1992 – TEMS or the Battle of Bampton

tems4When things start going wrong the results can be hilarious. This exhibition started off as a well-meaning attempt to show six artists from Didcot in the Old Town Hall in the centre of the picturesque West Oxfordshire town of Bampton (famous for its folk festival and morris dancing) in August 1992. It came through my involvement and voluntary support of the Didcot Arts Festival. The press release below shows I already planning the F.O.E. show. I was doing my best to keep going post-Rocket….but deep down I knew I flogging a dead horse….it couldn’t get worse..then it did 🙂


Bampton Town Hall the show was in the room above.

Everything was fine until the day of the hang. Ken had done some nice graphics for PV Card and poster etc. Nothing could go wrong…..until I arrived to find that every space had been used and one female artist in particular stated that my problem was I was late and she had hung her work now and wasn’t moving it …..cheers..thank you so much.

I hasten to add I didn’t know this woman that well. Bernadette and Ullis I knew well and liked them and their work.  I only had enough space for two of the figures in landscape I had been working on and I was well pissed off. In fact I exploded at the lovely man who helped organise it and the Didcot Arts Festival called John Hedge and regret that to this day.

I went home and my dad said sod them and suggested we retaliate…so he and I loaded my biggest canvas (still on its stretcher) an 8′ x 5′ canvas of a head (see below) on to the back of his truck and we installed it at the last minute at the far end of the show across the large windows in photo above…it blocked out the light.


It was worth it to see people’s faces when show private view started…..the woman who annoyed me never spoke to me again and said I trying to ‘over-shadow’ them..hilarious.

I love my dad having the sense of humour to support me and do that. After all I was broke, living at home and hardly helping much but that one action kept me going:-) He never complained and laughed the whole way home….

Things got better when a local art reviewer reviewed the show for the Oxford Mail……I cannot remember the exact quote but it along the lines of ..Mr Belcher seems a little expressionist in his handling of paint…..I got a mention when Mrs Muck didn’t 🙂 Touche turtle.

p.s. I named the show ‘Tems’ is a earlier form of the word Thames or Thamesis..and the graphic reflected the shape of the river..so now you know;-)

Below the press release materials.

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