New Gallery Opening: Bo Lee and Workman

By Sandra Cleland

1 year ago

Here's everything you need to know

Sandra Cleland pays a visit to the newly opened Bo Lee and Workman gallery in Somerset, which is currently showing its inaugural exhibition The Voice in the Shadow.

New Gallery Opening: Bo Lee and Workman, Bruton

The announcement of a new gallery in the contemporary art colony of Bruton, Somerset, brings the words ‘coals’ and Newcastle’ to mind. But Bo Lee and Workman is special. A Victorian Methodist Chapel has been sensitively converted to create a beautiful airy space and the owners’ art world credentials are impeccable bringing, collectively, over 30 years of experience to the new project.


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Jemma Hickman launched bo.lee gallery in Bath in 2009, which quickly became known for an interesting programme of gallery and offsite exhibitions in non-traditional settings such as churches and historic buildings. Since then, she has opened a gallery space in South London and has participated in international art fairs in Hong Kong, New York, Miami and London.

Alice Workman has been closely involved with Hauser and Wirth since 2011, when she joined the company to develop the Somerset gallery that opened in Bruton in 2014, later overseeing their Menorca gallery development and Chillida Leku (the museum dedicated to Eduardo Chillida near San Sebastian). Previously, she led the exhibitions programme at Southampton City Art Gallery and has worked with numerous artists and artist estates, including Phyllida Barlow, Richard Long, Edmund de Waal, Jenny Holzer, the Estate of Barbara Hepworth, Alexander Calder Foundation and The Henry Moore Foundation, among many others.

So, these two know what they are doing and have lined up an intriguing programme of emerging and established artists over the next six months, among them Kim Booker, Amy Stephens and Lindsey Bull.


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The inaugural exhibition (19 May to 24 June 2023) is dedicated to Cornwall-based artist Jonathan Michael Ray. Entitled The Voice in the Shadow, it takes its inspiration from a variety of sources – ancient alphabets, archaeological collections and sacred sites and explores the multi-layered histories, fictions and beliefs we assign to artefacts through craftsmanship and the markings of time. Several particularly poignant pieces are constructed from fragments of ecclesiastical stained glass sourced here in the UK and in Europe, reassembled randomly and re-leaded. They carry with them the memory of the original windows and their destruction.

With such a promising start, Bo Lee and Workman will be one to watch.


Open Wednesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm | | [email protected]

Featured image: Jonathan Michael Ray, Crux (cropped)