About Mandell's Gallery
The art world has witnessed extraordinary changes over the last fifty years. Many art galleries have come and gone but Mandell’s Gallery, at the top end of Elm Hill, has survived and in fact blossomed. This year the Allen family celebrate fifty years at the helm of this enterprising gallery – a highly-regarded fixture in the vibrant artistic life of Norwich and Norfolk.
Many of us who love art and also buy art can remember vividly the Mandell’s Gallery of yesteryear. Geoffrey Allen, always genial and smartly attired, presided over his gallery space which was indeed distinctive with its rich red velvet curtains. What might have been a slightly hushed atmosphere was often lightened by Geoffrey’s (second) wife Pauline, who together with Whisky their cat, welcomed clients into the gallery. Chat and gossip were as much part of the offer as the Art and therein lies much of the success of the business.
An astute businessman with a fondness for the paintings of the famous Norwich School, it was in 1966 that Geoffrey staged his first Norwich School show in his new gallery named after the next-door passageway – Mandell’s Court. Geoffrey and all subsequent members of the clan still ield enquiries addressed to Mr or Miss Mandell. From the word go, the 1960s design gave the Mandell’s Gallery the bonus of good light, essential in the early days when the artificial lighting was somewhat subdued.
Geoffrey’s son, John, has been involved at Mandell’s off and on for forty years and under his guidance the gallery space has been updated and much improved giving artists two large, light galleries in which to show their works. Over the last five years his daughter Rachel has joined John running the gallery and they have greatly extended the range of exhibiting artists. A glance at the list of artists on the 2016 celebratory programme includes many who can be described as the top names in East Anglia, plus others from beyond this partof the world.
The story of Mandell’s is one of both continuity and vision. I salte John, Tina and Rachel in reaching this landmark anniversary.
As part of our 50th year celebrations we have planned an exciting exhibition programme please check the Future Exhibitions page or sign up to our mailing list in the banner below.
Mandell’s Gallery Elm Hill, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 1HN +44 (0)1603 626892
Emrys Parry Solo Exhibition
5th – 25th of November 2017
Join Emrys Parry at Mandell’s Gallery, Norwich for drinks at the opening of his exhibition of recent work. Sun 5 Nov 12pm–4pm Exhibition continues until 25 Nov 2017 Mon–Sat 10am–5pm
Emrys Parry’s studio faces east and is sited on the eastern edge of East Anglia within walking distance of the bustling port of Great Yarmouth. Yet it is to the western edge of the United Kingdom and to his childhood home on the Llŷn peninsula of north-west Wales that much of his art refers. The largely Welsh speaking community of the small fishing village of Nefyn, where Emrys spent a treasured childhood, remains a potent resource for deeply held traditions and above all the distinctiveness of its people. The landscape of Llŷn is equally profound in influence, with the profile of the peaks of Yr Eifl as seen across the bay from Nefyn recurring in his art as if witness to the people he has physically, but not psychologically, left behind. Once rooted, the psyche of a place and its people can remain indelible in the memory across a lifetime and from one lifetime to another.
For Emrys Parry, the perception of the visual world as explored in visual art can be understood with the clarity and complexity of a language; deeply-rooted stories can be told and communicated through art as if ‘in the flesh’. As often as he can, Emrys returns to Nefyn in person, sketchbook in hand, to provide fuel for his memories. A few deft lines on paper can aid recall; back in the studio these aide-mémoires become worked and reworked, evoking strong emotion in their wake. He draws on both living memory and ancient tradition, sometimes in the same gesture of brush or charcoal, as if in a single breath. Along with particular events or features of a contemporary world, memories of Celtic mythology and legend are a visible presence, not as direct illustration or a form of nostalgia but as an integral element in the schematic patterning of the landscape and its features, echoing the rhythms and patterns of the music and poetry of ancient tradition.
The process of recording this accumulated experience in paintings and drawings is shaped by the working and reworking of correspondences and intersections between people and place, past and present. The visual properties of line, colour, tone, shape and pattern reflect an interplay between the abstract and figurative. An exploration of abstract rhythms and patterns is also explored through the fascination with patterned forms such as the snake, the spiral and the labyrinth. Decorative elements sometimes work as motifs which express a network of correspondence between the visible world and the inner eye. There is also a suggestion of Welsh quilting motifs, recalling Emrys’ sympathy for such textile traditions but also referencing the landscape figured as a patchwork quilt.
Many paintings describe the line which marks the meeting of the ancient granite hills of Yr Eifl with the sea and the sky. The zig-zag lines which weave between forms sometimes thicken to become the hills, thus information is pared down, revealing a structure which resonates with the flat planes and geometric framing of the painting itself.
*Gwyn A. Williams has described the Welsh as a people who ‘have lived by making and remaking themselves in generation after generation, usually against the odds, usually within a British context’. Although it is perhaps a cliché to suggest that increasing age and distance bring us closer to that which is far away, as in childhood memories or a place once intimately known, in Emrys’ case this is quite true, as if increasing profundity of reflection is rendered in the present with ever-greater richness and complexity.
*Gwyn A. Williams (1985) When Was Wales? Penguin Books.
Click here for a great review by NCAS of Emrys Parry’s exhibition.
The Two Of Us
Us Two Together
For Long As Forever Is
This Place II
This Place I