Tom Guilmard Review

The District

Well that was everything we hoped for and more. We welcomed Tom into our Frontroom, and his work didn’t disappoint. Large scale, beautifully hung work popped with colour and intrigue, along with drawings and doodles joined by eleventh hour vinyl dotted around where Tom asked himself about his sexuality, and asserted David Beckham is an alien – who am I to discredit this assertion? The exhibition felt like a stream of consciousness or a scan of Tom’s brain and the whole thing held together wonderfully. Perhaps Tom’s brain does? A rare thing indeed.

There were the inevitable last minute/second hangings, which support my brain/head metaphor thing. Every artist whose work we have shown does the same and frankly I would be worried about an artist who finishes the set up with hours to spare – kind of feels like the person who immediately unpacks their suitcase on returning from a holiday. The world needs these people but not in art. They can attend to hedge funds (whatever they are?).

For me Tom’s work is something one loves (or perhaps hates) and yes some of his wit is immediately apparent, but for other pieces you need to work harder, and some you will just never understand, unless you are Tom. In fact maybe he doesn’t understand it all. It is delivered with a brutal simplicity that by its very nature is effortless. The result is raw and beautiful. Oh and colourful. And energetic. And unexpected. And challenging. And yeah unique even. The last of these characteristics is becoming rarer and rarer. Good luck to ChatGPT (other brands are available) getting into Tom’s mind.

Onto the event itself, this energy and colour was mirrored. As ever a great and diverse group of people got together, chatted, drunk beer and drunk in Tom’s work. local business owners, artists, students, even lawyers, IT directors, dogs of various breeds and a boat yard owner came along and chewed the fat, and chewed the pizza. Putting on these shows is hard work – for the artist I mean – so it is great to look around our humble studio and see people interacting, discussing and laughing. It is even more great (greater) to see work being sold. Like Jim Butler’s last year, we had a meet the artist day on the Saturday in parallel with the Mill Road Winter Fair which was well attended by academics and acupuncturists. Oh and dogs. Lots of dogs. See you next time on Friday March 8th 5-8pm for Will Hill, ‘The Dichromate Series and Other Recent Work’.