Don't Rubbish my Art

Artist Michael Chappell is set to ruffle a few feathers with a new exhibition featuring a dead seabird and rubbish.

Mr Chappell, of Bridport, cam under fire last year when his sculpture of a dead bird in a cage won best in its class at the Bridport Open Arts competition.

And his new solo exhibition at the art centre is also set to spark a wave of controversy with remains of a dead seabird in one of his pieces called "From the Cradle to the Grave".

The show also exhibits hanging collections of rubbish found on local beaches including old shoes, tyres, cigarette lighters, pieces of wood and metal as well as seascape paintings.

Mr Chappell said: "i don't set out to cause controversy but a number of people did take offence at my work.

"Everything I use in my art is found on the beach and that includes the dead seabirds. The beach is like my own art store.

"Most of my work surrounds the sea and it's also about life, death, pain and a lot of other things.

"Art is not just pretty pictures hanging on a wall.

"It should ask questions, raise issues and make people angry and read different things into it.

"I hope this exhibition will be successful and that people will come along and make up their own minds about my work"

Mr Chappell's competition entry of a dead bird in a cage sculpture, simply called Bird, was criticised last year by local sculptor and retired art teacher, Len Wilshaw.

He compared the sculpture with controversial artist Damien Hirst's dead cow exhibit which won the Turner Prize.

But Mr Chappell said: "Getting criticism is better than getting no reaction at all and there are a lot of people who like what I do.

"Being compared to Damien Hirst is very flattering and I thank Len for making his comments because it means hundreds of people come to look at art who have probably never done that before."

Mr Wilshaw said: "As far as I am concerned sculpture is something that is made and not picked up off the beach like a dead bird."

A preview of the exhibition is taking place on Saturday between 6.30pmand 8.30pm and director of the art centre, Chris Huxley, said: "It's great to have Michael back with a solo show.

"His work is intriguing, thought-provoking and provocative and I'm sure our visitors will get a lot from the show."

The show will run on Tuesdays to Saturdays starting on Tuesday April 23rd until May 18, from 10am to 4pm in the foyer and café galleries at the Bridport Art Centre in South Street, admission is free.

Dorset Echo: 19th Apr 2002 13:37:00


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