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Ferens Art Gallery (Kingston upon Hull)

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City: Kingston upon Hull

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      07.07.2004 02:24
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      I recently went to stay in Kingston-Upon-Hull for a couple of days to unwind from life pressures! Get the violins out, I know! When I was invited out for lunch I never expected to be taken to an Art Gallery. I am not one for art I must admit but I was quite pleasantly surprised. Large spaceous wooden floors and walls just jam packed with paintings from all ages. The impressive Ferens Art Gallery was opened in 1927 and extended in 1991,.It won the Museum of the Year Award in 1993 for the Best Museum of Fine and Applied Art. The gallery is smack bang in the center of Hull so can easily be found if you have been shopping. At either side of the gallery are entrances to the marine side Princes Quay so you should be able to find it easily. It claims to have one of the largest collections of regional art spanning back to the 16th century to the present day, from Great Britain and Europe. Large permanent collection displays are complemented by a busy temporary exhibition programme of historic and contemporary work. An innovative series of live and performance art events take place in the unique 'Live Art Space'. The Gallery's education programme ranges from art workshops to artists' talks and teacher?s courses, and caters for every age group. Facilities: Cafe, Shop, Disabled Access, Tours, Lectures, Educational activities including artist?s talks and art workshops. The gallery is open Monday to Saturday from 10am til 5pm. The gallery is only open 1.30pm til 4.30pm on Sundays. The gallery's has a small café called 'La Loggia' which offers a simple menu of good food and drink in relaxed and cultural setting. The menu includes sandwiches, salads and jacket potatoes. The children?s menu costs just £2.15 to include a sandwich, a piece of fruit, a drink and a bag of Walkers Crisps. Not too bad I thought. My mother in law and I chose a simple prawn salad bowl which cost £4.50 or thereabouts. My brother in law chose a Coronation Chicken Style Sandwich called ?The Reprise?. The Bread Cake was jam packed with the Chicken mixture which contained freshly toasted Almonds and huge chunks of chicken. For the four (including Zach!) the bill was just over fifteen pounds. Quite pleasant as a treat! In the summer visitors can eat on the terrace. You can overlook the Marina and also the Princes Quay shopping Centre. 'La Loggia' is open Monday-Saturday 10.30am-4.30pm. The gallery's permanent collection of paintings and sculptures starts from as far back as the 1600?s. Drawings and Water-colours, Live art, Local History, Maritime Art, Paintings, Photography, Prints, Sculpture, Video art all grace the stage at Ferens. Highlights include masterpieces by Frans Hals, Antonio Canaletto, Stanley Spencer, David Hockney, Helen Chadwick and Peter Howson. Although some of you may recognise the names I have given, (I recognise Hockney, but thats about it!) many of the artists are from the Humberside and North East region so perhaps not that well known. There is also a collection of paintings by Frederick Elwell R.A who lived in the nearby town of Beverley for many years. His paintings, including ?the first born? which depicts a mother and father embracing their newborn baby in a traditional romantic style, are on permanent display in one of the gallery?s smaller rooms. I actually received the picture on a card when  3; gave birth to Zach. There is also a huge life size painting of a lion and his mate. You find yourself faced with it as you walk towards the café. Quite beautiful!. The classic portrait is evident throughout the gallery, aging back as far as the 1600?s. There are also some beautiful paintings of biblical style scenes, with cherubs and angels. If you prefer the more modern painting, there are plenty. One particular, called Three Holes, I think, is simple a black mound on the wall with, you guessed it, three holes in the middle. Odd but ingenious! A visit to the Ferens wouldn?t be complete without taking the time out to view these superb oil paintings. Below I have listed a couple of exhibitions which are current or upcoming. W. Barns-Graham has an exhibition until the 27th June 2004. W. Barns-Graham has been a key figure since the 40?s, associated with the group of artists of St Ives. She continues to produce landcape paintings and prints as well of scenes of the natural world. with characteristic freshness and excitement. She says her work is "an expression of joy and a celebration of life". The exhibition includes her work over the last ten to fifteen years and also includes some earlier works. Until 1st August 2004 Will Maclean has a peculiar exhibition. Maclean is best known for his work that refers to the mythologies of the sea and the relics of our culture. In Drift Works, Maclean continues to explore his fascination with museums and the presentation of objects. His magical and mysterious art has a modern edge as he incorporates new technologies and materials, juxtaposing paintings, sculptures and box constructions with sound and digital animation. The exhibition includes a major new work 'Cod Requiem', a haunting video piece whic h explores the dire plight of the North Sea fishermen. There is Childrens gallery as a permanent exhibition within the Ferens gallery. As the name suggests the Childrens gallery is aimed at children aged 6-10 for use as part of school and family visits. Teachers can get resources for teaching from the gallery on request. It also has much to offer slightly younger children but unfortunately, due to the day we visited being in half term, we could not get near to have a look!! One day perhaps! From the responses of the children who were actually involved, there was sheer enjoyment all round! The gallery is said to be ?designed to change and evolve to meet users' needs?, grandchildren and grandparents alike are sure to find something to spark their interest and curiosity. The gallery has been created in close conjunction with local schools and teachers to ensure a worthwhile experience. There is also a provision for Children with special needs so no one needs to miss out! Except us, who couldn?t get near!!. To assist the review I have just detailed some of the features we would have seen: A special, themed display of artworks from the Ferens' permanent collection, interpreted for children. Braille and sign language. A Ferens the Gallery Cat 'touch screen' computer interactive, introducing the Gallery and 'arty terms' using a collection of entertaining and challenging games. Funded by the Friends of the Ferens Art Gallery. Audio guides and games to encourage creative thinking. Three-dimensional and tactile versions of paintings for visually impaired children. Costumes, 'feely fabrics' and props that appear in paintings, for handling and exploration. Comfy Cushions - the clever seats with a dual function, incorporating a 'hunt the details' game! &# 77;ichael Underwood launched the Ferens' Children's Gallery in January 2000. The Childrens Art Gallery was created with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and additional support from the Friends of the Ferens, their own fan club type thing. As for facilities, the gallery is great. I had Zach and the baby changing room was cleanand roomy. My mother in law is wheel-chair bound and finds no problems getting about throughout the gallery. There are lifts to other floors, if necessary. There is a little gift shop where you can buy cards taken from the paintings although there are alot of themore tacky touristy presents. Still, it is very pleasant. The staff are polite and helpful, and readily available with a smile. A pleasant hour or even a couple of hours can be spent looking at the art in this gallery. As I said, and can probably tell, I am completely ignorant to art but found it very enjoyable. Well worth a visit, because even if you don?t spend very long there, you haven?t spent a penny! Thank you for reading! Kerry xx

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