The inspiration for the Silk Mill began during the early days of the Arnolfini in Bristol when Damon, who was a student at St Mary Redcliffe School used to drop in on his way home.
At that time – before it became the uber-cool contemporary arts gallery that it is today – the Arnofini existed as a vibrant venue for a whole range of local and international multi-arts practice. It seemed as if everything was open to the spirit of creative experimentation. Established names and reputations were only part of the picture and there were equally as many local and emerging artists showing their work and engaging with visitors.
Our ethos is much broader in scope than that normally associated with a commercial or even publicly funded gallery in the usual sense. We do more than hang paintings on a wall and exhibit sculpture on the floor. Art for our exhibitions and events is usually project-based or conceived in situ but principally our doors are always open to proposals by any artist or artists group at whatever stage of their career they may be. Artists approach us, often based in the community of Frome with ideas for testing and extending their artistic creativity in a wider context than just that of direct sales into a conventional arts market-place. A successful exhibition in our terms is when artists and collaborators have clearly exploited the unique fabric and atmosphere our gallery has to offer whilst stretching their studio or normal commercial practice.
Ultimately the artist makes art for the viewer – ourselves – to appreciate and inspect and it is particularly in the gallery experience where we examine these arbitrary factors and judge the extent to which the artist has achieved his or her aim. If your perception shifts completely into the arena reserved by the artist then this is what we would define as a successful gallery experience. Whatever the cultural challenge, art is fundamental in revealing to us our interests, passions and goals.
If you would like to exhibit with us and believe you or your group’s work could be sympathetic with this arts project ethos then please contact us and our curatorial team will consider your proposal.