Chippenham Art Heist

If Devizine was a voyage of discovery to begin with, I still manage to find talented folk hiding in this rural county, but often it’s nice to return to recurring events we’ve featured before….

Like yesterday, I put up a preview for the annual Female of the Species fundraiser, today I paid a worthwhile trip to the Yelde Hall in Chippenham, where a group of local artists have annually exhibited their wares since 2019, in what can be best described as “alternative art.” It’s become something of a fixture on our calendar.

Art Heist is this year’s title, Breakout was last years, and while there’s one new artist, Rae Melody from Trowbridge, exhibiting her colourful typographical graffiti-fashioned pieces, the returning artists have some spectacular new works too, you really need to see firsthand to get the full impact of.

A worthwhile visit then, particularly if you’re a fan of either pop art, graffiti, underground comix, or just desire a contemporary and thought-provoking experience from a gallery. The show opened today Tuesday 7th, and runs until 21st June, open from 10am-4pm daily, except Sundays.

So, totalling eight artists now, the Yelde Hall is chockful of some impressive art for those thinking outside the box. Expressionist Emma Sally, clown themed underground comix styled Si Griffiths, the weird and wonderful world of Montague Tott, the pop art meets Chagall of Mike Long, the impressive and poignant paintings of Clifton Powell, the awesome masks of Helen Osbourne-Swann, aforementioned Rae Melody and the only artist here not local, US’s amazing Jimmer Willmott, with his obsession for donut-headed cops!

At times amusing, at times poignant and thought-provoking, there’s meaning and depth to everything on display, sometimes clear to comprehend with a powerful message, or open to the viewer’s interpretation, it’s the stimulating ride through art you rarely get with average portraits and landscapes. Think 3D masks protruding from the canvas, think explosions of cultural references, think social comment, think of a serial killer Charlie Brown, or psychedelic swirls of reading a 3D comix without the specs, and you’re only teetering on the edge of what you’ll find there.

If you’re feeling wealthly bring a cheque book, as pieces are reasonably priced, but window shoppers are encouraged, and it simply refuses to come off as the hoity toity confines of an archetypal gallery. Here’s a group of exceptional local artists cutting out the middle man, high-fiving the DIY ethos of counterculture and putting on their own show for the love of it; which ticks all my boxes.

I’m keeping it brief to avoid spoilers, but have to say, this is a free art show worthy of your attention even if you’ve only a passing interest in art. To be honest, I’ve not got the tits to be what social media defines as “an influencer” but I know what I like, and I like telling you about it! So, do yourself a favour and pay it a visit.


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