2001 was another good—and busy!—year for us. We started with Keep Moving, Robert Race's enjoyable automata, followed in June by Allan Bennett's outdoor show of zany sculpture, Second Vision. Previously unshown and familiar work marked Eric Meadus' 70th anniversary, his early experimental paintings exciting much interest. The Xmas Show was our most successful for ages we welcomed many new faces—always a good sign!
Away from home, Strands, a retrospective of my own paintings (and my first major show for a totally new "audience") was held at Ramsgate Library Gallery in August and went down very well. During Jeff Soan's show (16-23 March 2002) a selection from Strands will be on the walls here, which, due to printing deadlines, has otherwise gone unpublicised.
On the strength of Second Vision, Allan Bennett was offered a one-man at Ramsgate this coming September. It's a dynamic place, a few hours from Hampshire (but worth the journey!): in fact, the whole East Kent coast is a revelation to me, with its Victorian seaside towns and white cliffs, more beautiful than Dover. The extraordinary light is so luminous it was J. M. W. Turner's favourite in Britain. Allan's exhibition should be an added bonus.
Despite the retrospective nature of part of the 2001 programme, this newsletter is altogether forward looking. (In any case, most of you know the history of The First Gallery, from its small beginnings in 1968 to our present nationally known status. Over those 34 years we have lost two "king pins": Eric Meadus in 1970 and, more recently, my husband, Geoff. The latter loss, not surprisingly, put us into some disorder, from which we are only now beginning to emerge). This year will be a watershed.
Briefly, I needed a rest, so I had decided that after Jeff Soan's show I would take a long sabbatical right away from it all. Though the main shows for 2003 were already planned, it would still have meant closing the Gallery for quite a period. I reckoned without my younger son, Paul (who will tell you more in a future bulletin, including about the 2003 programme).
As for me, I send my glad thanks for your loyal support, from some of you over very many years. We could not have achieved anything without you. But be warned: I SHALL BE BACK to check you've not been flagging while I've been away!!!