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24th Oct, 2021

Gallery finally welcomes Rugby Open winner's exhibition

TWICE postponed due to the pandemic, an exhibition by the 2019 Rugby Open winner Leavon Bowman opens at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum this weekend.

Infinity opens at the venue’s Floor One Gallery on Saturday (September 4), showcasing Bowman’s vivid and vibrant paintings of the natural world.

With a particular passion for the sea, Bowman’s works evoke the emotions we experience when faced with the endless seascape.

Speaking about his work, Bowman said his fascination with the sea was founded during childhood, growing up in Jamaica.

“The seascapes are endless, stretching far beyond the canvas and into the distance,” he said. “The limitlessness evokes a spiritual experience of awe and fear found only in nature when one is faced with their own mortal limitations.

“My aim and goal in creating is to capture the subject in its raw, natural state, allowing the viewer to find their relationship with the emotions it creates.”

Bowman’s painting, Ocean Rhythm, won the 2019 Rugby Open – and an exhibition of his work at the Floor One Gallery formed part of his prize.

But after the pandemic forced the postponement of the exhibition in December 2020 and May 2021, the Northamptonshire-based artist has faced an unexpected wait to present the pieces in Infinity.

Sarah Holdaway, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum’s senior visual arts officer, said: “The effects of the pandemic still reverberate through our exhibition programme, but we’re delighted to finally host Leavon Bowman’s Infinity after being forced to twice postpone the exhibition due to Covid restrictions.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have adapted and innovated to carry on delivering key activities, with the 2020 Rugby Open taking place entirely online, from submissions to judging and voting for the People’s Choice Award.

“With the easing of restrictions and our gradual return to normality, we can now look forward to a busy programme of events and exhibitions for the rest of this year, and the return of the Rugby Open in 2022.”

The Rugby Open and Rugby Youth Open give established and aspiring artists the opportunity to showcase works in a professional gallery setting, with the overall winner receiving £1,000 and the chance to host an exhibition at the Floor One Gallery.

Rugby Borough Council’s leisure and wellbeing spokesman Coun Howard Roberts said: “Rugby Art Gallery and Museum has a great track record of nurturing and developing artistic talent, and the Rugby Open has provided a springboard for many artists from the borough and beyond.

“Leavon’s oil paintings have a photo-realistic quality which needs to be viewed at close quarters to fully appreciate, so we’re delighted to finally be in a position to open an exhibition of his work.”

Leavon Bowman’s Infinity runs at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum until Thursday September 16.

Visit www.ragm.co.uk for more information about events and exhibitions at the gallery.

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