Glyndebourne press release



Glyndebourne’s Gallery 94 launches Forces of Nature, an online exhibition celebrating women artists

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Glyndebourne is launching its third online exhibition this summer – an all-women show titled Forces of Nature that will run from Saturday 19 June until 31 August 2021.

The visual arts have been an integral part of the Glyndebourne experience since the inception of its annual summer opera festival in 1934. The company curates regular exhibitions of contemporary art and sculpture, many of which take place in Gallery 94, a purpose-built exhibition gallery located inside the opera house.

Forces of Nature is Glyndebourne’s first all-women group exhibition. Bringing together new works on paper and paintings, the show explores wo(man’s) relationship with nature, our fascination with its beauty and forms, its power and our fears about its current degradation.

The exhibiting artists are Lesley Birch, Kate Boucher, Katie Brookes, Morag Caister, Lara Cobden, Linda Felcey, Christabel Forbes, Jelly Green, Melanie Goemans, Tyga Helme, Linda Jamieson, Kathryn Johnson, Rosie Lascelles, Esther Donaldson Nyandwi, Jayne Sandys-Renton and Victoria Sebag, as well as Michele Fletcher and Kathryn Maple, who both won prizes in the John Moore’s Painting Prize 2021.

Also included are a selection of photographs of the Glyndebourne gardens taken by the pioneering German photographer Ilse Bing who visited the opera house in 1937. Two of the exhibited photographs will be available to purchase through Glyndebourne Editions. Both limited-edition gelatin prints will be boxed, numbered and issued with an authenticity certificate signed by Glyndebourne’s Executive Chairman, Gus Christie.

After an illustrious career working in Paris for the likes of Vogue, Adam, Marchal, and the American Harper’s Bazaar, Bing would go on to settle in New York after having to flee Nazi-occupied France. She eventually gave up photography and went on to explore other mediums including poetry, line drawings and collage.

Nerissa Taysom, Curator at Glyndebourne said:

‘In a year of lockdowns, nature has become a guiding force for us all. For many artists, this has meant observing what’s on their doorstep, within walking distance or in their memory. Forces of Nature brings together 19 extraordinary female artists to explore their intimate and sometimes surprising perspectives on the natural world, from quiet observations of seasonal change and a reverence for the vastness of trees, skies and seas, to works about the complexity and strangeness of the natural world, its potential danger and our vital need to protect it. We hope this exhibition brings you joy, urges you to rethink the role nature plays in our lives and psyches and go away with a renewed appreciation for the power of the artist’s hand in capturing both its beauty and strength.’

Also being presented as part of the Forces of Nature group show is a real-world exhibition of nine sculptures by Halima Cassell MBE. These will be installed around the Glyndebourne gardens to be viewed by visitors to the 2021 Glyndebourne Festival, which takes place between 20 May and 29 August. This will be Cassell’s first major exhibition of work since being recognised for her Outstanding Services to Art in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List.

Cassell has a distinctive sculptural syntax, integrating biomorphic forms and complex surface patterns, referencing her fascination for nature and the patterns of her Islamic heritage. Although clay remains her starting point, she now works in a variety of other materials, including iron, jesmonite and concrete.  She has created four new, site-specific works for Glyndebourne, referencing the organic forms she discovered when first visiting the venue two years ago.

Commenting on her sculptures, Cassell says, ‘When I started my work in 1995, people who saw it thought it was made by a man. It was through the physical appearance, the strength, look and authority of the form, and its heavily carved contours and surfaces… The real importance for me was the perceived strength of the work itself, and that it was me (a small, slightly built Asian girl) who made it. I like the idea of being strong through my work’.

Cassell’s work will be exhibited alongside a number of permanent sculptures in the Glyndebourne gardens – Draped Reclining Woman by Henry Moore, Nic Fiddian-Green’s Fire, and Triangles 5 (Bridge) by Nicholas Hare, which is on display for another year.

Forces of Nature online exhibition launch on 19 June at 

Glyndebourne Festival 2021 runs from 20 May – 29 August. Sculpture by Halima Cassell will be on display all summer for visitors to the event.

Please find Forces of Nature press imagery here.


About Gallery 94

The visual arts have always been an integral part of the Glyndebourne experience. Cover designs for the Festival Programme have featured eminent artists including David Hockney, Howard Hodgkin, Eileen Cooper, Anish Kapoor, Grayson Perry, Mary Fedden, Fiona Rae and Chris Ofili.

Gallery 94 is Glyndebourne’s contemporary art gallery. It holds regular exhibitions of contemporary art and sculpture in its purpose-built gallery and across Glyndebourne’s gardens. Its primary focus is to champion Sussex artists. The gallery also hosts Glyndebourne’s annual Tour Art Competition and funded residencies. The 2021 exhibition programme includes a group all-women exhibition ‘Forces of Nature’ and major opera inspired exhibitions by Tom Hammick and sculptor, Halima Cassell MBE.

You can now follow Gallery 94 on Instagram @artatglyndebourne.

About Glyndebourne

Glyndebourne is recognised internationally as one of the great opera houses; a reputation that stems from a passion for artistic excellence encapsulated in founder John Christie’s insistence on doing ‘not the best we can do but the best that can be done anywhere.

John and his opera singer wife, Audrey Mildmay, founded the Glyndebourne Festival in 1934. In 1968 the Glyndebourne Tour was established to bring opera to new audiences across the country and create opportunities for talented young singers.

Today Glyndebourne is a 12-month operation. The Festival runs from May to August with a programme of six operas in a 1,200-seat opera house.  The annual Tour takes place from October to December. The second Glyndebourne Opera Cup singing competition took place in March 2020. A widely respected education programme is active year-round staging new work and delivering projects to enhance the understanding and enjoyment of opera.

Together the Festival and Tour present 120 performances annually to an audience of 150,000 with many more people experiencing Glyndebourne’s work through its yearly programme of cinema screenings and free online streamings. Glyndebourne has pioneered specialist recordings to share its work with a global audience through these channels and as part of this mission to reach new audiences, also offers reduced-price tickets to under-30s.

Since its founding, Glyndebourne has remained financially independent and, whilst receiving valued Arts Council support for the Tour and education work, the Festival receives no public subsidy. As a registered charity, our work is funded by Box Office income, our Members and supporters.