The Brighton Art Show focuses on the brilliant talent of outsider artist Alan

Alan Payler photo by Heather Hill

Under a Blue Sky runs from April 1st to 24th, Wednesday to Sunday, at the Phoenix Art Space, Brighton, and features the work of Alan Payler, after he won first prize at the Outside In National Exhibition in 2019, along with others Artists also participating Community arts project in Darlington.

Alan Payler’s work The Garden was selected from 90 works on display by a panel of judges including Grayson Perry and Cathie Pilkington.

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Outside In’s national exhibition Environments 2019 attracted more than 900 submissions from around the world.

Grayson Perry described The Garden as “the work of art that most closely resembles something I would like to make myself and that brings me joy. Plus it was like something I had never seen before.”

This exhibition takes its name from another of Alan’s works, Blue Sky.

Outside In director and founder Marc Steene said, “Alan Payler is a remarkable artist whose work deserves serious scrutiny.

“The shimmering fields of color he creates with a felt-tip pen, the humblest of means, reveal a true creative intelligence.

“He is an artist of rare value whose work is uplifting to all those lucky enough to experience it and a much-needed pick-me-up during the challenging times we are all living through.”

Laurence Ward, leader of the Darlington community arts project, said the success meant the year ended “on a really high note” – but then came the pandemic.

“We had to close in March 2020 and were only able to reopen in November, albeit with only half our normal number. With so much uncertainty surrounding future plans and possibilities, it was tremendously encouraging for us to hear that Alan Payler’s Under a Blue Sky exhibition would be rescheduled,” he explains.

The exhibition is supported by an engagement program aimed at bringing together artists and audiences from the south to the north of England. This will also see the charity exploring new avenues, both digital and print, to expand its reach and break down visitor barriers to artistic engagement.

Outside In Exhibitions Director Charlotte Hanlon said: “Creating a strong connection between the Brighton show and the Darlington studio is a key element of this exhibition.

“We plan to use technology to unite different people in different places so we can share space and come together. This includes creating a virtual replica of the physical exhibition and hosting hybrid events that take place simultaneously online and offline. It’s really exciting and we’re so excited to share the work of this incredible studio.”

Marc added: “Outside In is a catalyst for change. The charity provides platforms for artists who face significant barriers to the art world due to health, disability, social circumstances or isolation.

“Through artist development, exhibitions and professional training, it works to create a more equitable art world by supporting artists, creating opportunities and influencing organizations.

“Established at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester in 2006, it has grown into an independent charity, having achieved National Portfolio Organization status with the Arts Council England.”

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