Art with a smile

October, Pensthorpe, by Ruth Bunnewell

October, Pensthorpe, by Ruth Bunnewell - Credit: Ruth Bunnewell

A new gallery in Norwich promises a friendly welcome and interesting art works, many of which have a Norfolk connection

NEW to St Giles, Norwich, The Gallery Norfolk launches with a three-week exhibition of oil paintings by Norfolk-born landscape painter Ruth Bunnewell. Her works – and those of her father Leon – have become one of the main attractions at the Cromer branch of The Gallery Norfolk, which opened in 2012.

“It’s very exciting to be bringing The Gallery Norfolk to Norwich,” says owner Polly Miller. “We make a point of searching out talented artists and craftspeople who offer something personal and special – and our style in the gallery is friendly and unpressured.”

Visitors to the new Norwich branch will also be able to enjoy coffee and cake at the gallery’s refectory table, with art books to leaf through.

The opening exhibition features some 30 oil paintings by Ruth Bunnewell, who trained at the Norwich School of Art and Design and who bases her paintings on her own photographs. Ruth says: “Growing up in Norfolk, I have always been drawn to the contrast between the wide open spaces of the landscape, and the tight, dark, dense groups of trees – whether they be the forests of Thetford, the woodlands that line many roads throughout the county, or the small groups of trees that stand alone in fields. The appeal is in the suddenness of the change between the light and freedom of the open fields – where one can see for miles – and the darkness and restrictiveness of being between the trees.”

Among the range of art and craftwork at the gallery are limited edition silkscreen prints, linocuts, woodcuts, engravings and scarves; photographs by Norfolk-based Dave Morris and Mark Farquharson; sculpture, wirework, etchwork, glass and ceramics; shell work from Norfolk-based Carolyn Brookes-Davies, and handmade and one-off pieces by British jewellers such as Aylsham-based Vivienne Head, plus an in-house framing service.

The Gallery Norfolk, St Giles, Norwich, NR2 1LW, is open 10am-5pm, Monday to Saturday;

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Artist Ruth Bunnewell talks about four of the paintings in her exhibition at The Gallery Norfolk

October Pensthorpe

“Pensthorpe has been a favourite place since being very young. I especially enjoy visiting now, along with my niece and nephew, and this brings home the cyclical nature of parts of life. Seeing actions that I once did at Pensthorpe, being repeated by my niece and nephew, brings a feeling of security that comes with that continuity.”

Road to Heydon

“If I had to think of one scene that best describes my impressions of Norfolk, it would be one of a B-road, edged with a line of trees, with open fields either side. I try to capture this ‘Norfolk-ness’. Perhaps also the draw to this scenery comes from the very basic aesthetics that it offers. Flat horizons and horizontal planes intersect with the vertical trees, almost forming grid-like patterns.”

Holkham Sands

“The expanse of sand, and the hugeness of the sky are challenging to capture in paint. There is almost too much there - in terms of distance that you can see - to attempt to paint, yet at the same time not enough there . . . Often though when you look for long enough, details can emerge, such as subtle changes in colour or tone, and what once appeared ‘flat’ can be full of shapes and movement and changes.”


“Whereas most children seem to eagerly await arriving at a destination at the end of a car journey, my greatest pleasure always came from being inside the car looking out at the passing scenes. This is still one of my most luxurious pleasures - with every new scene it feels that a new story is under way. This scene was taken from a photo that I took from the car window while on the north Norfolk coast road.”

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