'Loss' at Bury Art Museum

'Loss' at Bury Art Museum

01 Dec - 02 Dec

To commemorate Day With(out) Art on World AIDS Day 2017, eight artists will create new interventions in the Permanent Collection Gallery at Bury Art Museum. Collectively emphasising the theme of 'loss', paintings will be covered and concealed by a new piece of work made in direct response to the original painting. In addition, artist Jez Dolan is also dedicating a light piece to the artist Félix Gonzáles Torres in continuation of Dolan's 60/50 project. The project space at the gallery will show the collection 'Alternate Endings, Radical Beginnings' from Visual AIDS.

The gallery will have a special late opening from 5–7pm with short talks by 3 of the contributing artists. The installations will remain in the venue throughout Saturday December 2nd and will include:

Kat AuThe Walker Sisters by James Sant

This intimate portrait depicts four sisters who lived together into old age at their family home in Bury. None of the women ever married and this close-knit family group didn’t change their lifestyle over the years, with their horse-drawn carriage being a familiar but unusual sight in the town until WWII. It seems significant that this prominent local family ended with the death of the longest surviving sister, who was actually the eldest, Jane Garston. What void did the loss of each individual create? What impact did their loss have on others? They are at least memorialised in this portrait by James Sant, forever preserved in their youth.

Anna Columbine: Girl Combing Her Hair by Harold Knight

This painting is of a young woman combing her hair, though it is unclear of anything more. The colours are cool, and I think it must be the morning? The tone is sombre, or perhaps she’s contemplative... The light seems like that of a grey morning, and the black clothes could suggest something mournful. Though I’d like to think she’s contemplating the everyday; or her day ahead. Though what sort of day this might be, I don’t know. Maybe everyday is lost to her; her one ritual left is to comb her hair, in front of the broken mirror, framed by the shadows.

Lee Crocker: Calais Sands at Low Water: Poissards Collecting Bait by JMW Turner

My interpretation of Calais Sands is inspired by looking for shellfish on the coast and the loss of a close relative depicted through the sunset. Turner’s loss may have been his father, mine is my mother, although she is still alive, but because of a situation we have gone our separate ways and for a couple of years I believe I mourned her. My childhood memories are of her and my family going cockling around Poole and Sandbanks and her in makeup and beehive.


Jez DolanUntitled (Loss) 2017: Dedicated to Félix Gonzáles Torres, 1957–1996 

“Queerness is not yet here. Queerness is an ideality. Put another way, we are not yet queer. We may never touch queerness, but we can feel it as the warm illumination of a horizon imbued with potentiality. We have never been queer, yet queerness exists for us as an ideality that can be distilled from the past and used to imagine a future. The future is queerness’s domain.” – José Esteban Muñoz, 'Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity' (2009)


Gina WarburtonWar by Anna Lea Merritt

The title of the painting War refers not just to one particular conflict but shows the affect that every war in history has had on women. I worked with three women who bravely left their countries because of wider political and social reasons who are now learning English as a Second Language. These women shared objects with me which they had brought with them when relocating. These objects might not have much material value but are significant and unique to their owners. They have become symbols of memories, stories and connections to a former life which is now lost. Their survival through traumatic journeys symbolise the women’s strength after loss and hope for a better future.

Alison Erika FordeSpring Morning: Haverstock Hill by Sir George Clausen

Spring Morning: Haverstock Hill by Sir George Clausen is a painting about loss.  It is generally assumed that the central figure is a young widow en route to her husband's grave. But we can question this narrative or 'update' it. What if the female protagonist is actually visiting the grave of a female lover, a plutonic male friend, a close relative etc...? The possibilities are endless, closeness and relationships take on innumerable forms, the loss is devastating. 

Helen LindsayPortrait of Mrs O.O. Walker by Valentine Cameron Prinsep

I have chosen the portrait of Mrs Walker by Valentine Cameron Prinsep – what is she knitting? Why does she look so unhappy? There is a sense of melancholy and contemplation in this painting. Is the vivid red of the wool significant? Red is the colour of blood and it is speculated that she is knitting articles of clothing to send to soldiers fighting in the Crimean War: does it represent the loss of life on the battlefield? Knitting for the Armed Forces continues throughout history and Victorian middle and upper-class women were taught to knit from an early age, it was regarded as a suitable pursuit for girls and women, but is barely depicted in portraiture. I was taught to knit as a child by my grandmother, but it is not a skill I mastered. Now, in times of uncertainty, knitting is experiencing a revival and, inspired by Mrs Walker, I will take up this craft once more.

Stephen Walton: The Random Shot by Sir Edwin Landseer

This painting concerns consequences. The fate of the young deer is unclear, but it can be assumed at best, that difficult times are ahead. Though most don’t suffer with the level of drama shown here, loss of anyone is an awful thing. My granddad died peacefully in his sleep when he was 59. I was 9, and it was totally unexpected. I felt detached from the world for a while. He was a kind and gentle man and I wish I’d had more time to spend with him. Many of my fondest childhood memories are of him. I recall feeling that he knew everything, he was silly and used to mend watches; and I think (hope) he would have liked my drawings.   

Jennifer Holt WrightEgeria by John Henry Foley

‘She laid herself down at the foot of the mountains and melted away into tears’ – (Egeria, shroud)
The small things. A facial expression, a laugh, the unique pressure of an arm around your shoulders, a knowing look, the pitch of a voice, a comfortable silence. Beautiful, irreplaceable, indescribable, fleeting moments that haunt you with their loss whilst swallowing you whole. 

Read about our full Day With(out) Art programme here.