Cornish: Coming Home, is open from Monday-Friday, 12-4pm and 10am-2pm on Saturdays
Bob Abley Art Gallery, High Street, Spennymoor, DL16 6DG