Towner Art Gallery

Towner Art Gallery external view
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Towner is the award-winning contemporary art museum for South
East England.

We present major exhibitions of UK and international contemporary
art – and as a museum, we also have a nationally significant collection of art
from across the ages. The Towner Collection is best known for its modern British art, in particular the work of Eric Ravilious.

We put you - the visitor - at the heart of what we do. Our staff are always happy to stop and talk with you!

We are recognised for our award winning development and activity programmes, including a variety of events for all ages (many of which are free - including our family drop-in sessions at weekends and school holidays) and have been shortlisted for the Family Friendly Museums Award 2016.

Venue Type:

Gallery, Museum

Opening hours

Tue-Sun 10.00-19.00
Bank Holiday Mondays 10.00-19.00

Admission charges

Free entry to gallery and most exhibitions.
Many events are free - please see event details for information.

Getting there

There are excellent public transport links to Towner, including direct rail links from London, Brighton and the rest of the South East.

Towner is a 10 minute walk (or 5 minute taxi ride) from the station. Follow Gildredge Road to the end, then cross over South Street and Furness Road to College Road. Towner is situated at the end of the road on the left, at the junction between College and Carlisle Roads.

Driving from London, take the A23 from London, A27 to Eastbourne and then A2270 towards the town centre & seafront. At the roundabout on Upperton Road (which the A2270 turns into), take the second exit on to Grove Road. At the end of Grove Road take a left down South Street; turn right and immediately left on to College Road. Towner is at the end of College Road.

See our website for rail and bus links.

Additional info

Towner has a gift shop and is home to Urban Ground @ Towner, a cafe bar with balcony and stunning views over the South Downs.

Towner is accessible to all - please visit our website to see how we can help meet your access requirements.

Towner houses an internationally renowned Collection of around 4,500 works. The Towner Collection is best known for its modern British art – including the broadest and most significant body of work by Eric Ravilious (1903-1942).

We are also known for our emerging collection of international contemporary art , which grew from 2007-2012 thanks to Art Fund International and Contemporary Art Society.

Rotating displays from the Collection are on show in our dedicated first floor Gallery.

The Collection now features a cross-section of important 20th century British artists including: Christopher Wood, Edward Bawden, Henry Moore, Paul Nash, Victor Pasmore, Alfred Wallis and Duncan Grant. It also boasts a major body of work by Eric Ravilious.

Contemporary artists represented in the Towner Collection include: Olafur Eliasson, Wolfgang Tillmans, Anya Gallaccio, Julian Opie, Tacita Dean and Grayson Perry.

We are working on getting the entire Towner Collection online so that it can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, even if you can’t make it to the gallery. We do our best to ensure our Collection is, as Alderman Towner envisioned, a public resource for all.

Collection details

Archives, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Film and Media, Design

Key artists and exhibits

  • Eric Ravilious - extensive holdings - watercolours (including Cuckmere Haven, Downs in Winter), woodcuts & ceramics
  • Duncan Grant - Berwick Church designs
  • Vanessa Bell - Berwick Church designs
  • 20th century British artists including Christopher Wood; Edward Bawden; Henry Moore; Paul Nash; Victor Pasmore; Alfred Wallis; David Bomberg
  • William Nicholson - Judd's Farm
  • William Gear - various holdings
  • Picasso etchings
  • International contemporary artists including Julian Opie; Olafur Eliasson; Tacita Dean; Anya Gallaccio; Wolfgang Tillmans; Grayson Perry
  • Olafur Eliassion - The Forked Forest Path
  • Tacita Dean - The Green Ray
  • Wolfgang Tillmans - End of Land I
  • Grayson Perry - Map of Nowhere
  • Anya Gallaccio - Preserve
  • Historic artists - Albrecht Durer; Joseph Wright of Derby; Thomas Sydney Cooper; Joseph van Aken; Thomas Jones
  • Isaac Julien - Ten Thousand Waves
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Lothar Götz, Dance Diagonal, Brewers Towner Commission. Towner Eastbourne, 2019. Photo by Eva Eastman

Brewers Towner Commission: Dance Diagonal

  • 15 June 2019 — 31 May 2020 *on now

Götz, who is based in the U.K., was chosen from 60 artists and designers in an open call for the Brewers Towner Commission to create an artwork to mark the tenth anniversary of the gallery’s move from its original home in Eastbourne’s Old Town.

The Brewers Towner Commission is part of a year-long programme celebrating ten years in the Towner building, which opened in 2009 after the gallery moved from its original home in Eastbourne’s Old Town.

The Brewers Towner Commission is a painted commission that encompasses all rendered facades of the award-winning building, which was designed by Rick Mather Architects. This exciting public artwork has been made possible with the support of Brewers Decorator Centres, with the company aiming to spark conversation and support artistic practice in Eastbourne, where the company is based, and beyond.

Drawing on its unique architecture, angles and exterior recesses and alcoves, Götz’s mural – his largest to date – envelops the length and width of three sides of the award-winning building.

