Strolling into the Silk Mill Studios, Frome, I felt like I was entering a derelict site – with the charmingly antiquated exterior of the building, and the dusty path leading to the entrance – but one that inspires a longing to explore.
After turning the corner, I spotted the way in and entered the vast, blindingly white and airy gallery – an antithesis to the periphery. It’s like walking into the centre of a light box. But not a clinically white gallery space – a delightful white-brick-walled gallery space, with rustic concrete floor, wooden beams and skylights that let the sunshine flood through the room.
The current exhibition – the work of painter Hassel Smith – is perfect in the space. The large, colourful canvases are striking against the pristine white of the walls and the combination of mostly abstract paintings with one nude, and one part-landscape/ part-portrait (see image right) creates variety.
Rather than attempting to portray in words what Hassel Smith does so much better in painting – I’d recommend a visit to this exhibition. As much for the paintings as for the wonderful building in which they are exhibited.
The Silk Mill Studios are at Merchants Barton, Saxonvale, BA11 1PT
And they’re quite the hidden treasure – so pop the postcode into google maps if you’re not au fait with Frome’s back streets…