Salisbury is a city full of creativity, imagination and entrepreneurship. We are blessed to have a community of independent businesses that are quirky, unique and push boundaries.
Even through a global pandemic business owners have chosen our Traditional Original city as their base, with many new names appearing on our streets.
The Vanner Gallery is one of those new enterprises that aims to bring originality and culture to our city.
On 17th September, after an 11-week refit, the gallery opened, launching its first exhibition CONNECT: people, art and place. The show focuses on the idea of connection as the world restarts after the Covid pandemic, and people emerge from living constrained and separate lives.
David Christie is the man behind Vanner Gallery, an art lover who was looking for a more fulfilling career. Experience Salisbury meet him to ask 5 questions:
David Christie outside The Vanner Gallery, High Street, Salisbury
Salisbury has just been named the UK's art capital when it comes to the amount of art bought per person - where you surprised?
“I’m a little surprised but I wouldn’t go as far to say I was shocked. One of the whole reasons for the gallery being here is I think there is an engaged audience here and I think there are people who visit the region to see art. They visit places like Roche Court which isn’t far away, they go to Hauser & Wirth and Messums and so on. So, I think locals who go there, or people who come to the area, have been dealing with, let’s call it a void in Salisbury where they couldn't come to a contemporary gallery and that was the gap I saw and that’s the gap I’m hoping to fill.”
It feels like Salisbury has a real creative buzz about it, would you agree?
“Definitely it does, not just in the arts but there’s a good live music scene and the poetika group was in Queen Elizabeth Gardens the other day. There is a great theatre scene through Wiltshire Creative and they do good visual arts and I hope to play my part in that. Right now, we are just starting out but I’d like the place to become a hub for art.”
The CONNECT exhibition is running until Christmas Eve, which is your favourite piece, and why?
“My favourite is the Eleanor Bartlett piece, which is a large abstract piece in metal paint and tar. I just love the uncompromising power of it. We went to Eleanor’s studio to select work for this exhibition and it’s chockablock with amazing work but that one just sang to me. I just love it.”
David's favourite piece by Eleanor Bartlett can be seen here hanging on the left back wall
To you, what makes great art?
"I like the immediacy of it. Eleanor and I were discussing process and art, that quite often an artist will work to a very closely detailed process and you have, to some extent, engage with that process and understand how long it took and how detailed it is to like it. That’s fine and I admire that but I much more prefer the immediacy where I’m less interested in the process and much more interested in the effect. The quicker I feel that effect, the more powerfully I feel it and the more I respond to it.”
What is the best thing about Salisbury?
“It’s beautiful. It’s just beautiful. We are right now standing a few yards from the Cathedral Close which I think is the most beautiful square mile in England. So, it starts off being beautiful but it’s friendly, it’s on a lovely scale and it’s a great place to bring up a family. It’s so well placed in the country for the coast, the New Forest, the town. It’s an absolutely jewel.”
More from the CONNECT exhibition at The Vanner Gallery
You can see the CONNECT exhibition at The Vanner Gallery until 24th December 2021, or, for a full list of exhibitions and shows in Salisbury, head to the Experience Salisbury What’s On page. Be inspired.