In 2002 one of my favourite contemporary authors Jeanette Winterson wrote an essay, published in The Guardian, on the importance and relevance of art in contemporary society and began by recalling an historic encounter: “An American lady travelling to Paris in 1913…asked Ezra Pound what he thought art was for. Pound replied: ‘Ask me what a rose bush is for’.”
I am not sure if Pound would be too pleased but I can say with a degree of certainty that the new art show at Tenby Museum and Art Gallery, Timestones, serves two distinct purposes – to exhibit a variety of paintings of the town, ranging in date from 1795 through to 2011 (many of which have not been seen in a public gallery before) and to use the art as historical artefact, recording the developments and changes seen by the beautiful seaside town over the years.
The exhibition, which features such artists as John Knapp-Fisher, Dorothy Morse-Brown, Mark Raggett, James Priddey and Eric Bradforth, has been arranged in a way that takes the visitor on a circuitous historic perambulation around the town, starting at the Norton and culminating on The Green. On this visit, you will see historic buildings and landmarks and there are interpretive texts detailing the history of the buildings seen in the pictures.
The pictures were selected by two Year 10 students from Greenhill School, Tia Lynwood and Lauren Roberts, as part of the national scheme, Kids in Museums Taking Over Museums Day Wales. This allowed the two students to get actively involved up to their elbows in the curation and hang of a full art show and also allowed them to see how art can be used beyond the aesthetic.
The exhibition, which was officially opened by BBC journalist Abigail Neal, runs until Saturday 19 December and I heartily recommend it to anyone with either an interest in fine art or in learning about historic aspects of the town.