Updated: May 21
Volatile is the word that springs to mind when trying to characterise global or regional fine art markets in the last few years.
During the pandemic, darkened galleries, auction sale rooms and art fairs forced much of the market online. And yet, after suffering its worst recession in more than a decade in 2020, the art market has rallied, achieving a level even higher than 2019. At the end of 2022 there was a reported high, with record-breaking New York auctions in November totalling $3.2 billion.
So much for the world stage: where does that leave us small, independent contemporary art supporters, curators and gallery owners in 2023? Can our model withstand predictions by the Institute of International Finance (IIF) that 2023 will be as weak as 2009, if Ukraine turns into an “eternal war”? Recession and stagnation are themes that we hear all too often.
Well, encouragingly, as vaccines and other public health measures have got societies back on their feet, digital art sales continue to grow. Meanwhile, we're firm believers in there being no substitute for seeing art, standing up close and letting it speak to you and affect your senses.
So, the answer is, at Spencer House Gallery, we're carrying on as usual. Thanks to hard work and great support from art lovers and enthusiasts, our opening nine months have been positive and rewarding in so many ways, commercially and socially. Thank you all.
We firmly hope and believe that great contemporary art, fairly priced, will always find a market and we're committed to showcasing some of the best established and most promising new talent in our region and from further afield. The gallery has proudly welcomed up-and-coming artists: sometimes, effectively, we become the agent for this fresh crop of talent, occasionally helping with framing and often making creative suggestions.
This year, we've scheduled group shows and a special summer event that focuses on three-dimensional art, including ceramics and textiles. There's a summer landscape show, highlighting varied media and new ideas, and there'll be the usual bookend exhibitions, in the spring and before Christmas, offering an eclectic mix of styles and techniques: https://www.spencerhousegallery.co.uk/events-exhibitions
Meanwhile, in this post-pandemic period, many artists have refreshed their priorities in terms of topic: appreciation of the local natural world, love of light and colour, experimenting with texture and form and ethical issues abound in the work we're seeing.
So, if you've visited us already, please stay on board. If you're interested in what we do and keen to find out more, do come and say 'hello' and take in an event or show.
Art remains an antidote to life – and it's right on your doorstep.