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Artists to launch debut exhibition in former Stroud eatery

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Sacred Thing, the roving gallery that works with the most exciting  emerging artists to produce exhibitions and affordable limited edition artworks, is  thrilled to announce its latest collaboration, an exhibition by artist collective Tump  which will open in Stroud on April 25th.  

Tump, a newly-formed collective of artists based in Stroud, will hold  their debut exhibition in a former restaurant in London Road.

The three artists, Alex Merry, Flora Wallace and Milligan Beaumont, who are all established creatives in their own right, have come together as Tump for this exhibition  because of their shared interest in the spiritual experience of the local landscape and its  ancient history.  

The exhibition, entitled Bat, Moon, Womb, takes as its starting point Hetty Pegler’s Tump,  a well-preserved example of a Neolithic chambered burial mound in Uley, near Stroud. The  artists have spent time inside the long barrow, creating automatic drawings and writings (a technique developed by the Surrealists in the 1920s as a way of tapping into the artists’  repressed psyche), assimilating its internal environment and carrying out a sensory  archaeology through a combination of intuition, soil samples and field recordings. It is  accepted that the tump was used as a place for burial, but we will never know the full extent of its significance. It is this place of unknowing that Tump have found to be fertile  with inspiration, imagining histories and reconsidering their own connections to life, death  and the land.  

Over yonder  

Over mound and moon  

Lead me to death 

Where I am born  

 – Automatic writing by Milligan Beaumont  

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The outcome is an expansive multi-media exhibition that probes and reimagines how the  tump may have been used, not only by those who constructed it more than 5,000 years  ago but also by other human and non-human beings in the many succeeding years.

The  exhibition will transform the former restaurant into a womb-like chamber which will house  artworks made inside the tump, along with relics, grave goods, artefacts, sculptures,  paintings, textiles, audio pieces, video and ceremonial performances that have been made  in response to the artists’ experience and understanding of Hetty Pegler’s Tump. There will  be two evening performances which will include a live performance by musician Cosmo  Sheldrake among other collaborators.  

The title of the exhibition is taken from an observation made during the artists’ first visit to  the tump that felt significant as a triad of interconnected symbols, the bat, the moon and  the womb. Upon entering the tump, the artists were met with a sleeping bat, a creature  that in many cultures is seen as a messenger from the spirit world for its ability to sense  what it can’t see.

In shamanism it is symbolic of death and life, endings and beginnings.  The moon is widely recognised as a symbol of femininity and the embodiment of life  cycles. It is intrinsically and mysteriously connected to the female reproductive system and  there is even evidence to suggest that the number of births occurring during a full moon is  greater than other phases of the lunar cycle. In mythological lore, long barrows hold a  special significance as gateways to the domain of the goddess, their entrances are  interpreted as symbolic representations of the goddess’s vagina, with the interior likened to  her womb.  

INFORMATION  

25th – 28th April 2024  

Performances on Thursday 25th and Sunday 28th at 6.30pm  

Private view on Thursday 25th April 7 – 9pm  

The Old Music Centre  

49 London Road  

Stroud, GL5 2AD 

Refreshments generously provided by Deya Brewing Company and Living Things.  

Tump (formed in 2024) is an ongoing collaboration between artists Alex Merry, Flora  Wallace and Milligan Beaumont, as a means of connection with the local landscape and of  playful inquiry into the ancient and enigmatic megaliths of Gloucestershire and the South  West. Bat, Moon, Womb is the first in a series of exhibitions and happenings to be  organised by the group.  

Alex Merry is an illustrator, portrait painter & folk artist based in Stroud, Gloucestershire.  Her work ranges from intricately painted pet portraits to large scale folk creatures & masks.  As a founding member of Boss Morris, she breathes new life into ancient customs,  reinvents rituals and has carved a unique niche for herself in the world of morris dancing.  Her art conjures dream-like worlds of fantasy and magic, drawing from her deep  connection to folk traditions & family creativity. Alex has worked for clients including Gucci,  Shirley Collins, Bridget Christie, Sam Lee and with Boss Morris she has performed at the  Royal Albert Hall, Glastonbury Festival and the Brit Awards.  

Flora Wallace is a ceramic artist, ink maker and illustrator based in Stroud. Much of her  work is inspired by observing natural forms and the behaviour of plants, animals and fungi.  She creates a variety of ceramics using porcelain, Raku and clays that she has gathered  from the regions around her home in Gloucestershire. She experiments with the  materialities of places through her work by transforming seasons and moments in time into  inks, pigments and glazes. She also uses automatic drawing, writing and dream analysis  to explore the relationship between the subconscious and creativity. Flora regularly  collaborates with musician Cosmo Sheldrake and together they make music as Don’t.  

Milligan Beaumont is a multidisciplinary artist, designer and stylist. Having studied  fashion at Central Saint Martins she is now based in Stroud. Her work is inspired by  ancient cultures, historical periods and a love of tiny creatures. Working across a broad  variety of mediums, from hand embroidery to sculpture, she tells stories of imagined  characters and personal experience. Milligan has become known for her maximalist and  highly embellished style that permeates each medium she turns her hand to. Milligan’s  work has been worn by the likes of Grayson Perry, Helena Bonham Carter and Lulu  Guinness. Her entire graduate exhibition was acquired by Christina Aguilera and worn  throughout her 2019 stadium tour. Milligan’s work is exhibited in Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk,  the blockbuster touring exhibition that launched in 2020 at London’s V&A Museum and  continues to tour to museums around the world.  

Sacred Thing is an art gallery and publisher of affordable limited edition sculptures,  founded in 2019 by curators Barnie Page and Holly Featherstone. Sacred Thing came  about from a mutual love of mantelpieces and sentimentality for the objects we choose to  place on them. We work closely with artists to facilitate the production of exciting artworks and to create an in-road for art lovers to collect domestic scale sculptures by world-class  artists.  

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