Freudian Sheep will continue despite gallery closure say founders

Co-owners and curators of The Freudian Sheep, Ian Moss and Eleanor May. Photo: Lucy Taylor

Co-owners and curators of The Freudian Sheep, Ian Moss and Eleanor May. Photo: Lucy Taylor - Credit: Archant

Ipswich contemporary art gallery The Freudian Sheep may be closing its doors, but it will live on; just in different clothing say co-owners Ian Moss and Eleanor May.

Maria Papadatou artwork, on show at Ipswich's Freudian Sheep gallery

Maria Papadatou artwork, on show at Ipswich's Freudian Sheep gallery - Credit: Archant

The couple founded the St Helen’s Street venue in 2013.

“It’s been a journey... We’d have stuck at it here for certain if we’d have sold art, unfortunately we’re just covering costs... If we had somebody who came along and offered us the ability to carry on doing this but for mutual benefit it would be something we’d jump at,” says Ian.

They say the decision was inevitable given their overheads.

“We’ve been looking for an alternative venue to base ourselves via a reciprocal arrangement - we display art that encourages visitors for the host premises. Sadly, although we had one-or-two ‘nearly did it’ moments we’re left without a home. It’s not all bad though, we’ve retained our deal with Kerseys Solicitors in Ipswich to display art in their offices for six months from December.”

Sculptures by Peter Chapman, on show at Ipswich's Freudian Sheep gallery

Sculptures by Peter Chapman, on show at Ipswich's Freudian Sheep gallery - Credit: Archant

The gallery has enjoyed a long association with the firm, resulting in previous exhibitions in its public areas. Ten artists have produced work on the theme of “Ipswich Interpretations”.

Back at the Freudian Sheep, its Greatest Hits exhibition is under way and continues to August 26. Ian and Eleanor have picked their favourite pieces from three years and 33 exhibitions. Hosting 150 artists and nearly 2,000 original artworks, they had the hard task of choosing just 100 of the best.

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“It’s a really lovely exhibition. The interesting thing is, I had to write to each of these artists to ask if they still had the two pieces of work we’d chosen,” says Ian. “Ninety per cent of the time they had, that tells you - and these are good pieces of art - that even wherever they’re exhibiting they’re not selling.”

The gallery’s last hurrah will see Eleanor and Ian showcase their work. Running from September 3-17, it’s a chance for supporters to buy much of their art for reduced prices as a parting gift. The couple are also accepting bids on the fixtures and fittings - from Persian carpets and the chaise longue to sofas, MOD crates, shop till and hot drinks machine.

Artwork by Pavel Kricka, on show at Ipswich's Freudian Sheep gallery

Artwork by Pavel Kricka, on show at Ipswich's Freudian Sheep gallery - Credit: Archant

“We looked into the idea of running our business as a mental health charity and all that entails. There’s plenty of support from other mental health services out there but the project seemed like a massive mountain to climb. We’d looked at Stowmarket rail station as a possible base, but have now stepped back from that.

“We’re keeping on our group of artists formed as The Freudian Sheep Artists and will be looking to take the art to where the people are every so often,” adds Ian.

They’re now working on ways to do that, seeking a variety of venues throughout Suffolk for short-term art exhibitions/events. They’d be delighted to hear from anyone with a barn, hall or space of any kind as well as events and sponsors to help them continue to show professional art from established and emerging artists from throughout the Anglia region.

Eleanor is also still teaching crochet, with classes starting again in September.

“Meantime, Eleanor and I will be working on moving our own art fame - or infamy - up a peg or two by having exhibitions here-and-there including one at The Maeldune Centre in Maldon, Essex; I’m scaring the locals there with my art and Eleanor’s making up for that by her more ‘user friendly’ approach,” said Ian.

For opening times and more info about the gallery, visit www.freudiansheep.co.uk

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