During the early 1980’s Brighton, then as now, was home to an astonishing community of visual artists. Some of these artists had opened their studios to the public as part of the 70’s Open Studios movement, but none had previously opened their homes. It was a rebellious and democratic move. Not all artists had studios, but all had a home. For artists, it was taking control of their own curation, selling their own work and provided the ability to exhibit work in a town with few such opportunities. It was a reaction against the perception of ‘high culture’ parachuted in to the town, oblivious to the quieter, maybe more personal and just as interesting work that was happening within the town.
In 1982 Ned Hoskins opened his house for the first time; he was joined by two or three other artists, living in nearby houses, the following year. Soon the Fiveways Group had formed.
This exhibition shows the work of some of those early pioneers of Open Houses who all lived in the Fiveways area of Brighton; an area quite different then from now. The accompanying oral history film hears from these artists about their reasons for inviting the public into their homes, what they learned and experienced; how their practices as artists changed as a result of a more direct dialogue with their audiences. How important a place Artists Open Houses has played in their lives.
The concept of Artists Open Houses has been described as a gallery without walls. These artists tell us what it was like in the early days, living behind those open front doors.
Exhibiting artists: Annelies Clarke, Harvey Daniels, Rosalie Dodds, Ned Hoskins, Rex Matthews, Colin Ruffell, Fran Slade, Judy Stapleton
Exhibition curated by: Claire Wearn Independent Creative Producer & Curator
Oral-History project artist participants:
Ned Hoskins, Annelies Clarke, Rex Matthews, Judy Stapleton, Adrian Turner, Viv and Paul Martin, Shyama Ruffell, Colin Ruffell and Fran Slade
Oral History film produced by: Idil Bozkurt
See more about Ned Hoskins
‘As a teenager, I would help Ned set up the show over the Easter holidays, painting plinths, avoiding being brained by plinths dropping out of the loft, carrying a sculpture of a camel across Brighton station for a Guardian photographer and earning extra money. I always loved the legendary private views Ned would throw, full of all these interesting artists and people, many I’d known since I was little.’
Cass Hoskins, Ned Hoskins’ daughter
‘Ned loved welcoming people into his work and into his art. He was always there to greet his visitors and talk to people about his work. Some people found his abstract work quite challenging but he would always take the time to explain his ideas behind his paintings. It was part of his reason for starting Open Houses to make art open to everyone, and he took away the barriers that kept some people away from art galleries. He liked to say “Home is where the art is” and he believed that putting art in a domestic setting not only made it accessible but made it more sellable.’
Jess Holloway Dyker, Ned’s stepdaughter and occasional sales assistant.