The online gallery, NoonPowell has brought art back into the homes and hearts of private collectors with their first exhibit in the space of a West-London home last month.
Away from empty white walls, and sky-high ceilings of traditional galleries, NoonPowell’s first showcase set up shop in the unassumingly wallpapered and decorated spaces of a house. With select pieces of art from six of the artists represented by NoonPowell, the exhibit invited visitors into its temporary home to mingle with the artists themselves, observe the art in situ and absorb the atmosphere of truly being at home with the paintings surrounding them. The space itself and the conceptualisation of the 3-day pop-up exhibition was a matter of chance, happened upon through the lucky coincidence of the house in question being vacant and open for experimentation and repurposing before its owners (friends-of-friends of NoonPowell) reclaimed it for redecoration.
The word of the evening was intimacy. Rather than the individual, isolated, and oftentimes, an intimidating experience of wandering through a gallery alone, I was instead greeted by warm welcomes and the animated chatter of other guests. Chatting with the artists about their work, catching up with the curators, the gathering — a microcosmic representation of the art world itself — was a tight-knit community coming together to celebrate their own. Intimidating at first? Absolutely. But stepping out of my own head momentarily, the space itself and the unassuming way the art featured offered itself up for viewing, not forcing itself on me, but also not fading into the background allowed me to truly appreciate the way in which they stood out. I took time to notice them, not because I was obliged to, but because there was something extremely original and comfortable about having the freedom to connect with each painting in an honest, unpretentious way.
As Rachael Noon-Powell, one of the exhibit’s curators and Director of NoonPowell Fine Art explained, the opportunity that using the house as exhibition space presented for NoonPowell was a way of exhibiting to buyers on a more personal level, by showing them, quite candidly, what these pieces of fine art can look like on the walls of a home — urging buyers to start thinking about what these pieces of fine art could look like on the walls of their homes. The idea of it being such a brief exhibition, spanning three days in its entirety, lent a sense of transience and energy to the exhibition. The opening night was filled with a captive and engaged audience who was pushed to take the opportunity to see the exhibition. What is more motivating than a time-limit on something and the fearful prospect of a missed opportunity? The fleeting nature of NoonPowell’s first showcase, coupled with its unorthodox exhibition methods seems to be reinventing traditional ideas of fine art galleries as institutions. As an online gallery, they exist everywhere and nowhere all at once, and it seems quite poetic that every so often they surface and gain tangible form to engage with the public.
Speaking to the artists themselves, it became increasingly clear that the world of career art is just as transient and just as unpredictable in terms of opportunity as the exhibition. There is by no means a clear-cut path to be followed to graduate through its ranks. Perhaps that’s the reason such tight-knit communities grow — a general understanding that a lot of the time it’s luck of the draw and the seizing of opportunities to network and expose your work whenever they arise. Sometimes it is about who you know. A fact that in no way detracts from the effort and ability that it takes to produce art that is capable of engaging the interest of its audience and expressing more than just an aesthetic. Artists Dr. Suzi Morris and Pandora Mond, both represented by NoonPowell, have taken inspiration in their latest series from the world of science. Morris looking microscopically into the human body and representing through interruptive paint streaks on more ephemeral and organic backgrounds, the way genetic markers light up in molecular biology; and Mond zooming out to look at worlds beyond our own, taking a residency at Exeter University to research with astrophysicists on extra-solar planets.
In my brief window of opportunity to peek into the intimate world of art, I was swept away by its romance, and struck by its vivacity. Despite this only being the first foray into the public eye for NoonPowell, it seems to be striking a course that is both inventive and original in its line of business.