Festival Unveils Visual Arts Showcase for 2024

Henley Festival has announced this year’s stunning line-up of art which will include Britain’s best-selling figurative painters Mark Demsteader, the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and Archibald People’s Choice Award-winning artist Esther Erlich, and sculptor Holly Bendall, who creates striking bronzes including a Greenpeace-supported permanent public installation that can be experienced in Porthleven.

The Festival from 10-14 July will display works by some of the UK’s most celebrated artists, as well as the next generation of talent participating in the Festival’s charitable initiative RISE.

The Ruby Gallery is set to host a remarkable exhibition of world-class art, including pieces from Haut de Gamme, an international platform for the original artwork, prints, and installations by Alexander Hall – who aged just 22 was commissioned by Peter Jones CBE to create all of the artwork for his international offices and has since gone on to become one of the world’s most recognised multimedia artists – and the visionary polymath, Tayo Irvine Hendrix, who seamlessly blends fine art, music and spirituality to create multi-faceted works of spiritual exploration.

The Ruby Gallery will also feature curated collections from: The Barker Gallery, an esteemed hub for contemporary art founded by Jon Barker; I Spy Contemporary, founded by Festival favourite Tommy Gurr, who will be showcasing works from their roster of urban and contemporary street artist; West End gallery Panter & Hall is back to the riverside to exhibit a selection of their leading contemporary artists including Mark Demsteader, Simon Laurie, Esther Erlich and Edward Seago; Amber Galleries will be adding Henley to their beautifully crafted gallery destinations; and the independent and artist-led gallery, Punchbowl Gallery, will be exhibiting their contemporary paintings, prints and sculptures.

Meanwhile, The Festival Gallery will feature artist, surfer and traveller Nina Brooke, who will be bringing her jewel-like paintings that capture unique aerial perspectives of the world’s most picturesque seas, beaches and shorelines, and The Drang Gallery will delight festivalgoers with their range of modern masters and new emerging talent.

In the Audi High RISE Gallery, Audi are championing emerging artistic talent through their continued support of the Festival’s charitable initiative RISE. Three visual artists – Cheltenham-based Jackson’s Emerging Artist Award winner and landscape painter Conrad P Clarke, winner of the 2019 Phyllis Roberts Prize and 2022 Young Artist Award Robert Ware, and Amie Elizabeth Wolo, who won the 2023 Woman in Art Prize’s Susan Angoy Award – will be exhibiting, each representing a spectrum of creative inspiration, artistic approaches, backgrounds, ages and abilities. They will also come together to collectively design a car wrap that will feature on Audi’s latest fully electric SUV, the Audi Q8 e-tron – a major installation in the Audi High RISE Gallery & Sculpture Garden space. Additionally, Audi is inviting each artist to create a unique piece for a silent auction where the artists will retain 100% of the proceeds raised. In the run up to the festival, the auction artworks will be showcased at the renowned men’s outfitters, Richard James, on London’s Savile Row.

Audi’s support of new talent also extends to the Festival’s remarkable riverside Sculpture Garden, where RISE sculptor Beatrice Galletley – an award-winning, London-based ceramic artist inspired by the juxtaposition of geometric and organic forms – will have her astonishing pieces on display. Festival goers will be able to enjoy further work from leading sculptors including Marlow’s Fi Hunter and her larger-than-life sculpted heads that explore the fragility and strength of the human condition. RIBA registered architect Mike Clancy brings his figurative, abstract and conceptual artworks that bridge the gap between art and architecture, citing influences such as Picasso and Richard Serra.

If that’s not enough, there are further installations on display courtesy of sculptor Christopher Townsend, who is inspired by the agricultural environment of his Oxfordshire studio; Simon Probyn who creates bespoke industrial sculpture for the landscape; Cornwall artist Holly Bendall whose passion for public art can be seen in her bronze masterpiece Waiting for Fish, which was supported by Greenpeace and unveiled by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in Porthleven; Fred Gordon’s award-winning bronzes created with the historical lost wax method; elegant yet playful figurative human and animal sculptures by Helen Gordon; contemporary fine art gallery Hanoi Art House will be showcasing the life-sized creations of Len Gifford; Australian-born, Henley-based sculptor Beth Rusby presents her clever and witty sculptures created out of cardboard and paper; Clare Bigger captures the spontaneity and fluidity of movement in her stainless steel-forms; and whether abstracted or realistic, Nicola Godden’s sculptures take inspiration from the beauty of human figure.

Alongside the Ruby Gallery, Audi High RISE Gallery, The Festival Gallery and Sculpture Garden, the green banks of the Thames will be glowing and humming with an all-immersive installation. On the Riverside Lawn, Atelier Sisu will be displaying their magnificent, larger-than-life bubble artwork Evanescent, iridescent in daylight and illuminated in night time accompanied by an ethereal soundscape.

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