Götz’s work – typically large-scale paintings, drawings and installations that respond to existing architectural structures – has included commissions for South Bank Centre, London (2014) and Leeds Art Gallery (2017). Dance Diagonal is his first major commission on the south coast and the first time an artist has been commissioned to create an artwork for Towner’s exterior.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://www.townereastbourne.org.uk/exhibition/brewers-towner-commission

Installation view of the TEN exhibition at Towner Art Gallery

TEN: Towner curates the collection

  • 18 May — 10 November 2019 *on now

Shown in Gallery 1, the original ‘Collection Gallery’, TEN will feature an exciting range of painting, print and sculpture, and will reveal new Collection works alongside some well-loved favourites. Together, this selection of works demonstrates the breadth of the collection, which comes to the gallery through purchases, gifts and on loan over the past decade. Exhibition highlights include works by Grayson Perry, Tom Hammick, Simon Ling, Iván Navarro, John Piper, Keith Vaughan and Kathleen Walne.

Sara Cooper, Towner’s Head of Collections, who has also been with the gallery for ten years and has led this project, said, “It’s with immense pride that we are able to announce TEN. Working with our team in this way has been an enjoyable and engaging learning process for us all. Many of us have worked as a team for a long time and it has been refreshing to all step out of our day to day roles and to look at the Collection, discuss the artworks and plan the hang together.”

Michele Monteith, who has worked at Towner since the building opened in 2009 and is one of the curators of TEN, said, “It’s been a real adventure to take part in curating TEN. Some of the works we have chosen include Amsterdam by Robert E Wells. I just loved it as soon as it came into the Collection in 2016, you feel like you are really standing outside the house in anticipation, imagining what it’s like inside, waiting to be invited in. It’s been fascinating to look at the Collection from the perspective of a TEN curator and to work with colleagues on a joint project to celebrate our tenth anniversary in this building.”

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://www.townereastbourne.org.uk/exhibition/ten

David Nash charring small sculpture. Photo © Jonty Wilde courtesy David Nash

David Nash: 200 Seasons

  • 28 September 2019 — 2 February 2020 *on now

200 Seasons also marks one of the major moments in Towner’s programme of events and exhibitions celebrating 10 years in the gallery’s current building. The exhibition includes new work and reflects the artist’s long relationship with Wales and East Sussex, in particular Capel Rhiw, Blaenau Ffestiniog, his home and studio for over half a century.

200 Seasons, which will be installed across Towner’s four major gallery spaces, will feature key sculptures, films and drawings from the late 1960s to the present day. The exhibited sculptures explore the different ways the artist has cut, carved and manipulated wood to produce work that crosses abstraction and figuration, always retaining his trademark reference to the forms of the original tree and the unique qualities of the chosen material.

David Nash, who lives in Blaenau Ffestiniog and Lewes, has had many important solo exhibitions and international surveys of sculpture and his work is represented in major museum collections around the world. Recent major presentations at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2010–11) and Kew Gardens (2012) have underlined his international importance as a sculptor and land artist. Previous exhibitions have included the Serpentine Gallery (London) and the Museum of Metropolitan Art (New York). Eighteen Thousand Tides (1996), in Towner’s collection and commissioned by the gallery almost 20 years ago, is also on permanent public display in Manor Gardens, Eastbourne.

David Nash said, “I was born in the South East but have lived at Capel Rhiw, an old Methodist chapel in Blaenau Ffestiniog, since the 1960s. Many of my sculptures have been made in Sussex where much of the wood I use is sourced. I have watched Towner grow since the 1980s and it is a great pleasure to bring the Capel Rhiw Collection to this magnificent gallery.”

The exhibition has been developed in partnership with National Museum Cardiff and will be accompanied by a major publication David Nash: 200 Seasons with contributions from Dr James Fox, Dr Jo Melvin and National Museum of Wales exhibition curator Nicholas Thornton. This publication will be available in Towner’s shop.

The exhibition has been developed in partnership with National Museum Cardiff, taking place there 3 May–1 September.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://www.townereastbourne.org.uk/exhibition/david-nash-200-seasons

Tirzah Garwood, Hornet with Wild Roses, 1950

BRINK: Caroline Lucas curates the Towner Collection

  • 23 November 2019 — 10 May 2020

Caroline Lucas is the Green Party’s first MP, representing Brighton Pavilion and has also served as an MEP and as Leader and Co-Leader of the Green Party. Caroline is an active campaigner on a range of issues and has consistently been voted the UK’s most ethical politician. A patron of various arts projects over the years, she currently supports Kollektiv Gallery, ONCA Gallery and Firecracker Theatre Company. This autumn, Caroline takes on a new role: curator of Towner’s latest Collection exhibition.

Selecting from the 5000 works in Towner’s permanent Collection, Caroline’s choices reflect and resonate with her passions and interests, from her environmental work, issues of climate change and effects on our landscape, to her love of living in Sussex.

