Visual Art Network - Open for Art  

The Visual Art Network (VAN) Charity 1087383 is run by our volunteer members.

VAN STREET GALLERY - Middle Level, DARWIN SHOPPING CENTRE, SHREWSBURY. 

Promote your work, exhibitions, workshops and events here to a wider audience. Join our growing network of creative people all with an interest in visual arts. Meet other artists through volunteering.

What's On?

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20th Anniversary...

16 Sep 2019 - 23 Nov 2019

Exhibited at the FBC Manby Bowdler Gallery and the Chapel Bar, Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury. SY3 8FT  The Visual Art Network celebrate 20 years established as a charity with a diverse selection of current... Read more

Winter Exhibition

4 Nov 2019 - 28 Jan 2020

VAN Gallery, Middle Level, Darwin Shopping Centre, Shrewsbury.  Colourful and broad range of Members' new work for sale. Unique handcrafted cards, jewellery, paintings, photography, ceramics, glass,... Read more

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Prize winner

Congratulations to Wendy Riddick who won our first prize in the VAN Winter Exhibition competition at the University Centre Shrewsbury.  The winning work entitled 'Through The Eye of the Needle', is a complex intricate textile piece.  Wendy received her £250 first prize at the Private View event on 11/10/2019.  Wendy  trained at Goldsmiths and subsequently worked as an archaeological illustrator. Now a Shrewsbury based textile artist, she has had several solo exhibitions and has produced work for exhibitions at Powis Castle 2015 and Berrington Hall, 2017.  The competition was judged by Jonathon from The Soden Collection Contemporary Art and Sculpture gallery, 80 Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury.


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Featured Artist

Sheila Walthew 

For many years I have worked privately as a Fine Art Conservator ... I'm a picture restorer ..and plenty of times I've been asked "what is art, and what's it for?"

It's a fair question, and as I've studied fine art formally during a Foundation Course in Art and Design, a first degree in Fine Art (printmaking) and a Masters Degree in Fine Art Conservation, I guess I've thought about it quite deeply.

I think art (well that could be anything) I think Fine Art (painting, sculpture and photography ... oh and installations and conceptual art and land art ... ) ... and more widely, Creativity ... is communication. It's simple, that's what art (anything, making a model of Tracey's Island) is all about. We want to tell each other things in a way that doesn't include words, some people use dance (is it art? it wasn't on my Foundation Course) or jewellery (that was), or dresses (yes, frocks too), and we're all communicating something.

What it is we're saying is Another Question. Some people know what they want to say, and the people they're saying it to hear the message clearly and understand, other times it's more complicated. Sometimes we don't know what it is we're saying, only that we must do what we're doing (Close Encounters?) ... sometimes, it isn't clear what we're saying til we've made something and it speaks on its own, and it tells us about ourselves ... now that's really interesting. I paint the landscape in Shropshire, I'm aware that I'm saying that I think it's beautiful, that it's alive and has a character of its own, that it's character is dependent of our own human character, though we might manage the land and manipulate it for our own ends. Maybe I watched too many Eastern European Fairy Tales on TV when I was little. So what happens when you stand in front of a piece of art? It's the aesthetic response ... is it what the artist intended? Did the artist need to tell you in a short essay beside the artwork what it is they're trying to communicate and what it is you're meant to be feeling? Often the message is clear, as in narrative paintings of centuries ago, and sometimes it's simple ... "this is beautiful" ... "she is beautiful" ... "this happened to me" ... "war is hell" ... sometimes it's more complicated, and our response, like the original message, can't be put into words ... cubist paintings ... what do you think? Simply put, art is anything an artist makes. What an artist makes is art, and as we all have something different to say, this seems to account for all the different things, good, bad and indifferent, that comes under the heading of "art". So what do you have on your walls? Original works of art can be bought at very little cost, and what William Morris (Arts and Crafts Movement) said is a good guide "have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful" and beauty, as we know, is in the eye of the beholder.


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Chris Williams

Chris draws inspiration, for much of her work, from the beautiful Shropshire landscape in the Bridgnorth area of the county.She studied Fine Art (BA Hons) in Newcastle and at the Laird School of Art. She paints using mainly oils, and captures the essence of  delightful country lanes and rural fields with her refreshing use of light and carefully observed detail. She draws on a daily basis to inform her work using graphite, charcoal and pastel.  

See Chris' Profile

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