Johnny Messum of Cork Street art dealership Messum’s Fine Art made a bold move to the English countryside 18 months ago. Restoring a magnificent 13th-century tithe barn at Tisbury, Wiltshire, midway between Hauser & Wirth’s country empire in Bruton and Madeleine Bessborough’s New Art Centre at Roche Court, near Salisbury, he established Messums Wiltshire, a pioneering multipurpose gallery and arts centre offering collectors and artists a unique environment – a rural “temple to the handmade”.
From February 10 to April 2, Messums Wiltshire will host its second exhibition focusing on the earth. Called Material Earth: Myth, Material & Metamorphosis, it features works by collectable artists that have been inspired by mythology and stories of metamorphoses from northern Europe.
Danish artist Malene Hartmann Rasmussen – a finalist in last year’s British Ceramics Biennial Award for her vividly coloured, cute yet spooky ceramic My Inner Beasts – will show her latest creatures (from £1,850), alongside Barnaby Barford’s lifelike polar bear (£78,000). Poetic figurative clay sculptures (from £2,500) by Christie Brown and Claire Curneen will be displayed alongside Katie Spragg’s delicate porcelain installations (from £4,800) inspired by weeds and grains, and Kate Malone’s bold, baroque ceramic vessels (from £4,000). Grayson Perry’s early works (£24,000-£110,000) will also be available.
In its new Long Gallery, one of the most collectable artists of her generation, taxidermist Polly Morgan, will show her macabre, beautiful sculptures (from £4,800) with stuffed reptiles, birds and mammals. These will be complemented by an extraordinary Alastair Mackie sculpture (£16,800) made of mouse skulls, and two of Bouke de Vries’ surreal winged bird cages (from £4,200). All will coalesce to address the dark and mysterious in nature and human behaviour.