Art lovers don their bizarre best for gallery opening

There were some surreal scenes and strangely dressed characters at a new Horsham art gallery on Saturday (February 1).

Thursday, 6th February 2014, 5:24 pm
Kerry Swift (second from left) with some colourful characters at North Chapel Gallery
Kerry Swift (second from left) with some colourful characters at North Chapel Gallery

Local artist Kerry Swift invited some creative comrades to the grand opening of the North Chapel Gallery, North Street, and encouraged visitors to dress in an “outrageous, avant-garde” fashion.

The event stared at 2pm with Horsham-based ‘folksy blues’ band Cotton Candy Rebellion playing live in the front garden.

Kerry, who has been described as a ‘dark surrealist’, opened her independent gallery to provide alternative artists with a place to display their work in the town.

She said: “There’s really nowhere for artists who aren’t necessarily water-colourists to exhibit their work in Horsham.

“I had an exhibition at the museum and I thought ‘well, there must be more than just me who don’t find their place in the established Horsham art scene’. The basic philosophy around the gallery is to give the younger, more adventurous artists in town a place that they can call their own.”

The gallery is filled with eye-popping artwork.

Artists exhibiting pieces at the gallery include: Angela Brittain, Sue Collins, Claire Fellows, Irma Westerdijk and Les White.

Kerry’s work, which she describes as autobiographical, is also on show at the gallery.

Her favourite artists include Salvador Dali, Balthus, Max Ernst and Caravaggio. She also cites Frida Khalo as a big influence because of her autobiographical approach to painting.

When asked about the ideas behind her work, Kerry said: “It’s very much driven by how life’s going at the minute.

“I don’t generally do pretty landscapes and things. I hope to put more of a message in my work than simply ‘nice things on walls.’”

Opening hours are 10am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday. Evening openings by invitation are arranged by Kerry Swift.

Call 01403 240377, email [email protected] or visit

Story and picture by Lawrence Smith