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The Towner Gallery Eastbourne

Yesterday our art course teacher organised a trip to the Towner gallery having pre-booked a viewing of the works held back in storage. I arrived in Eastbourne by train as I enjoy the journey along the South Downs Way culminating in the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head.

Unfortunately communing with nature was rudely interrupted as the centre of Eastbourne was a construction site.

Outside a main road was being dug up and the noise of diggers was deafening.

There were no signs, no map in the station and pedestrianised access routes through the construction maze, so the gallery could only be found through local knowledge.

On arrival we were led to the first floor into a large room with racks of the stored paintings.

We saw Duncan Grants and and a Vanessa Bell who dwelled in nearby Charleston: a William Nicholson, the naive fisherman paintings of Alfred Wallis and two of Christopher Wood who died tragically young,  all of the St Ives School: there was their most valuable item a Edward Burra whose works can now fetch £500,000.

The new curator Joe Hill was at the Batley Gallery which had a Francis Bacon. One can only speculate what treasures lie in museum racks.

On the second floor was a space called the Weather Garden with sculptures created into a meditative area by local weather data being processed to fluctuate the light.

It did nothing for me, nor did a silent film next door about the French Judiciary at work, hardly the stuff of Netflix!

In the absence of funding galleries like Towner have a tough challenge. Personally and perhaps controversially I would sell the Burra to fund the gallery. Here is a link to his life and works – Edward Burra

Walking back to the station I saw a bus going back to my destination.

Climbing aboard I went to the top level where at the front you had even more spectacular views of the sea and countryside. I could only conclude that nature does a better job than the Weather Garden when it comes to contemplating.

About Alice Mansfield

A graduate of the Slade, Alice has painted and written about art all her life. With her children now having now grown up and departed the nest, she recently took up sculpture. More Posts