Artist turns Twickenham home into modern art gallery
Buying a work of art for our home should be one of the most exciting decisions we’ve ever made, but too often it turns out to be a daunting prospect.
Choosing a work of art that will be on permanent display can be a nerve-wracking process, with worries of the wrong style, scale, frame or color often high on our list of concerns.
Fears like this can lead us to make a safe, generic choice – something curator and art consultant Kath Wood is passionate about challenging.
Kath, who runs the visual arts agency Kath & Company and has worked with artists, galleries and museums for over 30 years, is the creator of the new Art At Home initiative, showcasing seasonal collections of stylish art. , affordable and original from living artists.
Instead of showcasing it in an innocuous, whitewashed gallery space, it will instead be on display in his newly renovated home, an early 19th-century house that is part of the Riverside Conservation Area of Twickenham.
“There are so many choices that people often choose to buy a print, which is an easy first option,” says Kath, who worked closely with Rafael Vinoly Architects on the design of the exhibition space. Firstsite in Colchester.
“However, I want to make a case for spending the same amount of money on an original work of art – a real painting or a real sculpture. I want to help demystify the art buying process and, in our post-containment world, attract a new population of original contemporary art buyers by providing a new relaxed meeting point in a true physical space.
To celebrate the company’s launch, Kath invited 12 artists over 12 weekends, between Saturday and October 17, to host a series of two-day sales exhibitions of paintings and sculptures, ceramics and textiles.
Programming includes glass artist Effie Burns, watercolor artist Ben Coode-Adams, geometric sculptures by Jo Chapman, and works by sculptor and installation artist Permindar Kaur.
Also on display will be the super-realistic seascapes and arboreal landscapes of painter Harvey Taylor, kitsch-satirical ceramic figurines by Karen Densham and subversive knitted pieces by Freddie Robins. Prices for works of art start at around £ 125 and go up to around £ 5,000.
By having the artists exhibited in her own home, Kath hopes to highlight the potential of art in our domestic life and interior design, and inspire those looking to shake up, refresh and rethink their existing decor.
The project was a long-term dream for Kath, who could finally afford to move from Essex to London when she inherited some cash – buying, in January 2020, the perfect property for serve as both a private home and exhibition space.
The Corner House, on Sion Road, dates from 1810 and served as the British Lion Brewery, before later becoming a boutique and tearooms, and finally a house in the mid-1970s.
“I loved that the building had both a social and a private purpose over the years, and that I am fortunate not only to live there, but also to reopen it to the public”, explains Kath.
Kath’s eclectic collection of over 50 works of art is on display throughout the house – a mix of pieces she’s handpicked as well as gifts from artists over the years – including pieces from the chefs British leaders Maggi Hambling and Howard Hodgkin.
Soon, of course, the house will become the backdrop for an ever-changing exhibition of avant-garde pieces across all mediums, and Kath’s enthusiasm for welcoming art buyers to the first time is palpable.
She will encourage them to chat with the artists, who will be on hand to answer any questions about their materials and inspiration. “You should never feel like you have to buy right away,” Kath warns.
“Responding intuitively to a room is a great sign, but you have to think about scale and how it will work in your own space, and if there’s a particular spot you want to fill. But if you truly fall in love with a room, then it will have a place with you wherever you go.
How did Kath do it?
Adapting the three-story property to its new dual purpose and restoring its flow was an eight-month project.
Kath moved two interior stairs to open up the ground floor space and reconfigured one of the three first floor bedrooms into a living room / library overlooking York House Gardens, with the River Thames and the Twickenham Yacht Club within walking distance. not beyond.
The basement, once used as utility space, has had its ceiling raised and now serves as a gallery / project space.
To her delight, the house was sold with its original living room bar mirror, and Kath ordered a custom piece of glass for the front door, including beer glasses and part of a old census, to refer more to the history of the property.
As a self-proclaimed maximalist, Kath has ensured that color takes center stage. “I wanted the house to look like a jewelry box, so each space has a different feel, but is connected by color,” she says.
Interior walls feature 15 eco-friendly colors from littlegreene.com’s Colors of England range, which draw inspiration from original Georgian, Regency and Victorian interiors.
Shades include off-white Flint in the studio space, Eggplant Cordoba on the front door, Blue-gray Arquerite in the bathroom, and Tangy green Verditer on the kitchen cabinets.
In the living room / library (its walls painted in pale blue Bone China), the lavishly floral Eden Queen circular rug, designed by Marcel Wanders for moooi.com, is inspired by the still lifes of 17th-century Dutch masters.
The room is furnished with pieces collected over the years, as well as those purchased especially for the home – for example the raffia sofa by Charles Rutherfoord; American chairs in golden velvet with high back from the 1950s; a baroque style mirror and the first Georgian chairs seated in rush.
Being green was also a priority for Kath. She recycled wherever she could and added durable features like wool insulation.
The New American Kitchen was designed by Milestone Eco Design, with countertops made from recycled Bombay Sapphire Gin glass.
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