Showing at the same time as David Nash’s 200 Seasons, the will be a dialogue for visitors between the two exhibitions via a shared environmental interest.

Suitable for

  • Any age
David Hockney, Arizona, 1964

Alan Davie and David Hockney: Early Works

  • 16 February — 31 May 2020

Towner are pleased to present a major exhibition Alan Davie (1920–2014) and David Hockney (b. 1937) that will explore the convergence between these two major figures of post-war British painting.

Organised by Hepworth Wakefield, Early Works will bring together around 45 paintings, collages and drawings by Davie and Hockney, spanning from 1948-1965. It will trace the parallel paths of these key figures of post-war British painting and reveal shared preoccupations with passion, love, sex and poetry as their work oscillated between figuration and abstraction. Early Works at Towner is the first major display of works by both artists on the South Coast.

Early Works includes figurative works made by both artists at the start of their careers, including self-portraits produced when Hockney and Davie were both 16 years old. Self-portraits and photographs throughout the exhibition will show the development of each artist’s public persona at a time when contemporary art was becoming a central part of popular culture – artists appeared in films, were interviewed on television and featured in the new colour Sunday supplements. Both artists cultivated distinctive looks, exploring differing but connected notions of masculinity and identity. Both shrugged off labels, Davie refusing to be dubbed an ‘Abstract Expressionist’, and Hockney similarly eschewing the term ‘Pop artist’.

Themes of poetry, love and eroticism explored by both artists will be examined through paintings including Hockney’s celebrated We Two Boys Together Clinging (1961) and Davie’s Glory (1957). The visitor will see how both artists pushed and tested the painted surface, often incorporating coded symbolic text and abstracted figures to create new visual languages and passionate painterly expressions. The exhibition will also explore work from the 1960s when both artists combined interests in non-western culture with contemporary influences including American abstract painting and advertising.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

FREE for Towner Members & Under 18s
Standard Ticket: £10

Standard Ticket + Gift Aid: £11

Concessionary Ticket: £9

Concessionary Ticket + Gift Aid: £10

Art Fund Member: £5

Art Fund Member + Gift Aid: £6

Booking Recommended

Website

https://www.townereastbourne.org.uk/exhibition/alan-davie-and-david-hockney-early-works/

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Brewers Towner Commission

First Thursdays

  • 7 November 2019 5-9pm
  • 5 December 2019 5-9pm
  • 2 January 2020 5-9pm

Join us on the first Thursday of every month as we throw open our doors for a free twilight gallery experience, alongside talks, live music, film and networking. Our café will be open and serving a delicious menu of drinks and light snacks too – why not make a night of it?

Suitable for

  • Any age
Film London Jarman Award 2019 shortlisted artists-Hetain Patel, Mikhail Karikis, Imran Perretta, Cécile B. Evans, Rehana Zaman, Beatrice Gibson

Film London Jarman Award

  • 23 — 24 November 2019 10am-3pm
  • 26 — 27 November 2019 10am-3pm

Discover works that explore new digital practices, experimental animation and fresh approaches to analogue filmmaking in this screening of cutting-edge artists’ films in the Towner Cinema. Shortlisted for this year’s Film London Jarman Award the six artists present innovative, imaginative and immersive works that each address important topics faced by contemporary society. Works by Cécile B Evans, Beatrice Gibson, Mikhail Karikis, Hetain Patel, Imran Perretta and Rehana Zaman will be screened daily.

The Film London Jarman Award recognises and supports artists working with moving image and celebrates the spirit of experimentation, imagination and innovation in the work of UK-based artist filmmakers. The Award is inspired by visionary filmmaker Derek Jarman (1942–1994).

Dates & Times:
Saturday 23rd November: 10am to 3pm
Sunday 24th November: 10am to 3pm
Monday 25th November: Closed to the public
Tuesday 26th November: 10am to 3pm
Wednesday 27th November: 10am to 3pm

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://www.townereastbourne.org.uk/exhibition/film-london-jarman-award-2019-shortlist/

Getting there

There are excellent public transport links to Towner, including direct rail links from London, Brighton and the rest of the South East.

Towner is a 10 minute walk (or 5 minute taxi ride) from the station. Follow Gildredge Road to the end, then cross over South Street and Furness Road to College Road. Towner is situated at the end of the road on the left, at the junction between College and Carlisle Roads.

Driving from London, take the A23 from London, A27 to Eastbourne and then A2270 towards the town centre & seafront. At the roundabout on Upperton Road (which the A2270 turns into), take the second exit on to Grove Road. At the end of Grove Road take a left down South Street; turn right and immediately left on to College Road. Towner is at the end of College Road.

See our website for rail and bus links.

Towner Art Gallery
Devonshire Park
College Road
Eastbourne
East Sussex
BN21 4JJ
England

Website

Towner Art Gallery website

http://www.townereastbourne.org.uk

E-mail

General Enquiries

towner@townereastbourne.org.uk

Telephone

Front Desk: General Enquiries & Event Bookings

01323 434670

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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