Poole welcomes new art exhibition inspired by objects found in museums across the region

Posted on Tuesday 21 January 2020

On 1 February 2020, a unique exhibition opens at Poole Museum featuring an array of artworks inspired by fascinating objects found in museums across Dorset and Wiltshire.

Alchemy is the work of contemporary artist, Ann-Marie James. She was invited to delve into the collections of four museums in Wessex and choose an object from each that would inspire a collection of gold and white artworks to be displayed at each of the museums alongside the objects that inspired them. Her techniques included painting, gilding, printmaking, using rubber stamps and even shaving designs into a rug.

From Poole Museum, Ann-Marie selected a Roman glass head, a tiny carved piece which is believed to have originally hung from a wine glass. The glass head is thought to depict Silenus, a companion of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine.

Councillor Mark Howell, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Culture, said: “It is fascinating to see how Ann-Marie has looked at the museum objects from a different perspective and created modern works inspired by the incredible craftsmanship of our ancestors. We are delighted to be hosting this exhibition in Poole and hope it will encourage people to look at objects differently and find their own inspiration.”

Ann-Marie James added: “I’ve long been fascinated by the epic poem ‘Metamorphoses’ by the Roman poet Ovid. So, I was very excited to find an artefact in Poole Museum that relates to it. To create the artworks, I enlarged text from the tale of Silenus, Bacchus and Midas, produced silkscreens and then used these to build dense compositions on paper. Each layer of text was then gilded with imitation gold leaf. The result was the Midas range of artworks.”

Alchemy, comprising over 20 artworks, is on display at Poole Museum from 1 February to 19 April 2020. Admission is free. The other museums involved in the project are Wiltshire Museum, the Salisbury Museum and Dorset County Museum. Further details are available at www.poolemuseum.org.uk.

This project was generously supported by Ridinghouse/Karsten Schubert.